Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida issued a scathing letter to The Associated Press on Monday in response to a story they did Aug. 18 that was criticized by his supporters as a hit piece.
The report was headlined, “DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes” and attempted to imply that DeSantis’ recent promotion of a COVID-19 drug from Regeneron was due to the fact that the CEO of a hedge fund that owns shares in the company was a major donor to a political committee that supports the governor.
A series of tweets from the governor’s press secretary Christina Pushaw criticizing the story led the AP to send a letter to DeSantis’ office accusing her of a “direct effort to activate an online mob to attack” their reporter, as well as calling on him to “eliminate this attack strategy from your press office.”
“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis began in his Monday letter responding to the AP. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received. This 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.”
Oh man — DeSantis fires back hard at the Associated Press over this ridiculous story (https://t.co/VC7Ramxpnu) & AP’s subsequent formal complaint about “harassment” after DeSantis’ team pushed back aggressively (https://t.co/yFjsAsqiOF): pic.twitter.com/xSgsmMdjqy
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 23, 2021
“That the AP has received vigorous pushback is something that should be expected given the brazenness of your political attack and the fact that your false narrative will cost lives,” DeSantis went on to say. “You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism.” (RELATED: ‘Irresponsible Mockery Of Journalism’: DeSantis Team Fires Back At AP ‘Hit Piece’ On Governor’s Promotion Of COVID-19 Drug)
“I stand by the work of my staff who went out of their way to provide the AP with the factual information necessary to dispel the AP’s preferred narrative. That their response was effective in exposing the AP’s partisan agenda represented a valuable public service, as it reassured many that the Regeneron monoclonal treatment is effective.”
“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?,” DeSantis concluded.