After Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest media bashing, we get close to telling him to go to hell
Photo via Colin Hackley

BUDGET062920CH19
We like coronavirus? No, Governor, we don't. And you should be ashamed.

In what may be one of the most disgraceful comments made by a Florida Governor in our collective decades of observing Florida politics, Gov. Ron DeSantis mused Thursday that the media likes the spiking coronavirus numbers.

His statement, clearly meant as political cover, ignored the humanity that exists in all jobs, especially in the media.

Think for a moment what those in the media do. Some cover gruesome, heartbreaking crime or accident scenes. Some flock to natural disasters to ensure the public is informed, even as others are running for their lives. We have hard conversations with grieving parents whose child’s life was snuffed out by gun violence.

As a world in crisis amid a global pandemic, we follow every death. Every illness. Every business closure. Every financial hardship.

We are acutely aware of the human toll, both physical and financial.

And that’s not just because we’re talking to those affected. We’re living it too.

Our industry is being decimated by this pandemic, much like other industries. Newsrooms across the nation are laying off workers.

Journalists live in fear day in and day out — fear for losing their jobs because of an economic crisis, but fear also for contracting a monster of a virus as we march into battle to keep the public informed of a minute-by-minute onslaught of information.

Those of us lucky enough to have jobs are exhausted. We’re working 12-hour days, 7-days a week. Why? Because we value what we do. It’s why media outlets with paywalls have torn them down. It’s a public service.

To say that members of the media are somehow pleased with the new numbers, rising by the day, ignores the fact that we are terrified, too.

One of our editors has a 17-year old daughter who contracted the illness. A day after the test came back positive, a 17-year old girl was the first child in the state to die. Can you imagine that fear?

Another editor likely contracted the illness in the early days of the pandemic and spent a solid week battling the worst illness he had ever had. As he laid miserable in bed, you know what he still did? He kept working.

We know lobbyists who have battled COVID-19, lawmakers, friends.

Someone told us, “it’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced besides my terrible car accident.”

Every single one of us at Florida Politics knows someone close to them who’s been affected by this pandemic. There are more by the day.

So this is the closest we will come to telling the Governor of Florida, as politely as possible, to go to hell. We won’t say it, because we respect the office.

But your words are like an icy hot knife to our backs, Governor.

Florida Politics, while we don’t hesitate to hold this administration accountable, has given Gov. DeSantis credit for his response where others have balked.

Granted, we didn’t think DeSantis deserved an apology from the media even as the National Review kissed his ass.

But we have said, either directly or indirectly, that the Governor is not getting enough credit for balancing public health concerns with economic strife.

We have saluted him for worrying about what an extended lockdown could have done to people, adding crippling financial hardship to an already mortifying public health crisis. We agreed with him when he warned of the unseen consequences – increased child and domestic abuse, drug use, etc. – a draconian response would prompt.

We even gave credence to his notion that, in a state as large and diverse as Florida, you can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Panhandle doesn’t need the same response as South Florida. We get that.

But to say the media LIKES this, to suggest we’re spreading fear porn, that is not only totally crazy, it’s rude as hell. It’s heartless. It’s passing the buck because he’s afraid of the political fallout.

We’re not exaggerating for ratings, as he seems to suggest.

The same day DeSantis figuratively sent the media to the gallows, Florida health officials reported more than 10,000 new cases in just one day. To put that in perspective, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and the European Union are averaging 6,760 new cases.

Imagine if DeSantis, instead of mimicking President Donald Trump by making the media his scapegoat, took the road less traveled?

What if he stayed positive, pointed out the state did better than expected during the first two months of the pandemic, but admitted it was time to get back on track, time to put on a damn mask?

What if instead of bashing us, he offered just the slightest sense of gratitude for raising public awareness about coronavirus?

Because that’s what we did.

Unlike those who think you, Governor, deserve an apology, we don’t believe anyone does. We don’t even want one from you for your hurtful comment yesterday.

What we do want is for you to recognize that we are doing our jobs, as best we can, during this pandemic.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


34 comments

  • Bonnie

    July 3, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Thank you Peter. Excellent story. Formerly, I worked with Casey Black DeSantis when she was a news reporter and public interest TV show host. Outstanding in her work. I hope she is involved in the Governor’s communications and becomes more so.

    • Liz B.

      July 3, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Well said.

  • S.B. Anthony

    July 3, 2020 at 11:43 am

    DeSantis is a vile human being, who thinks that lashing himself to the fake president, who
    also gets a thrill from media bashing, is goingto further his political career.

    He will be thrown out with the rest of the garbage when he’s up for re-election, just like
    the fake president is going out with the trash in November.

    • Michael

      July 6, 2020 at 8:24 am

      Bloviating Whiner

    • Karen

      July 10, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      But you would have LOVED Andrew Gillum caught with a dead man, drugs and homos. Desantis is awesome unlike those nitwits in ny.

      • RON DESANTIS

        July 16, 2020 at 7:10 pm

        PLEASE REMOVE YOUR HEAD FROM YOUR A$$!

  • Howard Rogers

    July 3, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    It is obvious that frustrations are running high in local communities, the state and the nation. Perhaps the Governor’s comment was not the most appropriate, but Florida has done well during the crisis and more can be done when the so called “scientist” make up their minds of what are solid and proven practices. Nothing has to be mandated by anyone to wear face masks, a subject that the scientist can’t even agree upon. It is time to recognize that each of as human beings must take responsibility for our welfare. We can where masks, we can social distance without being told, and we do not need to go places WE think are hazardous to our health, that is an individual’s choice. But the statement that Governor made reflects a lot of the partial facts surrounding COVID-19. We will have spikes and increases in cases until one of two things occur; we either all catch it and develop immunities or we get a proven vaccination or therapy. In either case, we cannot sit on our behinds and expect for the necessities of life to be available. My frustrations with the news medias reporting on COVID-19 cases is that even in the Panhandle the stations report the up ticks in cases but rarely, if ever, put the upticks in perspective with the number of deaths and the related reasons for the increases. It simply doesn’t make exciting reporting. So like the governor, quit scaring everyone and start pointing out facts and problems that are the real causes. Tell the good side of the issue that the deaths are not rising at the same rate. Then call out the “bad actors” as in the case, the young people. To our benefit, may be these younger people contracting and surviving the virus could be our salvation by being ticketed for their no compliance of coverings and social distancing. The ticket would require them to be tested for anti-bodies and if found positive, be required not to pay fine if they contribute to the plasma therapy that was so advocated months back. Let’s all resort to our God-given common sense and be respectful of others, but responsible for our own decisions and safety.

    • SANDRA OLIVA

      July 3, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      I don’t know what V YOU watch, but deSantis is insultingly sure that we are all dodos and believe everything that pours out of his mouth as he lies about numbers like trump. He has yet to warn us of the “new” virus coming our way that’s much more contagious than the current one though supposedly “no worse that it”. It’s amazing and insulting what the 2 of them say that they fully expect us to swallow whole!

      WHEN OH WHEN CAN WE GET A REAL PRESIDENT BACK SO WE CAN START PUTTING OUR NATION BACK TOGETHER AGAIN REGARDING THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS, SO NECESSARY. AND WE CAN BEGIN TO ADDRESS IMPORTANT ISSUES BESIDES TRUMP’S DELICATE “FEELINGS”. NO SPECIAL MANFULLNESS THERE!

      sorry, it got into capital mode.. In short, I am so sickened by the acts of djt, Lindsey Graham, Moscow Mitch, Susan Collins. There is so much spoiled meat “out there” that makes Joe Biden seem like a Founding Father. Bless his heart..

      KEY is that we increase the Democratic Senate by 4 without any losses! And that we shovel trump out of his rancid hovel, the WH, so we can sanitize It for clearheaded people who mean what they sign onto at their inaugural! I wish we could push time ahead.

      • B. Hain

        July 5, 2020 at 10:47 am

        Thank you. I share your sentiments.

    • Andy madtes

      July 3, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      Howard.
      Well said. Refreshing!!!!!

  • NO MORE REPUBLICANS !!!

    July 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    What the hell does Little Ronnie DeSycophantis know? He’s a friggin’ Donnie Dimwit Lickspittle and Arsewipe. The Republicans running this state are total rightwingnut freakazoids – and this state is going down the toilet because of them. Time for thinking Floridians to pick up and get the hell outta Flor-i-DUH!

    • Brandi

      July 3, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      I love it when old people try to act tough on the internet. I’m praying for your mental illness.

      • Stephen Toth

        July 7, 2020 at 4:12 am

        Brandi…What a nice name for a bimbo.

    • Ed

      July 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      Goodbye! Good riddance! Take 10 of your friends with you. Florida would be a better place if you people that keep talking about leaving would actually leave.

    • Ben

      July 6, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      EXCELLLLLENT!!!

  • Palmer Tom

    July 3, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for holding the governor accountable. This pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetime and I’m sure the decisions don’t come easily. But as a retired journalist I do take exception to any public official trying to claim we get our kicks from all of the hardships our fellow Floridians are suffering. He can do better.

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Duffus Desantis is a damn crybaby!!! Do your damn job crybaby ! Serve and protect. Shut down the state! Cancel the RNC! Our children will be trying to transition back into school! Cancel the RNC! That stupid scum Putin loving traitor trump is not welcome in Jacksonville , a damn proud military community !!!!

  • M clark

    July 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Wow. The media reports the spike while ignoring the amount of tests, choosing the path of fear. Instead how about reporting the numbers accurately, as in antibodies found in testing, active cases, the decrease in deaths happening. How about instead of bashing the man and getting your panties in a bunch like a twelve year you accurately report the news without bias (look up Walter Cronkite as an example of how to do this).

    • Moe B

      July 4, 2020 at 10:11 am

      You know everything you just wrote is a like right? It’s the % that’s increasing the number of tests. And where are you getting this information that deaths are decreasing? Decreasing from what? You have any type of source you can provide? Prolly not.

      You’re the problem with the internet. Anyone can have a “voice”. But not have any facts to base anything from.

      • Cicero

        July 6, 2020 at 3:34 pm

        Here Here Howard Rogers.

        Moe, Keep watching the CDC website and stop “doom scrolling” through your newsfeed- M Clark is not lying.

        From the CDC website, we will have to watch death certificates, but deaths are on a downward trajectory probably because the individuals that are getting this illness are younger and many without comorbidity.

        That is not to say that those that do display symptoms do not get very ill, only to say that there are millions of Americans that are 1) asymptomatic 2) likely to come out on the other side of the illness. Its not enough to report a raw number of new cases in the news and expect people not to panic. It would be extremely helpful if the press reported the facts only- and I will tip my hat to Florida politics because I think they do a relatively fair job in reporting facts.

        Mortality
        Based on death certificate data, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 (PIC) decreased from 9.0% during week 25 to 5.9% during week 26, representing the tenth week of a declining percentage of deaths due to PIC. The percentage is currently at the epidemic threshold but will likely change as more death certificates are processed, particularly for recent weeks….

        https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html

  • Safari Sam

    July 3, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    The media, though, does love to keep their audiences in fear…keep them coming back to watch, coming back to read. Advertisement revenue, is what news outlets are most interested in. Even if not the actual journalist, the station and domain owners dictate that. That is why I got out of working for United Paramount Network 47, before it became CBS47. I’m a Democrat, and I know that.

  • Christopher Kennard

    July 3, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Appreciate your comments. Ron DeSantis has shredded the truth in his political quest for power, aligning himself so closely with Trump so as to hold the people of Florida captive in a sway of a madman.

    I am involved in organizing the legal challenge to DeSantis’ move last year over our last 4th of July Independence Day weekend holiday in 2019 when he signed the HB-5 law that eviscerated the ability and right of Florida citizens to utilize our state constitutional amendment ballot initiative process to create, promote, and vote for issues or laws the politicians repeatedly refused to do over the last couple of decades in Florida.

    I am filing this federal court case as an unpaid volunteer citizen who collects registered Florida voter signed petitions, such as the RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS [Ballot Initiative Serial # 15-20] that was “knocked off” the 2020 ballot in order to suppress the expected rise of “progressive voters” who would be likely to come out to vote for such a law but would not be likely to vote for Trump.

    Several other good progressive proposed laws were also blocked by DeSantis and the current Republican clique trying to control the people and our natural resources in Florida for their own benefit . . . like the Provide Medicaid To Eligible Low-Income Adults ballot initiative petitions . . . and those for changes in how we vote in primary elections . . . in fact, only one “progressive” ballot initiative petition, the $15 Minimum Wage petition, that John Morgan threw millions more into paying paid canvassers to collect voter signed petitions, got on the 2020 ballot this year.

    I am tired of politicians and madmen who pollute our political arena and attempt to destroy our nation’s political system of one person, one vote to determine the course and policies of our country as we move forward.

    So, come election day in 2020 . . . 2022 . . . and 2024, I have a lot of politicians to help others to replace with good honest folks who are elected to serve the people, not just themselves.

    Thank you again, for speaking the truth!

  • Blane

    July 4, 2020 at 10:03 am

    The Governor is right. You sir, sound like an immature child demanding an apology for being called out for the sensationalism of bad news by media and allowing your politics into reporting. The Governor has nothing to be ashamed about but you should be ashamed of publishing this hit article.

    • Peter Schorsch

      July 5, 2020 at 6:13 am

      We literally say we are not demanding an apology.

  • Glenn Reihing

    July 4, 2020 at 10:13 am

    You failed to mention that he did this in front of VP Pence. You don’t think that this may have something to do with this?

    As for your praising of “has given Gov. DeSantis credit for his response where others have balked.” I would like to point out a couple of things.

    He has been under suspicion of trying to manipulate health statistics in an effort to push his agenda as opposed to making good public health policy that benefits the citizens of the State. I do agree that ICU bed reporting needs to be honed in order to see which ones are really sick. Sometimes people are placed in ICU beds because they are the place that usually have the negative pressured rooms. The accusation of trying to rig the death stats on Covid in order to make Florida look better than what is was is not going away.

    The early release of self-quarantine measures instead of a gradual one was not totally his fault since that went out the window during the George Floyd protests, but he could have made a stronger case when people were not social distancing in bars and restaurants or the use of masks. He still needs to accept responsibility by his slow to almost non-existent response to going back to measures that got the virus under control. Because of this, the virus has spiked more quickly than needed.

    Yet he goes to the Trump playbook and whines about the press. I’m just surprised that he couldn’t get a “Black Lives Matter” dig in there somewhere.

  • PAUL TENENBAUM

    July 4, 2020 at 11:10 am

    DIDN’T ANY ONE SEE HIS CANDIDATE POSTER WHEN HE POSED AS AN INFANTRY SOLDIER WHEN IN FACT HE WAS ASSIGNED TO JAG AS A LAWYER AND NEVER FIRED A RIFLE.
    TO ME AS A KOREAN WAR VETERAN AND DISABLED, HE IS A FAKE AND A TRUMP BLIND FOLLOWER AND JUST AS INCOMPETENT.

    • William R Carney

      July 16, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      It’s possible, however, that he may be a competent liar. Everyone is good at something.

  • Mike F.

    July 4, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Remember, unwanted pregnancies would go away if we stopped pregnancy testing…
    The same should work with the virus, right?

  • martin

    July 5, 2020 at 9:40 am

    it is time we told the media go go to [email protected]

    CNN described Mount Rushmore as a “monument of two slave owners” on “land wrestled away from Native Americans” ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit there on Friday.
    But in 2008, CNN marveled at the landmark when then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) visited Rushmore on the campaign trail in South Dakota.

    In 2008, CNN anchor Ron Marciano said: “Barack Obama is campaigning in South Dakota. That state’s primary is Tuesday. Obama arrived there late last night and got a good look around Mt. Rushmore — it’s quite a sight if you haven’t seen it.”

    Fellow anchor Betty Nguyen added: “Barack Obama is in South Dakota today. He arrived there last night. Take a look at this. He got a good glimpse of the majestic Mount Rushmore. Well, South Dakota and Montana have closed out the primary season on Tuesday.”

    Organizations recognizing Trump;

    1976 Humanitarian Award by the National Jewish Health;
    1983 Tree of Life Award by the Jewish National Fund;
    1986 Ellis Island Award given to Trump, Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali;
    1990 video of the Rev. Jesse Jackson lauding Trump as a friend to minorities and underserved communities. Jackson expressed appreciation for Trump’s support of the Rainbow Push Coalition’s initiative called the Wall Street Project, which aimed to help minority-owned businesses;
    1995 President’s Medal by the Freedom Foundation (Washington) for his support of youth programs;
    2007 Muhammad Ali Entrepreneur Award;
    2008 Unicorn Children’s Foundation Shining Star Award;
    2011 Presidential Hero Award by the Lois Pope Life Foundation;
    2015 The Algemeiner Liberty Award for contributions to Israel-United States relations.

    This was Donald Trump BEFORE the media got started their dishonest reporting.

    WE aew seeing the same thing with our Gov.

  • Joe DiNardo

    July 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    DeSantis, like many politicians started to ignore the science as well as the personal tragedy of individuals for the sake of the almighty dollar! Unfortunately, he is only one of many who have made this decision and Americans all over our country are paying the price for it.
    There was another “ignore science” bill that recently was signed by him that was put forth by Reps Roach and Bradley that evoke “preemption” -silencing peoples voices and wants – of various bills like the sunscreen bill which was passed by Key West … as a scientist, I tell you again that these chemicals are toxic to the environment and to us and have demonstrated little to no benefit over 40 years of use … about 400,000 people have died from skin cancer since 1975 and 100,000 get deadly melanoma each year of which about 10,000 die! Maybe politicians will stop surpressing the voices of the people and the scientists when they say things that they don’t want to hear or perhaps will not listen to what the multi-billion dollar industries are telling them is real or not.

  • CG Monos

    July 5, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    I left FL two years recognizing that it would be governed by right-wing extremists that idolize a draft-dodging dangerous and divisive demagogue. Lack of racial sensitivity, sensible gun laws, and abandonment of environmental controls were foremost of my concerns. I have successfully resurrected my business and established myself and family in a state that elects individuals that believe in science, not a racist ideology.

  • Susan Hess

    July 7, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Governor Ron DeSantis’ political aspirations are foremost in his mind. He has failed his constituents in unconscionable ways:

    1. His statement that DEO was designed to fail, while thousands of unemployed workers have received nothing but frustration for months trying to file an unemployment claim, is just finger-pointing. He decided to not withdraw the Cares Act Federal Money until very recently, to acquire interest on that money. In the meantime, thousands of previously hard-working Floridians spend their days calling DEO for help with their claim and their problems never get resolved or agents can’t get into the system themselves. Some finally got a check, only to never receive one again. People are now over-extended with credit card debt with no relief in site. No excuse for a governor that knew this was a problem.

    2. His numerous statements that face mandates are not necessary because “people will do the right thing” is irresponsible and absurd. I live in a city where very few are social distancing and wearing masks in public. Our ICU beds are now at full capacity.

    To state that “it’s mostly younger people” and they are not likely to get very sick as a way to explain and downplay the increasing Covid-19 cases is downright ignorant of the fact that these “younger people” can spread Covid-19 to multiple others, including their own children, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, etc. Anyone with common sense would realize that cases will go up and a month later many more lives will be lost. Who do you think these “young people” are going to blame whenvone of their family members end up dead or the “young people’s” family are going to blame when their loved one dies of Covid-19? They/you will be blaming Governor DeSantis and President Trump for not being truthful.

    It is time Governor DeSantis realizes that his handling of this crisis has shown he is weak, in denial, and has failed the people of the State of Florida.

    Oh by the way, all of you people who want to slam me for writing the truth, don’t bother. You will just be showing you are just as insensitive, ignorant of the facts, and not living in the real world as he is.

    Be assured Ron DeSantis will never be forgotten, but will go down in history as the worst Governor that Florida has ever had.

    • JustMe

      July 12, 2020 at 8:23 am

      Susan, very well said. His refusal of mask mandates particularly angers me. Those of us high risk individuals who had no choice but to return to work are apparently expendable to him, and it’s a double standard. It is illegal for people to drive drunk because it endangers other people’s lives. It is not illegal for them to come into an establishment without a mask on and get into a worker’s personal space, even though it endangers other people’s lives. No point in trying to reason with the maskless once, since they’re too uncaring to consider anyone else’s safety, just like a drunk driver is. But I deplore DeSantis for not protecting those of us who do care and hsve to serve them.

  • S. Novac

    July 13, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is beyond disgraceful!
    The decisions he has made in his career speaks for itself where the welfare, community health and safety are concerned to which FL has failed miserably and history will note it.

    What makes this governor most unpopular now is not just his political tactics, especially during this pandemic crisis but his unbelievable character of ego, superiority complex and an obnoxious attitude to which the Florida citizens were shocked and has certainly awakened many who see him in a different light. (Especially those who were pro DeSantis)
    Sadly, some politicians forget the reason of their position & abuse their power while the people suffer due to the lack of a genuine leader who should prioritize his services based on the crisis, the public and state & not what his/her individual needs to serve themselves.

    In response to your comment, *Blane…. unfortunately, the governor has brought shame to himself. Have you not watched the news and his boastful comments? Irrespective of Florida’s number of Covid cases before the spike, no dignified human being, especially a public servant should speak in such an uncouth manner, priding himself on national media while humiliating others, only proves his lack of judgment, ignorance and defying the NIAID or just unbothered about this global health issue. Now since Florida is known as the epicenter, should the governor apologize to the people? He has to take responsibility, especially after all his public briefings, interviews and comments.

    Governor DeSantis needs a conscience and should know that history and karma are unforgiving!

Comments are closed.


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