You have truly lost your way when you lobby for sexualizing children in order to own Ron DeSantis.
This has been a truly remarkable week in the annals of journalism stupidity in reference to coverage of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Not just once but multiple times we have been treated to the press displaying their emotion-fueled reactionary coverage of the man who has not even announced his presidential run, and they appear completely oblivious to how ridiculously ignorant they appear in the process.
To start, there was the breathless reporting of a Donald Trump super PAC filing ethics charges against DeSantis for allegedly violating Florida law regarding candidates who are required to quit their office to run a campaign. Consider what these reports reveal; journalists ran with detailed articles filled with specifics and quotes, from the campaign of the man that last year they declared needed to be silenced in order to preserve our democracy. Yet now they act as his PR office.
That is hardly all there was. The misguided interpretations of the DeSantis position on Ukraine have caused all manner of imbalanced reactions. Among the more amusing came from Stuart Stevens who tries to claim DeSantis is deeply enamored with Russia. Stevens delivers an unhinged rant that DeSantis LOVES Vladamir Putin’s Russia because there are no gay people (sigh, really?!), no women in power (umm, Ron has a woman serving as his lieutenant governor), and everyone there is a Christian. Uh…sure, Stu. Russia is nothing but a warm and inviting Utopia for Christianity. Nailed it, partner!
Adding to the DeSantis dysphoria was this NBC report that stated how as a Congressman, the current Florida governor was not very personable, but today many in Congress are backing him. So…the story is, after five years he learned to make friends…we guess…? And then, of course, there was the entirely disqualifying “scandal” that came out, known as The Pudding Incident. But even this is not all of the mayhem.
Another report that had the press in a frothing rage was the news that in South Florida, a major hotel had its liquor license stripped after it staged a sexualized drag show that had children in attendance. This was covered as if DeSantis himself showed up at the front desk and shredded their alcohol permit like Nancy Pelosi at a Trump State of the Union, but as to be expected, the facts are something else entirely.
As an example of the slanted media coverage, over at The Bulwark Jonathan V. Last weighed in so he could hammer DeSantis over this perceived overstepping of authority. Starting off with his caustic commentary, Last declares, “In Florida you are totally free to do whatever Ron DeSantis allows you to do.” Little surprise that from there he gets many things incorrect. The level of intent is not fully known.
So just how free is the “Free State of Florida”? The particulars of this incident are instructive. The Hyatt Regency Miami did not produce the show “A Drag Queen Christmas.” The show is a touring event. The Hyatt Regency Miami was simply the venue which accommodated the event by contracting to host it and provide food and beverage service.
To clarify, this was not a government reaction to a newly-discovered event, with retribution after the fact coming down from Tallahassee. In December, the Miami Hyatt Regency was the location for this show. Upon notice of the upcoming event, the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation reached out to the hotel to instruct them that this could not be an event allowing minors, due to the nature of the content. Some steps were taken, and JV Last feels this was sufficient.
The production company which runs “A Drag Queen Christmas” originally used the phrase “All Ages Welcome” on its ticketing website. In response to this letter, the Hyatt contacted the show’s producers and requested that they change the wording of their ticketing page to bring them into compliance.
What Last chooses to overlook is that in that initial complaint letter, the agency specified what the hotel needed to do. Beyond the scrubbing of the words “All Ages Welcome,” the venue was also responsible for monitoring the admissions. Said the DBPR in the letter:
To avoid action being taken against your license, it is your obligation to ensure that minors are prohibited from attending the Drag Fans drag show. If minors are allowed to attend this drag show the Department will take any and all actions available to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future.
This is a rather clear instruction and one that preceded the event. The hotel was informed of what it was to do prior to this show, and as laid out in the complaint, the venue was not in compliance, as minors were in fact present and recorded as such. The pulling of the license, as a result, is not any different than, say, if minors were found to be in an adult strip club. They were notified, remained out of compliance, and as a result, the license is now in limbo.
Here we have Last, and The Bulwark, trying to sell the concept that this action on the Miami Hyatt Regency was a sign of authoritarian oppression. The Daily Beast announced, “The move comes as the latest in DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ campaign…” NBC News weighed in with “The efforts by the DeSantis administration come as other Republican lawmakers across the country aim to restrict the centuries-old art form.” These and numerous other gripes from journalists all share a similar theme of downplaying the mention of the child endangerment component.
This is done for a pair of obvious reasons. One is that in order to demonize the governor they need to skip over detailing the main reason for the complaints, and the actions. Justifying the decision is the next to last thing they want to admit. The last thing to admit would be that they are issuing tacit support for sexualizing children, done in order to keep up complaints of the politician who scares them the most.