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Analysis: Why Do They Hate Ron DeSantis So Much?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been attacked more dishonestly, more often than any current Republican officeholder in the country over the last year, and it's not particularly close.  We spend an inordinate amount of time and energy correcting and combating the ferocious parade of false claims against DeSantis -- not because we carry any special brief for him, but because the criticisms are simultaneously ubiquitous and almost universally weak, misleading, or outright false.  Misinformation demands a response.  On Fox News yesterday, I offered three compelling reasons why so many journalists -- wielding press credentials as public relations assault weapons against their fellow leftists' disfavored politicians and related targets -- have come so hard after Florida's governor.  It's a trifecta of bitterness and fear:


He wasn't supposed to win in 2018, but did anyway, denying journalists an emotionally satisfying storyline about Trumpism and race in a crucial battleground state.  Strike one.  Then he's proven them wrong, repeatedly, on COVID governance, which they are unable to process in a healthy or constructive way.  Strike two.  And perhaps most importantly, he's a growing threat against Democrats' hold on power in the future.  If he wins re-election in the Sunshine State, and Donald Trump decides against running again, he'll instantly vault into the upper echelon of 2024 contenders -- perhaps with an unique capacity to unite disparate elements of the center-right coalition.  He's also demonstrated the ability to build broad appeal, including among independents and Democrats.  Strike three, take him out.  Hence the avalanche of lies.  It's impossible to know what the political landscape will look like this coming fall, let along a few years down the road.  Perhaps the DeSantis boomlet with fizzle organically, or he'll flame out in spectacular fashion.  Or perhaps he'll only gain momentum, fueled by specious and agenda-driven media attacks, leading to effective counter-attacks, like this blistering performance on Tucker Carlson's show last night:


Swing and a drive...  Some news outlets seem annoyed that he's taking full advantage of the jaw-dropping malpractice of 60 Minutes, whose journalists have been caught red-handed in an intentional hit piece.  Speaking of malpractice, it would be just that if DeSantis didn't exploit this moment for everything it's worth -- to build trust amongst conservatives who instinctively rally to the side of GOP politicians under siege by the media, to tell the truth about his record while passionately noting the successes of his policies, and to punish 60 Minutes for their disgraceful and embarrassing hatchet work.  It's a win/win/win for DeSantis, and as a competent political actor, he's leaning into it.  As well he should.  On the subject of the absolute mess 60 Minutes has made for itself, I partially flagged this point in my piece yesterday, but consider how actively misleading and sloppy this one seemingly-minor example is:


She "refuted" DeSantis' (heavily edited) explanation by quoting a woman DeSantis never claimed to have met with, while actively ignoring two Democratic officials who are vouching for DeSantis' story -- including one who's been debunking the premise of the entire 60 Minutes segment for more than a month, and another who says he was explicitly rebuffed by CBS when he offered to provide firsthand knowledge about the subject of the report.  60 Minutes rejected his information in their "intentionally false" package, the Democratic Palm Beach Mayor wrote, because the truth would 'kneecap their narrative.'  Think of it: There are actual partisan Democrats in Florida who have more fealty to accuracy and fairness on this issue than a whole team of journalists at America's most prestigious weekly news program.  Might the network be backing off the disastrously-flawed story?  This is interesting:

CBS appears to be distancing itself from a "60 Minutes" report that has been widely criticized as a "hit piece" against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, by members of both parties. The report, which aired Sunday, outlined an alleged "pay-for-play" scheme involving DeSantis accepting a $100,000 donation his campaign from the grocery store chain Publix in exchange for the right to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the state's rollout. Critics blasted the report for deceptive editing that omitted DeSantis' explanation for the vaccine strategy, the omission of Publix's donations to Democrats, and broadcasting misinformation that is even being called out by Florida liberals.  The next day, however, there was no mention of the "60 Minutes" report on "CBS This Morning" or the "CBS Evening News," according to Grabien transcripts.


Wishing it away isn't good enough. CBS News owes its viewers a retraction and an apology for the lies they spread, knowingly, according to the Palm Beach Mayor.  I'll leave you with this: Nearly eight in ten Florida seniors have received at least one COVID vaccine shot, and almost six in ten are fully vaccinated. Both of these statistics in Florida are better than the national average. What a monster.  Up next, 60 Minutes investigates how DeSantis could allow this to happen:

UPDATE - 60 Minutes is shamelessly tripling down. My detailed response to their awful, misleading statement:

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