Politico noted in its nightly bulletin Thursday that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “looks more right than those who criticized” his response to the coronavirus pandemic, and that media bias is one of the reasons he is polling worse than other governors.
The Beltway publication, which often leans left, offered a sober look at DeSantis’s performance — and the media’s slant (original emphasis and links):
First, let’s just come out and say it: DeSantis looks more right than those who criticized the Sunshine State’s coronavirus response. According to the latest Florida figures, fewer than 2,000 have died, and around 43,000 have been infected. That’s a fraction of the dire predictions made for Florida when spring breakers swarmed the beaches, and those numbers are dwarfed by similarly sized New York, which has seen 12 times more deaths and nearly eight times more infections. (Check out POLITICO’s coronavirus tracker for more.) More people reportedly died in New York nursing homes than in all of Florida.
The polling disparity: DeSantis is actually polling worse than Cuomo in their respective states, and the Florida press is wondering why. Part of that is style. Cuomo has a smooth delivery, a deep and calming voice and an attitude that projects he can answer any question. DeSantis sometimes comes across as peevish and defensive, has made a misstatement or two and was mocked for struggling to put on a mask. But most of the difference between DeSantis and Cuomo is due to politics. DeSantis governs a politically divided state. Cuomo is a scion of Democratic royalty in a deeply Democratic state.
Yes, there’s media bias, too. Cuomo also has something else DeSantis doesn’t: a press that defers to him, one that preferred to cover “Florida Morons” at the beach (where it’s relatively hard to get infected) over New Yorkers riding cramped subway cars (where it’s easy to get infected). In fact, people can still ride the subways for most hours of the day in New York, but Miami Beach’s sands remain closed. Maybe things would be different if DeSantis had a brother who worked in cable news and interviewed him for a “sweet moment” in primetime.
The authors of the bulletin, Marc Caputo and Renuka Rayasam, also say that DeSantis cannot take all the credit, because he allowed local government to take the lead. They also criticize the state’s inefficient unemployment insurance system, though they also note that DeSantis inherited it, and “is trying to get it fixed quickly.”
The White House press corps repeatedly badgered President Donald Trump about DeSantis in the early days of the pandemic, when the Florida governor was one of the few who waited before he shut his state’s economy down.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.