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The Mainstream Media Continues Its Obsession With Ron DeSantis

AP Photo/Ron Johnson

He hasn't even declared yet, and the mainstream media is already going nuts over Gov. Ron DeSantis's (R-FL) yet-to-be-announced presidential campaign supposedly being in trouble. DeSantis is expected to announce sometime after the state legislature ends in May, and the race is largely considered to be between him and former, and potentially future, President Donald Trump. While polling shows Trump running away with the nomination and earning an increasing amount of endorsements from members of Congress representing Florida, DeSantis has some too, and we're still months away. 

DeSantis is not only facing opposition from Trump, who has treated the governor as if he's already declared, which is to be expected in a primary, but he's also facing an increasingly obsessed and seemingly desperate mainstream media. 

Concerning the primary race angle, it's worth noting that the Trump campaign on Wednesday morning flagged an exclusive report from Rolling Stone, "Key DeSantis Donors Rip Him in Private Chats: ‘What the F-ck Is Wrong With RD?'"

This isn't a recent phenomenon. When it comes to initial reports about failing ticket sales at last week's Amos Tuck dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire, where DeSantis was the keynote speaker, those reports were not only "totally fake news," but reportedly came from "allies of the Trump campaign." The fundraiser ended up bringing in a "record" amount of money. 

And there's plenty more, especially from POLITICO, as Joe Cunningham highlighted at RedState, one of our sister sites. By Wednesday morning, when Cunningham published his piece, POLITICO had no less than three pieces up, including DeSantis being the focus of their Playbook morning edition. "How Trump ambushed DeSantis in D.C.," it read. There was also Tuesday night's "DeSantis gets warm words at GOP Hill event, but few endorsements," and early Wednesday morning's, "DeSantis is in a rut. His trek to D.C. didn’t help."

The New York Times also noted on Tuesday night how "DeSantis Meets With Republicans on Capitol Hill, to a Lukewarm Response."

The Nation published a particularly jumbled piece on Wednesday morning, "Ron DeSantis Might Have Already Blown His Shot at 2024," which referred to the governor as "Pudding fingers" in the subheadline. Clearly no agenda there!

Adding to the desperation, as our sister site Twitchy highlighted, is the Daily Beast's Matt Lewis' response claiming DeSantis doesn't look enough like a president.

These articles come after members of Congress endorsed Trump, including Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX), a move he said he made "after careful consideration and a positive meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis."

When it comes to these endorsements that Trump is earning, Cunningham emphasized a particularly important point, which is to remind everyone that DeSantis has not even declared yet:

A lot is being made of the fact that DeSantis didn’t score endorsements yesterday, so you’d be forgiven for thinking DeSantis was a declared candidate. In fact, he is not. That is probably the biggest reason most lawmakers aren’t making endorsements for DeSantis – there’s nothing to endorse yet.

But the Florida governor is clearly under attack from the Trump camp, which appears to have coordinated endorsements to coincide with DeSantis’ visit. But Trump is a former president and is still seen in some circles as the leader of the party. The fact that he doesn’t have more should be a bigger concern than picking up a couple of lawmakers in D.C.

Especially when lawmaker endorsements make very little difference in the long run.

We’re not even in 2024 yet. We aren’t close to a vital primary day. We don’t even have DeSantis as a declared candidate yet. The rush to declare DeSantis’ political career essentially over because he didn’t pick up a dozen lawmaker endorsements on Tuesday seems a bit absurd.

To say this all "seems a bit absurd" is to put it lightly. As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich mentioned on Sunday, Trump didn't even declare his 2016 run until June 2015. We're still in April. Gingrich also acknowledged that Trump is "clearly the front runner for the nomination," but that "you can't rule out DeSantis."

Also at play are reactions to DeSantis' proposal to build a prison close to Disney World and a legal battle regarding Disney's Reedy Creek agreement. 

Among those to publish articles on the subject was Axios with "DeSantis' war on Disney splinters GOP," and, you guessed it, POLITICO with yet another piece on Wednesday morning, "'So unnecessary’: Republicans pile on DeSantis over Disney." Those referenced in the articles include Trump and other potential primary opponents, such as former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who may actually be entertaining another race. 

Does DeSantis seemed deterred by negative coverage by the mainstream media, which has not only attacked him on his handling of Disney but also on cultural issues such as abortion, education, and the falsely framed issue of so-called "book bans"? Of course not. In fact, he seems to welcome it.

DeSantis spoke with Fox News' Laura Ingraham about mainstream media reactions to those who "step out of line" against their party.

"Here's the way it works in D.C.," he offered. "If you're a Democrat and you step out of line against the party, the media flays you, they smear you. If you're a Republican that steps out of line and attacks other Republicans, you are the best thing since sliced bread, you get a profile in The Washington Post, you get booked on CNN, that's just par for the course." 

The reminder he offered next is perhaps the most important point he could have made, though. "I would hope that most Republicans are smart enough to realize that if the media likes you, then you must not be doing a very good job, because if you're doing a good job for conservative voters, they are going to attack you."


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