Last week, we reported on a deceptive Associated Press hit piece on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and how it had been conclusively shown by multiple people including other reporters that the piece’s central premise – that DeSantis was engaging in “pay to play” with his promotion of a Regeneron COVID-19 antibody treatment – was deeply flawed and intentionally misleading.
Making matters worse was the fact that the incredibly irresponsible “report” likely led to some assuming that there was no real benefit to the antibody treatment outside of what DeSantis and his donor could supposedly get out of promoting it. To the contrary, the treatment has been shown to be highly successful in helping keep COVID-infected patients from being hospitalized.
In response, the Associated Press penned a nastygram to DeSantis in which they scolded DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw for leading the fight on Twitter to get reporter Brendan Farrington to correct the misleading headline, accusing her of “threatening” a journalist and whipping up a social media mob. Twitter did the AP’s bidding by suspending Pushaw for 12 hours.
Instead of backing down, DeSantis himself responded accordingly to the attacks on his office and his promotion of Regeneron in a blistering letter my colleague Bonchie wrote about here. And last night during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s program, DeSantis made clear he was not done with the AP regardless of the news organization’s pearl-clutching:
“Well, it was clearly a partisan hit piece. They’re trying to act like this is not an effective treatment- it was a bizarre theory to boost Regeneron stock price, but as you know Sean, President Trump bought out all of the Regeneron last year, so it’s already been paid for by the federal government. When we take down from Florida to give to patients, there’s no charge for it. It has no financial incentive at all. All we’re trying to do is help people,” DeSantis told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night.
“Now, what the AP did by trying to create a false narrative is some people may believe the narrative and then think that this is not a viable treatment for them so if they’re infected, they will not go seek a monoclonal antibody and that will ultimately increase their risk of hospitalization,” DeSantis said. “So the AP knew what they were doing, they wanted to do a political hit on me and the fallout from that is that there will likely be people who decline life-saving treatment. And then they have the temerity to act like they were the victim when they got called out on their hit piece.”
Watch the full interview, where they also talked about the dire situation in Afghanistan, below:
DeSantis interview on Hannity's program last night (video) https://t.co/mjS4R1LWBm
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) August 24, 2021
DeSantis’ responses to media/Democrat attacks on him are in effect templates for how other Republicans should treat dishonest hit pieces done on them. As the 2022 midterms are coming more into focus and as Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats keep floundering in the polls, hopefully, the rest of the GOP pack are paying attention.