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The Washington Post ran a clickbait headline Saturday, “DeSantis advisers prepare for potential presidential run, explore staff options,” a header sure to get political junkies of all stripes riled up. The story goes on to say that signs are pointing to the Florida governor “laying a foundation for a national campaign,” that potential hires have already been identified, and that two of DeSantis’ key gubernatorial re-election advisors are “involved in ongoing talks about 2024.”
As expected, the news set tongues wagging, and outlets around the world breathlessly picked up the story:
DeSantis advisers are actively preparing 2024 presidential run
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) January 28, 2023
There’s only one problem with the WaPo’s effort at journalisming: the story is almost entirely speculation, and its conclusion is based exclusively on quotes from anonymous individuals. Where have we seen that before? Ah, yes, “Russia collusion,” a narrative derived out of whole cloth from off-the-record statements, innuendo, terrible journalism, and misinformation from congenital liars like California Representative Adam Schiff.
I’m not saying DeSantis won’t run—he very well might. What I am saying is that there is no new real information or facts in this piece, and it mostly reads like a thinly-veiled effort to get what the Post really wants: a nasty, messy food fight between DeSantis and Trump.
We all know the outlet detests Trump, but they despise DeSantis almost as much:
“Now he’s gone full-blown white supremacist,” @JRubinBlogger writes.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) January 24, 2023
Here are the bombshell claims the paper—whose motto is ironically, “Democracy Dies in Darkness“—dropped in the story:
Advisers to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are actively preparing for a possible presidential run, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the conversations who described meetings and preliminary staffing moves — the latest indication that DeSantis is laying a foundation for a national campaign.
DeSantis’s political team has already identified multiple potential hires in early primary states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, according to one of the Republicans, who said experienced operatives have expressed interest. This Republican also said that Phil Cox and Generra Peck — two key members of DeSantis’s 2022 reelection team — are involved in ongoing talks about 2024.
Another Republican with knowledge of the conversations said DeSantis advisers met recently to discuss the 2024 election.
Juicy! But wait: who exactly did the Wapo talk to in researching this “news”? Bet you can guess:
The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private talks.
Yup, yup, yup. Listen, I think we all know that a real Republican insider probably wouldn’t be talking to the Post, so this all seems a little far-fetched—and convenient for the narrative they want to sell. They don’t stop there, though; they then write about polling that favors DeSantis over Trump.
What they forget to mention: Trump easily defeats DeSantis by a spread of 15.6 in a Republican primary, according to the RealClearPolitics average of many reputable polls.
It’s journalistic malpractice to imply that DeSantis has the edge when in fact the opposite is provably true:
Poll: Trump holds a massive lead in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 27, 2023
It should hardly be a surprise that this gossip piece devoid of any news or hard facts should come from the once-vaunted Post, which has gotten to be such a bad, untrustworthy newspaper that even its owner, multi-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is actively trying to dump it.
I like Ron DeSantis, and I hope he becomes president someday. One thing I’ve consistently written, however, is that I have no desire to see a Ronald-Donald deathmatch because I believe they’d both emerge diminished. I understand it’s a lot to ask DeSantis to wait, however, seeing as he may never be in such a position of strength again.
The one thing you can be sure of is that Democrats and the media—which for all practical purposes is the same entity—really really want to see the two powerhouses tear each other down.
That’s why they’re running speculation like this latest embarrassment.
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