The Press and Democrats Lose Their Minds, Instead of Using their Brains on Florida’s Election Law

(Bob Self/Florida Times-Union via AP)

Once again, these entities embarrass themselves by displaying abject ignorance over what they are criticizing.

More legislation was passed in Florida this week and as expected it led to more imbalanced reactions, more teeth-gnashing, and more hair dramatically being shorn from roots by fistfuls.

As I reported on Thursday, one prominent Florida paper listed off the ways Governor Ron DeSantis is ruling the state like a tin-pot dictator, its proof being mostly a list of bills he has recently signed, all while either being ignorant of — or hoping you will ignore — that the arrival of a bill employs the state legislature and actually displays the democratic process and the will of the people.

One of those bills was the voting integrity legislation that Governor DeSantis signed on Thursday, and the reactions to this have been nothing short of hysterical. The plural use of “reactions” is because there were multiple outrages — one at the law being passed, and one for how it came to be signed into law by the governor. DeSantis had the bold, galling intent to give Fox News the exclusive access to his signing of the bill, an act itself that has sent numerous political minds into an unhinged spiral of distemper.

On Thursday morning DeSantis sent out a late announcement that he would be signing the bill in a ceremony in West Palm Beach, and that it would be carried exclusively on the morning show Fox and Friends. In a rush, the media flooded to the location, only to find they were locked out of the building and would be unable to attend the signing in person. To say this led to outrage is an understatement. That members of the press thought it was exposing DeSantis — by showing journalists desperately peering through plate glass — and not an embarrassment for those in attendance, says plenty.

The first taste of the melodramatics was all the reports about how this was something being done in secret. Locking the local media out was somehow an infringement on press freedoms, was alluded to by many as violating state laws (with no such laws ever offered as proof), and it was declared that DeSantis was threatening democracy by hiding his intent to sign the bill. These accusations are the purest form of farce for many reasons. The signing of a bill is literally a foregone conclusion, as it is the final step of a process, the result of which is already known. The real story is in the crafting of the bill, and a leader’s intent to sign is revealed and reported upon; nothing taking place in that building on Thursday was a mystery.

It also cannot be called something done in secret, when it was entirely held on live television. Hell, the only mystery you could cite was regarding the color of the ink in the pen.

Vote, Ballot Drop
                                                                           AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The signing of a bill into law is a pure formality. It is a ceremonial activity, indicated by the times we have seen leaders use multiple pens to sign their name and then dole those out to sycophantic legislators as keepsakes for their effort in the crafting of the law. Still, days later, this action of giving Fox the stage alone has many in a highly agitated state. Over at Law & Crime, they report that an activist group has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get to the bottom of this outrageous event.

To get a sense of the even-handed coverage here (please read this as sopping with sarcasm) take in this passage from L & W as an introduction, with highlights added for emphasis:

The live broadcast made Fox the sole network to witness the governor formalizing the Sunshine State Republican Party’s latest wave of voting restrictions via SB 90, an omnibus piece of legislation that opponents call a “voter suppression bill premised on former president Donald Trump‘s “dangerous lie” of fraud during the 2020 election. The law ratchets up voter ID requirements, throws new hurdles in the way of mass mailing and collection of ballots, and decreases drop box availability.

Following this dispatch from the fainting couch, they go on to inform that the activist organization People for the American Way has filed an information request in order to obtain all of the communications which might be behind the decision to allow only Fox News to broadcast the signing. 

We filed this FOIA request because the people of Florida deserve to know the rationale behind DeSantis’s actions, including the reasons why other press were excluded from the event,” PFAW President Ben Jealous added. “We, and they, could make a pretty good guess, but we’d rather just know the facts.”.

Here is a follow-up question — do the people of Florida deserve to know why this is such an important issue to pursue? Why is it seen as problematic when the event was broadcast live nationally, unlike most bills signed in a state? Of all the bills signed into law in Florida this year more people probably saw this allegedly secretive signing than any other. What was missed, or what supposed hidden intent played out, is never explained. It is just held that something nefarious played out. 

To further the implied, but never detailed, illegalities we get this quote from a division of the PFAW: The people of Florida have a right to know if their governor is deliberately using his office for a self-serving publicity stunt at the same time he is signing away his constituents’ constitutional rights,” said Stan Adele, the director of the group’s Right Wing Watch project.

It is revealing to note that the PFAW — a group started by Hollywood hyper-leftist Norman Lear — does not have a Left Wing Watch project. 

Notable in all the venomous coverage of the law is that the intentions of the voters are never mentioned. While we hear “opponents” call this voter suppression, we do not get notification from these same minds that numerous polls have shown there is wide support for voter ID laws among the citizens. Almost appears that most of those opposing are either Democrat politicians or members of the media.