We reported earlier on an Associated Press hit piece on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and how it fell apart after it had been pointed out that the piece’s central premise – that DeSantis was engaging in the equivalent of “pay to play” with his promotion of a Regeneron COVID-19 antibody treatment – was deeply flawed and likely intentionally misleading.
As my RedState colleague Bonchie noted in his report, not only has the treatment – which has also been touted by the Biden administration – been shown to work in helping to prevent hospitalization for some COVID patients, but “the [DeSantis] donor is a hedge fund manager that manages almost $40 billion in assets. The company in question makes up a tiny fraction of the total investments to the point where it’s irrelevant. In fact, they aren’t even really investments.”
Understandably, one of the people pushing back hard on the false narrative being pushed by the Associated Press (and, of course, other “news” outlets now) is DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw, who has sent out several tweets on the matter after unsuccessfully trying to work behind the scenes with the reporter Brendan Farrington to get the headline changed. Here’s one she posted this morning in response to something else Farrington left out of his article:
Yes the second biggest shareholder in Regeneron is BlackRock. Citadel isn’t in the top 100. Frankly it doesn’t matter, because the treatment works, but it’s interesting what the media activists fixated on. https://t.co/ypnP2EWxxD
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) August 18, 2021
In a follow-up tweet, Farrington alleged that he had been receiving death threats over the story, insinuating that Pushaw as a government employee was “threatening” his safety:
Waking up in the middle of the night to see death threats and hate messages from people about a story @GovRonDeSantis office said is factually true. For your sake, I hope government doesn’t threaten your safety. I’ll be fine. I hope. Freedom. Just Please don’t kill me.
— Brendan Farrington (@bsfarrington) August 18, 2021
Michelle Tauber, who is a People magazine editor, also chimed in with what amounted to a “how dare people question what we report!” response:
This is the @AP reporter who broke the story about @GovRonDeSantis + top donor + Regeneron. This veteran FL Capitol journalist was then harassed on Twitter by DeSantis spokesperson. Shameful. https://t.co/ZbTIyUKLNx
— Michelle Tauber (@michelletauber) August 18, 2021
Both tweets are pretty much everything wrong with modern “journalists” in a nutshell.
From what I’ve read of Pushaw’s Twitter feed, she did not “threaten” Farrington’s safety in any way. She did tell him that she would go public with his inaccuracies if the headline issue wasn’t rectified. It wasn’t, so she proceeded accordingly. That is very little difference between that and how White House press secretary Jen Psaki responds back to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on any given day during the daily press briefings, which we’ve documented extensively here.
If random Twitter users did threaten Farrington with bodily harm or death, it is absolutely unacceptable and he should present the tweets to local law enforcement to investigate. But a press secretary or, for that matter, any Average Jane or Joe who pushes back on a reporter by simply pointing out the facts is not “harassing” nor “threatening” members of the mainstream media.
Contrary to what some journalists might think, they and their colleagues should not consider themselves above criticism, beyond reproach. Our country’s history, especially its recent history, has been littered with one fake news report after another. Not only has it destroyed the trust in the journalism industry, but millions of people have been misinformed, their opinions skewed, by bad reporting.
While threats against reporters, if true, are not a good thing, correcting the record absolutely is and people should continue to do so and not be intimidated into backing down when others in the profession start with the pearl-clutching.