The Miami Herald is to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis what CNN was to Donald Trump for the four years of his presidency: Unabashed partisans looking for false narratives to craft and deceptive angles to massage in an effort to discredit the Republican and lift up a Democrat if necessary.
Considering the Herald’s “let’s throw everything but the kitchen sink and see if it sticks” journalistic approach towards DeSantis has been an epic failure every time they’ve tried it, including all the times they’ve used disgraced former Florida Dept. of Health IT staffer Rebekah Jones as part of the plot, it should be no surprise to anyone that they’re now shifting gears and trying another tactic.
The one where you deceive by omission.
The Herald published an editorial a few days ago reviewing the June 24th Surfside, Florida condominium building collapse tragedy that, as of this writing, caused the deaths of 94 people with 22 still “potentially unaccounted for,” according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
In their piece, the paper insinuated that DeSantis was being derelict in his duty to protect Florida residents by “caution[ing] we shouldn’t rush to pass laws until we know exactly what triggered the collapse,” before moving on to look at the state inspections process, financial reserves for condos, and a 2008 law “that required condo associations to pay for a ‘reserve study’ every five years to look at how much longer the condo’s components — from pools to elevators — could continue to operate safely and how much it would cost to repair them when needed.”
The law, they noted, was repealed in 2010. They interviewed the sponsor of the original 2008 bill – a Republican – who suggested that if the law had not been repealed then maybe the Champlain Towers South collapse would have been prevented:
Former state Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, sponsored the bill that created the law after hearing concerns from community associations, he told the Editorial Board. But he said real estate lawyers and property management companies didn’t like the requirement and the Legislature repealed the law in 2010.
Robaina believes the Surfside collapse could’ve been avoided if his law were still in place. NBC News reported the Champlain had not done a professional reserve study since at least 2016.
Until an investigation is done, it’s impossible to know whether Robaina is right, but requiring condo boards to stay on top of maintenance seems like a sensible thing that should have never been repealed.
It’s interesting that the Herald highlighted that NBC News report because that article left out the same important information that the Herald did in their editorial: Neither alerted readers that the governor who signed the repeal bill was Charlie Crist.
Here’s a 2010 Palm Beach Post piece on Crist signing the repeal, which DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw posted after NBC News filed their report:
Running for Governor as a Democrat against DeSantis pic.twitter.com/rxQtkogzAC
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) July 11, 2021
It was again a peculiar ommission for both the Herald and NBC News considering that Crist, a political chameleon who now represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District as a Democrat, declared his intent to run for governor in early May.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the fact that Crist – the most high-profile Democratic candidate to date to announce his intentions to run for governor – isn’t mentioned one time in either piece is highly suspect. Does anyone think that if DeSantis had been the one to repeal that 2008 law that he, too, wouldn’t have been mentioned nor sought out for an on-the-record quote?
Considering there is a mountain of evidence – including on the issue of the building collapse – indicating a clear media bias against DeSantis, it’s safe to say that just like with the NBC News piece, we shouldn’t give the Herald the benefit of the doubt that not mentioning Crist was simply an oversight on their part.
His name was left out of their report – on purpose.
One thing the Herald got right is that it’s impossible to know at this point if that 2008 law would have made a difference, but just as it was important for readers to know who the 2008 bill’s sponsor was, it’s also important for them to know who the governor was who signed the repeal of it, especially considering the safety of Florida’s infrastructure is likely to become a campaign issue in the coming months.