Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shot again at The Associated Press on Monday after the outlet’s incoming CEO accused his press secretary of harassing considered one of its reporters, saying the AP obtained deserved pushback for a partisan “smear” that might price lives.
In a letter to Daisy Veerasingham, DeSantis blasted the AP for its “temerity” to complain about criticism a reporter obtained final week over his story that recommended a hyperlink between the governor’s touting of a COVID antibody drug from Regeneron and a political donor’s funding in the corporate.
DESANTIS PRESS SECRETARY FIRES BACK AFTER ASSOCIATED PRESS ACCUSES HER OF ‘HARASSING’ REPORTER
Last week, Veerasingham wrote his workplace to accuse DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw of “harassing behavior” and activating an “online mob” in opposition to AP reporter Brendan Farrington over the broadly panned story headlined, “DeSantis prime donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes.”
DeSantis did not maintain again in a outstanding open letter from a politician to a information group.
“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the partisan smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis wrote. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received. The ploy will not work to divert attention from the fact that the Associated Press published a false narrative that will lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”
The controversial AP story appeared to suggest DeSantis was selling Regeneron’s COVID antibody remedy as a result of a Chicago-based hedge fund that donated to a pro-DeSantis political committee additionally owns shares of the corporate.
However, the AP additionally acknowledged the drug is very efficient and has been touted by the Biden administration as properly. The story additionally famous the DeSantis donor’s hedge fund, Citadel, had a smaller share in Regeneron than BlackRock, which has donated extra to Democrats, and that Citadel’s funding in Regeneron “is a tiny fraction of its overall $39 billion in investments.”
AP STORY ON DESANTIS PROMOTION OF EFFECTIVE COVID DRUG CRITICIZED AS ATTEMPTED HIT JOB
The AP additionally acknowledged it is “not unusual for hedge funds to have a wide range of investments” however printed the story with the damaging framework anyway.
DeSantis wrote the AP produced “zero evidence” that Florida’s efforts had been being undertaken for any purpose apart from to assist residents affected by the illness.
“While the public’s trust in corporate outlets like the AP is at historic lows, there is no doubt that some will decline to seek life-saving treatment as a result of the AP’s inflammatory headline,” he wrote.
The AP story was panned by Pushaw, conservatives, and even some liberals who disagreed with its framing. Many critics labeled one other botched hit piece and one Florida newspaper editor even tweeted that he was a powerful critic of DeSantis – a doable 2024 GOP White House contender – however known as the story weak.
The AP stood by its story regardless of widespread criticism and accused Pushaw of inciting a web-based mob. The letter recapped her tweets ripping the story that used phrases like “Drag Them” and “put you on blast,” with the AP characterizing them as a direct menace to Farrington.
ATTEMPTED MEDIA ‘HIT JOBS’ FRUSTRATE DESANTIS OFFICE, BUT SUPPORTERS CALL IT BADGE OF HONOR
“While we can disagree about stories, it is unacceptable and dangerous for a public official to encourage the systemic bullying of journalists,” Veerasingham wrote.
DeSantis stated the AP ought to have anticipated “vigorous pushback” to the story, and he stood by his staffers who pushed again publicly in opposition to the piece.
“You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism,” he wrote, including its credibility had been diminished. “The corporate media’s ‘clicks-first, facts-later’ approach to journalism is harming our country. You succeeded in publishing a misleading, clickbait headline about one of your political opponents, but at the expense of deterring individuals infected with COVID from seeking life-saving treatment, which will cost lives. Was it worth it?”
Pushaw additionally stated final week that DeSantis’ workplace did not condone threats in opposition to the AP reporter. She deleted the tweet that stated “Drag Them” after Farrington advised her he had begun receiving threats.
“No one from our office ever threatened him,” Pushaw advised Fox News. “His story drew harsh criticism because it was false.”
On Friday night, Pushaw’s Twitter account was hit with a 12-hour suspension for allegedly violating its insurance policies. Pushaw advised Fox News Twitter by no means identified the precise tweets that acquired her in hassle.
“You will ban the press secretary of a democratically elected official while allowing the Taliban to live-tweet their conquest of Afghanistan?” Pushaw reacted in a press release to Fox News. “This proves Governor DeSantis right – again. Those who challenge false narratives are often too silenced by corporate media and Big Tech collusion.”
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed Pushaw’s suspension. When requested by Fox News which tweets violated Twitter coverage, the spokesperson replied, “We’ve nothing to share beyond the statement, thank you.”
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Pushaw’s account was again up as of Monday morning.
The AP continued to push again in opposition to DeSantis following the governor’s response.
“The Associated Press does not have political opponents. We do accountability reporting about those in power, regardless of political affiliation,” an Associated Press spokesperson advised Fox News.
“The issue here is not pushback. It’s harassment. A public servant whose job it is to work with the press encouraged a harassment campaign against our journalist, and that is unacceptable,” the spokesperson continued.