It has been an extraordinary week for journalism in relation to the coverage of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. We have seen the media react to this man’s announcement of his presidential run multiple times. They seem completely ignorant of their absurdity.
First, there was the shocking reporting that a Donald Trump super PAC filed ethics charges against DeSantis. The charges were for allegedly violating Florida law concerning candidates who must resign from their offices to run a campaign. These reports show that journalists wrote detailed articles with quotes and specifics from the campaign of the man they said needed to be silenced to protect our democracy. They now act as his PR department.
This is not all that happened. All manner of unbalanced reactions has resulted from the misguided DeSantis position regarding Ukraine. Stuart Stevens, who claims that DeSantis is in love with Russia, was one of the most amusing. Stevens rants that DeSantis loves Vladamir Putin’s Russia because there aren’t any gay people. No women are in power (umm Ron has a woman as his lieutenant governor), and every Christian is there. Uh…sure, Stu. Russia is a warm, inviting Utopia for Christianity. You did it!
This NBC report, which stated that the current Florida governor was not very approachable as a Congressman but is supported by many members of Congress, added to the DeSantis despair. The story goes that he made friends after five years. We guess …? Then, of course, came the completely disqualifying “scandal”, known as The Pudding Incident. Even this isn’t all the chaos.
A South Florida hotel’s liquor license was revoked after it hosted a drag show featuring children. Another story that enraged the media. Although it was reported that DeSantis showed up at the hotel’s front desk to revoke their alcohol permit, as Nancy Pelosi did at the Trump State of the Union, the facts are quite different.
Jonathan V. Last, a journalist at The Bulwark, took aim at DeSantis’ perceived overstepping of authority and weighed in to make it clear. Last begins his scathing commentary by declaring, “In Florida, you are completely free to do what Ron DeSantis permits you to do.” It is no surprise that he does not get many things right. It isn’t clear what the level of intent was.
How free is the “Free State of Florida”? These details are instructive. The “A Drag Queen Christmas” show was not produced by the Hyatt Regency Miami. It is a touring show. The Hyatt Regency in Miami was simply the venue that hosted the event and provided food and drink service.
This was not an official government response to a newly discovered event. Tallahassee did receive retribution. This show was held at the Miami Hyatt Regency in December. The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation contacted the hotel to inform them about the event. Due to the nature of this event, it could not be allowed to allow minors. JV Last felt that these steps were sufficient.
The original phrase used by the production company that runs “A Drag Queen Christmas” was “All Ages Welcome” The Hyatt received this response and asked that the producers of “A Drag Queen Christmas” amend the ticketing page.
Last fails to realize that the initial complaint letter from the agency outlined the hotel’s requirements. The venue was also responsible to monitor admissions. In a letter, the DBPR stated:
To avoid action being taken against your license, it is your obligation to ensure that minors are prohibited from attending the Drag Fans drag show. If minors are allowed to attend this drag show the Department will take any and all actions available to ensure that you do not pose a threat to minors in the future.
This was a clear instruction that was given prior to the event. The hotel was made aware of the requirements prior to the show. As stated in the complaint the venue was not complying with the law as minors were present and recorded as such. As a result, the license was pulled. This is no different from if minors were found in an adult strip club. They were notified but they did not comply and the license is now in limbo.
Last and The Bulwark are trying to convince people that the action against the Miami Hyatt Regency is a sign of oppression. According to The Daily Beast, the move is the latest in DeSantis’s anti-LGBTQ campaign …” NBC News commented, “The efforts of the DeSantis Administration come as other Republican legislators across the country aim at restricting the centuries-old art form.” This and many other complaints from journalists share a common theme of downplaying any mention of child endangerment.
There are two obvious reasons why this is done. The first is to make the governor look bad. They will not admit that they are justifying their decision. They are denying tacit support for the sexualization of children in order to continue to make complaints to the politician who scares them the most.