Enjoy the show: Sparks fly between Florida conservative press members

Javier Manjarres - Artwork
Plenty are getting roasted in this dumpster fire.

All is not well in the world of Florida conservative media.

In the race to offer the most unconditionally flattering coverage of Gov. Ron DeSantis, outlets have run into some challenges, including each other.

At a time when proving conservative bona fides means fighting any shadow one can swing a fist at, the fringiest of Florida media have taken up feuding. And it’s not at all clear there’s any prize waiting for the victor.

Things reached a boiling point this month when Florida’s Voice, an outfit run by Jan. 6 insurrectionist Brendon Lesliepublished private Twitter messages from Javier Manjarres, a failed congressional candidate and publisher of the Floridian Press. “Why have you been in my dms for months begging me to retweet your reports?”

“Pathetic,” Manjarres responded. “Just proves how lame you all are. We will keep all DM’s and private text private. And all private conversations. Good luck.”

Leslie apparently posted about Manjarres getting up in his DMs because the Shark Tank publisher beat Leslie on publishing a story regarding a controversial tweet from Karla HernándezCharlie Crist’s running mate. It’s the one that said many Cuban nationals had mourned for Fidel Castro.

“Dude, what’s up with the journalistic integrity at @FLVoiceNews. @Floridianpress first reported this today and (no) attribution from FL Voice? C’mon @BrendonLeslie you guys are better than this. This is what Schorsch does.”

Yes, that’s right. Apparently Florida Politics lives rent-free in the minds of Florida’s right-wing media machine, but that’s a whole different story. (For what it’s worth, we are pretty serious about crediting scoops around here.)

What’s fascinating is how these niche sites have decided to go after one another for the title of top conservative sycophant.

Apparently, Leslie has also made enemies with one soon-to-be-former state lawmaker who happens to be the darling of far-right Twitter. Anthony Sabatini, who this week called for “serious conservative news outlets” to start covering Florida, took aim at Florida’s Voice.

“Beware of Fake News propaganda site @FLVoiceNews,” Sabatini tweeted. “They get paid to cover for guys like RINO @WiltonSimpson.”

From there, Sabatini went after the Republican nominee for Agriculture Commissioner for his role in crafting the Parkland gun safety bill, not allowing a heartbeat bill to move in the Senate and, just to make clear racism flows through Sabatini’s Blackface-blotted heart, for supporting a resolution condemning White supremacy.

After the Simpson aside, Sabatini quickly turned his attention back to the media ecosystem in the Sunshine State.

“What we really need right now are serious conservative news outlets that hold our Republican officials accountable on votes & other actions,” Sabatini posted. “Such outlets are RARE. Why? Because most succumb to the desire for ‘access.’ It’s hard holding folks accountable — most lack the gut for it.”

There’s no denying, though, that Sabatini has reach on social media, with 127,000 followers. That’s more than Leslie and far more than Florida’s Voice.

We can only guess that Manjarres doesn’t sit in good standing with Sabatini either after the Floridian Press roasted him as Florida’s Biggest Loser for losing a GOP Primary to Cory Mills.

That just adds some extra roast to this dumpster fire.

Of course, the whole push for access does seem to be a motivating factor. How else to explain the embarrassing, fawning coverage provided when these fringe outlets receive sit-down interviews with DeSantis, clearly the most prominent Republican in Florida right now. The right-wing sucklefest did win all of these outlets an invite this year to a big Republican party, the Sunshine Summit in Hollywood, where many mainstream outlets weren’t allowed in.

But it’s not like the pettiness recently on display among Florida’s zaniest red meat outlets has earned them significant access to the Governor. Rather, the press shop in Tallahassee seems to favor, at the moment, the Florida Standard.

That’s where staff announcements and appointments seem to land before press releases blast out to the major media. That’s where communications staff occasionally retweet and take up the questionable legal premises of stories, like the recent assertion by the Standard that a vaccine passport ban would force television stations to host debates for un-vaxxed candidates.

But then, who wants to stop these outlets from burning each other, and their own credibility, to the ground? It may not bring anything positive to these publishers, but the self-immolation does make for a good show.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Charlie Crist

    September 13, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Vote for me. I’ll put all these GOP cartoon characters in the ground.

  • Elliott Offen

    September 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Yeah the hogs are just tearing each other’s eyeballs out just to rise to the top and shovel money to the rich.

  • PeterH

    September 13, 2022 at 11:36 pm

    Fawning over Ron DeSantis is a race to the bottom. America can do better than DeSantis in 2024. Unfortunately he’s the best the GQP has to offer.

  • Proper Ganda

    September 14, 2022 at 5:23 am

    “Apparently Florida Politics lives rent-free in the minds of Florida’s right-wing media machine. . .”
    Hah! Rather the other way around. It’s a propagandist’s trick to accuse the devil of the same sin you commit. Who was FLAPOL after the other day? Oh, yes, The Capitolist. And before that the Times, and now these other blogs. Right wing media machine? In a state where the failing daily newspapers have to swap stories because they fired all their political staffers (Adam Smith, where are you? Oh yes, cozy government job in Tampa; Demis take are of each other), and in a blogiverse where some struggling outlets are retreading stories first posted FIVE MONTHS ago (yes, I see you blushing), the only recreation is conjuring specters and then wailing about them . Oh well, guess everyone is due a day off some time. It’s not like there a campaign going on, or anything.

  • I am what I am

    September 15, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    People are the problem they want to squeeze there 300 million into the state .
    All they do is find a way to legally pull your money out of your wallet they don’t care they raised the cost of living beyond 100.000
    They want more more more

  • I am what I am

    September 15, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Just an act the actual act is turning your neighborhood inside out by building high-rises intended for a single family home to squeeze 20 thousand into you 2 thousand people Town

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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