DANIEL VAUGHAN: The national media’s latest hit job on DeSantis and Florida

I’ve written at length about the problem of toxic pessimism with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem is that there’s just a wealth of good news at the moment, so if you’re pessimistic about how things are going right now, it looks out of place and weird. Vaccines are working, case numbers are falling, and we’re feeling the warmth of that light at the end of the tunnel.

That means the national news media is having to pivot and find fresh negative stories to drop. None of this is new, I know. The very first column I wrote on COVID-19 — on March 2, 2020, before the national lockdowns went into place — blasted the national media’s coverage of the then-emerging pandemic.

That early observation ended up being backed up by a study in November of 2020, which showed that 90% of COVID-19 coverage in the media was negative in the United States. And that negative coverage occurred no matter what was happening to the numbers, good or bad. It didn’t matter what the truth was. The national media declared the sky was falling.

Well, it’s hard to continue that charade with all the good news surrounding vaccines and the utter collapse in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we’ve seen since the first of the year.

Operation Warp Speed’s vaccination rollout, which the media and the Biden campaign called an utter failure, is directly responsible for these falling numbers, which are getting us into herd immunity territory far earlier than any chicken-little journalist declared.

That means the media needs a new target, or rather, an old target buffed up for 2021. And that target is Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What’s DeSantis’s latest sin? He’s vaccinating the most vulnerable population to COVID-19 of all: seniors.

The DeSantis vaccination rollout is all a dark Republican plot, you see. The conspiracy theorists at NBC News have wrapped the tin foil hats on their heads so tight, it’s cut off all circulation. The following are actual quotes from an NBC News report, not an op-ed:

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, ignored federal guidelines and prioritized getting senior citizens — one of Florida’s most potent voting blocs — vaccinated first.

When Holocaust survivors and Cuban survivors of the Bay of Pigs debacle — revered members of two other key Florida voting blocs — got their first shots, DeSantis made sure he was there for the news conferences.

That dastardly DeSantis is ignoring the federal government and vaccinating seniors. And, in case you missed it, he’s made sure to vaccinate Holocaust survivors and survivors of the Kennedy-era Bay of Pigs fiasco.

DeSantis has evil motives, you see. NBC News is convinced DeSantis is only doing this to save Republican voters. They opine:

DeSantis boasted about vaccinating the 2 millionth senior citizen in Florida, a 94-year-old Korean war veteran named Vern Cummings whose vaccination was broadcast live on FOX News.

The only person NBC News cites as having any kind of objection is former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In other words, it’s a complete hit piece from a Democrat with no other sourcing. It’s pure spin in journalistic reporting. Instead of reporting on COVID-19 vaccination efforts, they’re trying to scare people away from vaccinations as some dastardly DeSantis plot.

But if DeSantis is evil for trying to “save Republican voters,” then what do we make of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo? Is Cuomo’s decision to send patients sick with COVID-19 back into nursing homes a plot to kill Republican seniors? That seems to be the logic of NBC News. 

Of course, NBC won’t report on Cuomo like that. He’s their savior.

The other unstated issue here that NBC implies is that these seniors don’t deserve vaccines at all, purely based on the implication they’re more likely to be Republican voters. Both DeSantis and these seniors are evil under the analysis of this journalism.

The reality, of course, is that none of this political gamesmanship by a news outlet is true. They’re spinning a narrative against a Republican governor. They picked the headline they wanted and cherry-picked not just facts but also a reality to spin up what they wanted.

We’ve gone from toxic pessimism to the political weaponization of vaccines as a means of bashing people who receive them. These are not serious people who are doing their jobs to help America get to the end of a pandemic. They don’t seem to care about truth or accuracy at all, only propping or destroying friends and enemies of the Democratic Party.

Florida is vaccinating seniors because they have the second-highest number of seniors in the country, behind California. DeSantis’ actions will keep a vulnerable population safe, as he’s advertising vaccines directly to that target demographic. That’s what is happening here.

NBC News would have you believe these people are unfairly getting the vaccine. So who wants people to die here? Florida has vaccinated over four million people in their state, giving it the country’s second-fastest vaccination rate. That’s what the DeSantis vaccination rollout has done.

The only people politicizing the vaccine rollout are national journalists. At the rate they attack DeSantis, however, they’re going to make him a clear 2024 frontrunner. The more they hate him, the more powerful he’ll become politically, especially as people see the clear results for themselves.