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Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Even Before Twitter Campaign Launch, MRC DeSantis Defense Brigade Was Fully Mobilized
Topic: Media Research Center

In a May 14 post, Mark Finkelstein complained that "Rick Wilson of the disgraced Lincoln Project" besmirched Ron DeSantis' chances in a presidential race, and took particular offense to a prediction of how Donald Trump will treat him:

Wilson began by attacking DeSantis's personality, claiming that he "doesn't like humans, has to pretend to be human." He insisted DeSantis has a "mean streak." Yes, Rick Wilson said that, without any introspection about his own behavior.

In contrast, despite being sure to get on record that he dislikes everything about Trump, Wilson argued Trump does have "charisma" and "energy." 

In a particularly gruesome metaphor, Wilson then predicted that in a debate, Trump would "tear Ron DeSantis's head off and kick it around like a soccer ball."

Again, this could well just be Wilson trying to tear down DeSantis because he and the Dems see him as the biggest threat to Biden.

Note: Imagining DeSantis's head being torn off and kicked around is in keeping with Wilson's creepy penchant for violent fantasies about Republicans.

Turns out DeSantis didn't need an assist from Trump on his campaign launch -- he and Elon Musk botched things all by themselves. On the day DeSantis' campaign was to launch his campaign in an Twitter event, on May 23, Finkelstein returned to defend both DeSantis and Musk:

Morning Joe was on brand as a daily DNC messaging board. There wasn't a positive word on tonight's anticipated Ron DeSantis campaign announcement on Twitter this evening with Elon Musk. From Mika Brezinski to Jonathan Lemire, Willie Geist, Katty Kay, and Elise Jordan, all expressed their energetic reservations and criticism of the DeSantis strategy.

Sykes also mocked DeSantis for somehow going "all in on Elon" and described Musk as displaying "brain worms"—whatever that means.


Sykes did see one upside to DeSantis making his announcement with Musk, claiming that it will "throw a certain amount of chaos into MAGA world." 

One thing Sykes failed to mention was the contrast in announcement styles between DeSantis and Biden. When the latter announced his re-election bid, he did so via a carefully scripted and produced video. No live speech in which Biden's inevitable fumbles would be on full display. In contrast, DeSantis will reportedly be doing a live chat with Musk: no training wheels necessary!

Finkelstein also complained that Sykes said that DeSantis was "bowing the knee to a tech oligarch, somebody who has been very publicly decompensating, an erratic narcissistic megalomaniac like Elon Musk."

Curtis Houck tried to pre-frame criticism of DeSantis' launch plans in a post headlined "They're Terrified," with a particular obsession about the Trump-related books the correspondents had written:

On Wednesday morning ahead of Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 presidential announcement with Twitter owner Elon Musk, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC lambasted DeSantis from the left and touted former President Trump’s attacks, all in an attempt to bury DeSantis before he officially enters the race.

CBS chief campaign and elections correspondent Robert Costa — whose stock rose culminated in a book with Bob Woodward — painted a picture on CBS Mornings that DeSantis’s campaign is already on death’s door: “Our latest polling shows Governor DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points. The question now is can he close that gap. But doing so will not be easy.”


Over on Disney-owned ABC, Good Morning America had chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl on the case.

Karl — who cashed in on the Trump hysteria with two New York Times bestsellers about Trump (here and here) and recently announced plans for a third — made sure to downplay DeSantis’s unique launch: “But DeSantis’s campaign team says the official statement will come with an audio-only discussion on Twitter with Elon Musk. The first campaign appearance not planned until next week[.]”

Noting DeSantis has already made stops in early-voting states, Karl jabbed the Florida governor as having spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire “trying the person-to-person campaigning he is not known for” and, on a trip overseas, “he awkwardly avoided questions about running for president.”

Likely fearful of losing his money spigot, Karl again attacked: “His challenge now is to try to find a way to beat Trump without alienating Trump supporters. In his first campaign for governor, DeSantis ran as a clone of Donald Trump.”

Karl even closed with the Trump team’s response and how “Trump has already spent millions of dollars on television ads attacking DeSantis” to the point of “having spent more money attacking DeSantis than they spent in the entire 2022 midterm cycle supporting Republican congressional candidates.”

Nicholas Fondacaro had his daily meltdown over "The View" in another pre-announcement post, unable tounderstand that Whoopi Goldberg was joking when she suggested that an image of DeSantis in a teaser video shot almost entirely from behind was a body double, then ranted at her further:

She even had a Luddite moment and shared her irritation that DeSantis was going to announce his campaign via Twitter. “And look, you know what, this idea of announcing on Twitter, I’m – I'm old and I'm okay being old, do that on television. Okay?” she shouted. “I want to see you do it on television. I want to see you actually take real Americans' questions. That's what I want.”

Goldberg’s comments spiraled into the unhinged as she stoked the audience’s hatred of DeSantis, suggesting he “dislike[d] people of color.” She even seemed to threaten him, saying “gay folks” would rise up and come for him:

Then in his podcast recorded before the actual Twitter debacle, this was all rehashed, with the help of Fondacaro.

The MRC also published a May 24 column by Ben Shapiro headlined "Will Elon Musk Break the Legacy Media Stranglehold?" in which he crowed that DeSantis’ decision to launch his campaign on  Twitter "represents yet another blow to the power of the legacy media." He concluded by gushing further: "Conservatives no longer need the approval of reporters at The New York Times. They no longer need to suffer the indignities of skewed grilling at the hands of partisan hacks who work for the alphabet networks. Times have changed. And DeSantis’ Twitter launch is just the latest evidence." What that actually means, of course, is that Shapiro and other Republicans don't want their candidiates to face any scrutiny outside the right-wing bubble, even though they must eventually face voters who don't live there.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 PM EDT

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