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POLITICO Can't Quit Their Obsession With Ron DeSantis

AP Photo/John Bazemore

This obsession that POLITICO has with Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting to be embarrassing. Do they have nothing better to do than repeatedly cover someone who is expected to announce his candidacy for president but hasn't even formally declared yet? We've already covered how they went after him with several playbooks and news articles earlier in the week when it comes to endorsements that former and potentially future President Donald Trump has received from several members of Congress, including from Florida. That was evidently just the beginning, though.

Not only was Wednesday's morning POLITICO Playbook about how "How Trump ambushed DeSantis in D.C.," but Thursday morning's edition covered "As DeSantis falters, Christie sees an opening." That edition also linked to a piece from earlier on Thursday, "'Deeply frustrated': Florida legislators worn out by DeSantis." They weren't quite done, though. Friday's edition was "How to lose friends and alienate people, by Ron DeSantis."

Not to be outdone, the outlet also posted several news articles about the governor, including "‘I don’t think he cares about people’: DeSantis struggles with former Hill colleagues." Another article highlighted how "Ex-DeSantis donor cuts big check for Youngkin."

"Days after withholding his financial backing for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, billionaire GOP donor Thomas Peterffy is opening his wallet for Glenn Youngkin, the Virginia governor some in the party still hope will run for president," the article began. 

The New York Times published an article last week, "Youngkin Gives 2024 Presidential Run the Cold Shoulder," though the article is not mentioned in POLITICO's reporting, at least not by name.

There's also articles regarding DeSantis' policies as governor, including "DeSantis signs bill to end unanimous death sentence requirement," and to stir up controversy, such as how "Florida poised to make DeSantis’ travel records secret."

Granted, such articles about DeSantis for the past few days have been top trends for POLITICO, so they no doubt get the outlet clicks. It still screams of desperation, though. 

There's hardly any articles about how DeSantis' well-received keynote speech earlier on Friday for the Heritage Foundation's Leadership Summit for their 50th anniversary. What does appear on the POLITICO website, found through their search system, is an E&E News PM newsletter, covering a smaller moment of the speech, with the headline "DeSantis dismisses climate action during Heritage speech." There's also a login required.

A tweet video clip of the full speech is below. 

It's worth mentioning that The Hill has also picked up on trying to make former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) happen. They sent out a news alert for this Friday afternoon article, "Chris Christie seeks to topple DeSantis as chief Trump rival."

It's not just the mainstream media, though, but rather DeSantis' chief primary opponent--when he does declare--which would of course be Trump. 

On Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign sent out an in-depth email, with the subject line conveniently reading "The Real Ron DeSantis Playbook," which Julio covered earlier on Friday.  The email included a statement from spokesperson Steven Cheung. "The real DeSantis record is one of misery and despair. He has left a wake of destruction all across Florida and people are hurting because he has spent more time playing public relations games instead of actually doing the hard-work needed to improve the lives of the people he represents," he said.

Trump allies have reportedly fed unflattering information about DeSantis to the press. 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. 

It's also worth noting the mainstream media can't stand Trump either and what he stands for, though they do depend on him for clicks whether they want to acknowledge it or not. If it's not DeSantis who is the nominee and quite possibly the president come January 2025, it's almost certainly going to be Trump. President Joe Biden, Democrats, and their allies in the mainstream media want Trump because they think he's the easiest to beat, but as we covered last week, polls have shown Trump gaining an edge on Biden as well for a hypothetical 2024 matchup. 

Here's a deeper thread worth considering when it comes to Trump's "The Real Ron DeSantis Playbook."

Further, as was also mentioned in Wednesday's VIP coverage, the popular governor who was elected by a record nearly 20 points, doesn't seem to let the negative attention from the media bother him. In fact, he welcomes it. 

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

During Friday's speech, DeSantis also mentioned the media, in the context of being successful in Florida, which not only raised a very similar point, but expanded upon it.

"My view is, we gotta go on offensive, we need to be leaning into issues, we need to be raising issues when other people aren't willing to do it, and we are not going to worry about the Left and the media say about us. We're going to do what is right," he said, to applause. "I mean, in fact, if the media's not attacking me, then I wonder I must be doing something wrong, so it's actually good, positive feedback."


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