There’s a new variant of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) sweeping through the ranks of the Fourth Estate – and there is no known vaccination. The DeSantis Strain now appears in media accounts as responsible for all this country’s ills. Could its effect force the progressive left to resort to tactics previously reserved for the 45th president?
Ron DeSantis, a MAGA kind of politician, has made a few waves of late. The Florida governor dismissed the panic-driven COVID-19 passports. He signed into law and by executive order a mandate to keep local municipalities from demanding masks and vaccination records.
And then there came the poll. Earlier in June at the Western Conservative Summit, a straw poll yielded results shocking to some. As a potential presidential candidate, Trump came in with a strong 71% support – as expected. What wasn’t foreseen: Ron DeSantis carried a more prominent 74%.
As Tim Donner, senior political analyst of Liberty Nation, explained:
“Relatively few Republicans might fall on their sword for the sake of Trump, the man, but it is now obvious many would for the sake of his America First agenda. DeSantis has risen to the position of frontrunner (absent Trump) by exhibiting a Trumpian take-no-prisoners approach to leftist excesses, especially in the social and legacy media, and priorities almost indistinguishable from Donald Trump.”
And perhaps it is the media’s dog-eared and highlighted playbook – admittedly and unapologetically used against Trump – that will slay the newest emergent MAGA threat.
Never Waste a Timely Tragedy
The fresh assault on DeSantis popped up immediately after one self-proclaimed investigative journalist took to Twitter and juxtaposed a tweet the governor wrote in January 2019 celebrating an event to deregulate business with a recent headline from the fallout of the Surfside disaster. Yes, Ken Klippenstein, the journalist, really did do this. It was considered so egregious that even other journalists called him out, called him names, and trashed-talked him on his feed.
Klippenstein apparently does not understand the difference between deregulation of licenses for nail salons versus building inspection recertification matters, not as long as some disastrous message can be delivered and repeated.
Where have we seen this style of “journalism” directed before? Mostly MAGA candidates and officials.
And a few weeks earlier CBS was charging to the forefront of ramrodding doubt into the minds of its viewers. On the long-running show 60 Minutes, a pay-to-play scheme by DeSantis and the grocery chain Publix was the scandalous topic for a good bit of the allotted hour. The accusation: a $100,000 campaign donation allowed Publix stores to be first in delivering vaccinations. As it turned out, one had nothing to do with the other, and DeSantis clearly explained the situation. In a nutshell, the supermarket chain was the first retailer in Florida ready and able to begin the arduous task of vaccinating the public.
Even Florida state Democrats applauded the rollout effort and defended the governor. But not the drive-by media that used smoke and mirrors to edit the facts and tell their own version of the story.
It’s a Panic Already
There is a political lifetime until the next election – there could be pandemics, natural disasters, economic crashes, and international diplomatic upheavals. What is popular today may be gone tomorrow, depending on which way the fickle winds blow. And they will blow under the guise of news. Without Trump to blame for the nation’s ills, it seems DeSantis is the next best thing. The difference between the two men is not policy but diplomacy: DeSantis can tell folks to go to hell, and they are likely to smile and ask for the quickest route.
But he is no wimp and is not afraid of the press corps. And he has a spiffy new name for the Fourth Estate: “These are smear merchants. That’s why nobody trusts corporate media.”
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.