Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - In the News: Washington Examiner's Salena Zito: Don't Believe the Left's anti-DeSantis Narratives

June 05, 2023

The Washington Examiner's Salena Zito penned a column over the weekend exposing the corporate media's ridiculous smear campaign against Governor DeSantis and how little they understand the Republican Primary electorate.

Don't believe the Left's anti-DeSantis narratives
Salena Zito
Washington Examiner

Initially, much of the national press coverage of Gov. Ron DeSantis's (R-FL) presidential primary campaign rollout this week began with a fixation on proving whether or not he was likable to Republican primary voters.

The reason for that fixation is likely because many of them had spent the past six months writing stories about how the former Navy officer and congressman did not possess that attribute.

When that was disproved after several planned and unplanned retail stops, the fixation turned to his disdain for the press by not taking questions from them. Even after doing over a dozen interviews with local press and taking questions during a press conference, the narrative became: He doesn't take questions from voters.

In fact, the narrative hit a fever pitch on Thursday when a reporter from the Associated Press asked DeSantis, "How come you're not taking questions from voters," at the very moment he was standing in a sea of voters who were clearly asking him questions and talking to him.

It was clear DeSantis was dumbfounded by the question, answering, "People are coming up to me, talking to me. What are you talking about?"

DeSantis looked around at all the people he was just talking to and asked the reporter, "Are you blind? OK, so people are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about."

Then things got silly real fast, at least on social media, as fellow New York- and Washington, D.C.-based reporters swooped in to comment on Twitter about how DeSantis "snapped" and "lashed out" at the reporter. Within hours stories were written in the legacy press detailing the "confrontation."

The moment made clear, once again, that the legacy media's approach to campaign coverage suits the people who they socialize and interact with on social media and is woefully disconnected from the people who actually vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Trust me, ask any voter who is standing in a sea of people talking to them why they aren't interacting with people, and most of them would ask you if you were blind. And they would never think that answer would mean they were snapping at you.

In short, when legacy media reports that DeSantis, or any other Republican candidate, isn't engaging or taking questions from voters when he is clearly standing in a field of voters and taking questions from them, people are not going to trust that you are getting the story right. Or worse, they are going to assume you are trying to create a storyline rather than follow a story.

There is a reason that the most recent Gallup polling shows a meager 34% of Americans trust the media to report the news "fully, accurately and fairly."

This year's Gallup survey marked the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount of trust combined.

It is safe to assume that the narrative coming from the Washington, D.C., and New York reporters following the DeSantis kickoff will be: "He doesn't talk to voters, he doesn't do town halls, he's angry and he hates the press." It is a narrative that lacks perspective and patience.

DeSantis will do town halls, and Republican voters are simply not going to care about this "confrontation" with a reporter.

The perspective that is missing is that most of the reporters covering DeSantis in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are not from Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. And even if they originally hailed from those states, they've long shed that cultural connection and are now more socially and culturally connected to New York and Washington, D.C.

That does not make them bad people, but when your personal and professional life is spent in the counties that surround those two cities, counties that are the center of both wealth and power, your perspective and pace reflect those places and not the people in the place you are covering.

As for patience, well, sadly the current model for reporting is first, fast, scoopy, and clickable, none of the qualities that encourage patience in a reporter. That means we've got 522 more days of the gap between the press and readers outside of DC and New York only widening.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - In the News: Washington Examiner's Salena Zito: Don't Believe the Left's anti-DeSantis Narratives Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364222

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