The Propaganda is the Point
In three decades in the news business, most of them spent covering government and politics, I’ve been to more than my share of press conferences.
They’re part of the gig when you’re a reporter. And you just kind of learn to make your peace with them. Some of them are informative. Most are self-serving and explicitly partisan. Some are mercifully short. And some of them, to borrow from Dave Berry, may still be going on to this very day.
But in terms of pure cynicism and rank partisanship, you’d be hard pressed to equal the propaganda event that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis orchestrated with his willing collaborators on “Fox & Friends” last week.
With a perfect set-up from host Brian Kilmeade, who waxed rhapsodic about the brilliance of DeSantis and his fellow Republicans in managing the 2020 election and the need to return to normal, the Florida governor signed into law some of the most restrictive voting “reform” measures in the country.
The bill, among other things, limits the use of mail-in voting and drop boxes, which, you guessed it, were favored by Democrats and Black voters last November, helping to put President Joe Biden into the White House.
The bill already faces legal challenges, according to the Florida Phoenix, a publication that covers Florida politics.
“Me signing this bill says: Florida, your vote counts, your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency and this is a great place for democracy,” DeSantis said.
Which is pure nonsense, given the circumstances under which DeSantis signed the bill: Local journalists were shut out of the event, which, in turn, meant the vast majority of Floridians who will be impacted by the legislation were similarly denied the chance to see their government in action.
So much for transparency and democracy.
Even with the laughably thin denial that there was nothing secret about the event, DeSantis’ meticulously stage-managed news conference reached its intended audience: A grumpy, reality-averse former president ensconced in his own personal Xanadu just a short hop away from the Airport Hilton in West Palm Beach.