Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis barred all local media outlets besides Fox News for the signing of a voting bill Thursday.
DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske told reporters that the bill signing was a “Fox exclusive,” according to the Sun Sentinal’s editorial writer Steve Bousquet. DeSantis signed the bill live on Fox News’ show “Fox & Friends.”
NEW: News media is barred from entry at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of controversial elections bill, SB 90. DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske says bill signing is a “Fox exclusive” pic.twitter.com/NAos6kmtQS
— Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) May 6, 2021
The bill aims to tighten regulations on things like ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting. DeSantis called it “the strongest election integrity” measure “in the county” while speaking to Fox News. DeSantis was surrounded by a group of individuals and cheers could be heard throughout his interview with the network.
“We’re making sure we’re enforcing voter ID. Look, you have to show a picture idea to do all these other things in society, clearly voting. We’re also banning ballot harvesting,” DeSantis said as he explained the bill.
Axios also noted that DeSantis gave the bill signing to Fox News as an “exclusive.” Fox News said in a statement that the network had solely booked DeSantis for an interview “and not as a live bill signing.”
“FOX & Friends booked Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) May 6th appearance as an interview and not as a live bill signing. Neither the network, nor the show, requested or mandated the event be exclusive to FOX News Media entities,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
The event’s exclusivity prompted pushback from some, with Emily Bloch, president of Florida’s Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), condemning the move on Twitter.
“Signing a law into office isn’t supposed to be an ‘exclusive,’ since the law itself isn’t exclusive. Actions like this openly defy against a free press. We condemn DeSantis’ office barring journalists from doing their job for the sake of good TV,” Bloch said in a statement for Florida’s SPJ.
Some have slammed the bill and likened it to voter suppression. Moments after DeSantis signed, a federal court lawsuit was filed alleging it “does not impede all of Florida’s voters equally,” Fox News reported. (RELATED: There’s A Formula For Media Coverage Of Georgia’s Election Bill, And We Broke It Down)
DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.