The press is challenged by covering Ron DeSantis, as their need for hyperbole catches up to them.
It has been a telling week, after an announcement that Florida’s Ron DeSantis is allegedly poised to finally make it official that he is running for president. This week has seen a flood of coverage as a result. Time Magazine delivered a laughably exaggerated painting of a glowering governor, insisting his demonstrated leadership is actually a detraction. Politico also tapped Roger Stone as a source to slam Casey DeSantis, Florida’s First Wife. It all had a whiff of desperation.
Joining in on the DeSantis dysphoria was the Huffington Post with another profile, from Dustin Siebert, which was meant to demean the man—but actually made him sound better.
The Florida governor is more informed, tactical and calculated, which makes him way more dangerous. Imagine Donald Trump, but with brains and savvy. Imagine Trump, but with a stalwart dedication toward legislation that moves the country in a direction that should terrify most reasonable human beings. Enter Ron DeSantis.
We can make sense of this paradox, once you realize these are people beholden to a “Jose“ Biden presidency. When presented with a politician who is composed and competent, the media sees those traits as problematic and a threat. But something else disqualified this piece from Siebert—which first appears in the headline and then, again, in the body of his piece.
Much like every voting cycle is called “the most important election of our lifetime,” the press has an overreliance on describing any emerging Republican or GOP contender for higher office as being “the worst we have ever faced.” That the media experts feel free to resort to this exaggeration on a bi-annual basis is one thing, but not recognizing they are painting themselves into a corner by this stage is something else.
The table was set months ago when the “experts” began to emerge with dire promises of what DeSantis would portend. Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat came out to announce that the governor would intentionally set out to destroy our democracy. How someone would be elected on such a platform is never actually addressed, but the accusation was enough. (For clarity, Ms. Ben-Ghiat has a history of declarations about Republicans running; good luck finding her saying anything about a prominent Democrat being this damaging to the nation.)
Ron DeSantis will destroy our democracy with deadly precision. I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous he is. https://t.co/EueotiR4aL
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) February 26, 2023
Now, HuffPo has followed suit, but there is a challenge; where to go after reaching a limit on their promised venality? Reaching back to George Bush, there was reporting that he would lead — then was leading — in a Hitler-like fashion. As Barack Obama emerged, his opponents were promised to have been even worse, so John McCain and Mitt Romney were said to have policies that made them Nazis.
Then came the Trump era.
The comparisons were commonplace, they were weekly — sometimes daily — in arrival. Trump could not be described in worse-enough terms, and the phrase “literally worse than Hitler” became quotidian parlance. To say this was an extreme exaggeration need not be explained, as the lack of any genocidal activities is evident.
But now, the press has a challenge; where to go from here since you have hit the authoritarian hyperbole ceiling? How does one describe DeSantis as being literally worse than the guy who was literally worse than Hitler?!
Dustin Siebert has the answer, and it is equal parts desperate and ridiculous while he describes DeSantis.
He managed to become a beast of a governor, anchored by a Republican Florida Legislature that, as the recently closed legislative session has shown us, bends to his whims like some do to Darth Vader using the Force.
Okay now, this is probably inevitable. Once you max out the despot comparison chart, you have to go off the margins to get to the next level. So, the looming presence of Florida’s governor will lead to him dominating on a galactic level and choking people remotely using nefarious spectral forces. This actually maps out things for the press, over the next eight years of elections. There is “worse than Darth Vader,” then the next candidate will face “he is Palpatine,” then “worse than Palpatine,” and we have to speculate it will culminate with a Republican one day described as “literally Thanos.”
The Space X program will hopefully, by then, be able to draw in a Star-Lord figure to collocate a Democratic Avengers to save us from losing whatever system of government is in place. Because, after all, it will have long been destroyed by DeSantis, by that point in time.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member