Politico Tries Politicizing a Hurricane to Slam DeSantis and Invites a Storm of Backlash

With a tempest bearing down on Florida Politico tries a pre-emptive hit on Governor DeSantis and drowns in failure.

The press sometimes just cannot help themselves when it comes to slanting coverage and placing a hit job on political rivals. When it comes to lightning rod figures (weather pun intended) like Ron DeSantis, journalists will dispatch their normal calls for decorum and humanity in a time of crisis. Scoring a political hit takes priority over decency.


At Politico, Florida Bureau reporter Matt Dixon saw the need to beat other reporters to the punch in slandering the governor over his hurricane response – the hurricane that has yet to hit the state’s west coast. Dixon wants to open the door to calamity and invite criticism on DeSantis over his response to the imposing beast of a storm.

The hurricane is on track to make landfall in the state just six weeks ahead of the November elections and, depending on how well the governor responds to the potentially catastrophic storm, DeSantis may emerge more popular or open himself up to criticism. 

Although Dixon lays out numerous ways that the governor has been working with preparedness, he still saw the need to inject politics into the mix.

While no elected official wishes for a major natural disaster, hurricanes offer almost unlimited access to free national media, a huge boost to any governor’s political fortunes. “Fail a response: hard to get reelected, and your agenda stalls,” former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, who served as Bush’s emergency management director, said in a text message. Do well, though, and it “adds capital to your agenda, and sets you up for higher office.”

This is a major hurricane brewing – a potential Category 4 – set to impact a major metropolitan area. There is no operating from an agenda in play when this transpires. Preparedness and then proper responses are the priority over politics. But Dixon cannot help but infuse his supposedly sober assessment with politics. 


For instance, there is absolutely nothing at all here connected to the immigration flights to Martha’s Vineyard – but Matt is sure to drop that incident into his piece. Also, DeSantis’ opponent in the gubernatorial race, Charlie Crist, is given his share of content-free commentary, ensuring his name is present in the affair. 

A spokesperson for Democratic challenger Charlie Crist said Sunday night his campaign is monitoring the situation. “As of right now we have not made any final decisions as far as ads,” said Sam Rodriguez, a Crist spokesperson. “But we are preparing to mobilize and deploy campaign assets in any way we can to support potential recovery efforts.”

Thank you for that Sam, your selfless bravery is noted for the record.

Perhaps there is no better way to illustrate the pre-written aspect of this piece than a small nugget contained therein. In setting up the prospect of this being a needs-to-prove-himself moment for DeSantis, we get this solemn moment from Dixon: DeSantis still hasn’t faced one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader can encounter: a hurricane.

Now, a reminder; Dixon is the Florida Bureau reporter for Politico. I bring that back to light, in order to frame the lack of diligence performed for this piece. See, the governor has in fact dealt with a hurricane impacting the state already.


I might dare suggest that DeSantis has a better grasp on hurricane history, preparedness, and using state and federal response efforts that Matt Dixon and Politico. It is rather clear the governor is operating with empirical wisdom on the matter – as Politico resorts to political opportunism with its eye on the coming election rather than the storm itself.


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