Much like they did to former President Donald Trump during his presidency, Democrat propagandists posing as journalists have run some of the most disgraceful and dishonest hit pieces on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the past couple of years only to see their slanderous reporting completely blow up in their faces.
Yet, not surprisingly, even after every word of their wild conspiracies have been disproven, virtually no retractions, apologies, firings, or suspensions of journalists have been made by our media overlords. Instead, they’ve just simply produced the next shoddy piece of journalism to try to club DeSantis with.
For well over a year, Rebekah Jones, a serial liar and disgraced former dashboard manager at the Florida Department of Health, successfully convinced several fake news outlets and the consumers of those outlets that DeSantis’s health department had willfully instructed her to cook the state’s COVID-19 data in order to make the numbers appear better than they were. She then preposterously claimed that she was a martyr, and a Good Samaritan at that, who was promptly fired for refusing to do so. There was only one problem: not a single word of it was true.
On the face of it, Jones’s allegations were not even remotely credible. As Charles Cooke detailed in a lengthy article in the New York Post, “In her role as the manager of the dashboard, Jones did not have the ability to edit the raw data.” Cooke also noted that Jones was not a data scientist, a data manager, nor was she an epidemiologist, or a doctor. And she didn’t “build” the “data system,” which she falsely claimed she did.
Essentially, her only job was to input complete datasets that she was provided, and it would have been fairly obvious to anyone with eyes if there were vast discrepancies between the data Jones was given and the data that she uploaded to the dashboard.
Yet none of that information stopped NPR from publishing this headline in May 2020, “Florida Governor Defends Firing Of Top Data Scientist,” nor did it stop the New York Times from writing this headline in December 2020: “A State Scientist Questioned Florida’s Virus Data. Now Her Home’s Been Raided.” Never mind that the search warrant had nothing to do with DeSantis and was executed by the police only after a data breach occurred at the Florida Department of Health, which included the stolen personal information of 19,000 employees and was traced to the unique IP address at Jones’ house.
Jones is currently awaiting trial for committing a felony, where she presumably will still claim that she was fired because she refused to take part in a massive COVID cover-up. To this day, the legacy media has never apologized to DeSantis for peddling her ridiculous narrative.
But that might not even be the worst DeSantis hit piece.
In April, a “60 Minutes” story was promulgated by a so-called journalist named Sharyn Alfonsi who pushed not one but two wild-eyed conspiracies against DeSantis. First, Alfonsi claimed without any evidence that DeSantis was only prioritizing vaccinations for older wealthy white adults because they were more likely to vote for him in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The mere fact that most Floridian seniors happen to be white and that the senior population happens to be at the greatest risk from COVID was apparently an afterthought to Alfonsi.
But that wasn’t all. Alfonsi then went on to claim, again without any evidence, that DeSantis was somehow involved in a “pay for play” scheme in which the supermarket Publix was rewarded with vaccine distribution rights after contributing $100,000 to his campaign.
Not only was that claim completely unfounded, but “60 Minutes” intentionally chose to omit almost the entirety of DeSantis’s response, in which he carefully and methodically explained that Publix was not awarded the distribution rights because of a donation but rather because it was ready to begin administering vaccines immediately while CVS and Walgreens were still in the process of fulfilling their obligations to long-term care facilities.
This point was also confirmed by Jared Moskowitz, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, who happens to be a Democrat who once campaigned for both Al Gore and Barack Obama. But CBS stood by its stellar reporting anyway. Apparently, they did not have another Dan Rather to fire.
The hit pieces did not stop there either.
In mid-April, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who is best known for getting paid to express her outrage at white people, laughably suggested that DeSantis was somehow involved in a sex-trafficking investigation with Rep. Matt Gaetz. What evidence did she have to suggest such nonsense? In 2018, Gaetz went on a trip to the Bahamas with a guy who raised money for DeSantis. Perhaps if Reid decides to go into acting, she could play Sherlock Holmes in an all-female reboot.
In June, after the tragic building collapse in Surfside, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Washington Post named Hannah Dreier falsely claimed on Twitter that “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn’t get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.” In reality, DeSantis was required by law to wait for an emergency declaration by the mayor of Surfside before he could deploy FEMA. DeSantis ultimately notified FEMA within an hour of Mayor Charles W. Burkett’s declaration, but Dreier, who did not issue a retraction, or an apology is still employed at the Post.
In August, Charles Blow, who could probably land a job writing for the Onion, penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Ron DeSantis, How Many Covid Deaths Are Enough?” Blow went on to write that DeSantis was trying to improve his presidential ambitions by letting the residents of Florida “choose death so that he can have a greater political life.” Sadly for Blow, who once called Trump “a white supremacist or … a fan and defender of white supremacists,” that may not even be the dumbest thing he’s ever written.
As it stands right now, despite having the second oldest population in the country, Florida is currently 18th in COVID deaths per capita, behind Democrat-run New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Florida’s unemployment rate sits at 4.4 percent, vaccine passports are not required to eat at a restaurant or other establishments, and much to the delight of parents and children, its schools are open without unscientific mask mandates. In New York, on the other hand, it’s a different story entirely. The unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, children are masked in school all day, and the unvaccinated are essentially “othered” and denied service at restaurants, museums, movie theaters, sporting events, and virtually all forms of public life.
In short, Florida is one of the best places to live or visit right now during this bizarre period we’re living in, and DeSantis is a large reason why. But of course, no one is allowed to say that, which may be why Biden’s FDA shamefully and cruelly chose to revoke access to the effective monoclonal antibody treatment this week, leaving sick COVID patients in Florida scrambling to find an alternative.
The media despise DeSantis with almost as much passion and contempt as they have for Trump, not only because he has been a remarkably effective governor, but primarily because they see him as a political threat. They know that a potential Trump/DeSantis ticket in 2024 would be game over, which is why Maggie Haberman of the New York Times recently decided to concoct a fake feud between them in a ham-handed effort to divide the two most popular Republican candidates and their supporters. Fortunately, neither Trump nor DeSantis took the bait.
The corrupt Fourth Estate unsuccessfully has been trying to take DeSantis down for two years now, but the reality is the Yale- and Harvard-educated former naval officer is far too clever for them. They will undoubtedly keep trying, but their attempts will be futile. This is not a game they’re going to win.
David Keltz is the author of The Campaign of His Life and Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial. His writing has been published in The American Spectator, The Federalist, American Greatness, RealClearPolitics, the American Thinker, and the New York Daily News, among others. Follow him on Twitter @David_Keltz.