In the wake of Hurricane Ian, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has largely been on his best behavior. The Republican has abandoned his earlier position on federal disaster aid; he has publicly praised FEMA; and the Republican governor had some nice things to say about the White House.
This afternoon, the Floridian even welcomed President Joe Biden to the state, adding, “We appreciate working together across various levels of government.”
After a deadly storm, and with five weeks remaining before his own re-election bid, it looked as if DeSantis was prepared to stick to the high ground.
Or so it seemed. Axios reported:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in an interview this week that the national media wanted Hurricane Ian to hit Tampa Bay, broadly claiming that coverage of the deadly storm was motivated by a “political agenda.”
The governor spoke to an outlet called Florida’s Voice, which describes itself as “a patriotic news network,” and shared some thoughts about his impressions of major news outlets.
“Well, look, I think part of it quite frankly, you know, you have national regime media that they wanted to see Tampa [get hit by Hurricane Ian] because they thought that that’d be worse for Florida,” DeSantis said. “That’s how these people think. I mean, they don’t care about the people of this state; they don’t care about the people of this community. They want to use storms and destruction from storms as a way to advance their agenda.
“And they don’t care what destruction’s in their wake; they don’t care about the lives here. If they can use it to pursue their political agenda, they will do it.”
He didn’t appear to be kidding. The governor honestly seemed to believe that journalists wanted to see a massive hurricane strike one of Florida’s largest cities because of their deep hatred for the state. Media professionals, in DeSantis’ mind, have an “agenda,” and storm devastation would help those rascally journalists advance their cause.
Who are these Florida-hating media professionals? He didn’t say. What’s their “agenda”? He didn’t say that either. How would a hurricane hitting Tampa help these scoundrels? It’s another one of those details that DeSantis neglected to mention.
Perhaps he hasn’t yet thought this one through.
It’s also worth dwelling on “national regime media.” In candor, I haven’t the foggiest idea what the phrase means, though Media Matters’ Matt Gertz noted that the Republican apparently uses the phrase because, as DeSantis sees it, independent news organizations at the national level are aligned with the “regime” — as in, the Biden administration.
Of course, the idea that journalists are secretly in league with the executive branch is tiresome, conspiratorial nonsense, and just as importantly, in this country we tend not to use the word “regime” to refer to the democratically elected government of the United States.