The Media’s War On Gov. DeSantis Just Became A Lot Harder To Justify

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the media has endlessly tried to portray Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) as the most villainous governor in the country. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has received multiple awards for his handling of the coronavirus in his state, even though by every measure, New York is doing far worse than Florida.

This week, however, two things happened that should make the media pause their attacks against Florida and DeSantis. They won’t pause, but they should.

First, the Biden administration, while trying to take a shot at DeSantis, inadvertently revealed a huge problem in current vaccine reporting. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question that set her up to go on the offensive against DeSantis regarding his criticism of Biden’s suggestion that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard assist in vaccine distribution. Psaki, claiming that the Biden administration is “data-first” and “facts-first,” proceeded to misrepresent Florida’s vaccine distribution.

“[T]hey’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given in Florida, so clearly they have a good deal of the vaccine,” the supposedly facts-first Psaki said. “That supply will need to continue to increase as they are able to effectively reach people across the state, but part of the challenge, as we were just talking about, is not just having the supply, that’s pivotal, but also having vaccinators and having vaccine distribution places and doing it in a way that’s reaching people where they are and meeting local communities.”

DeSantis responded by explaining that the percentage Psaki was referring to included the second doses the state has not administered to ensure those who have already received the first dose go on to receive their second.

“If the implication is that we should be giving those second doses away to other people, that is not the way the FDA has prescribed the series. We are also number one in the nation by far in vaccinations of seniors, as Florida has vaccinated more than 1 million seniors 65 and older to date,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis’ information brought into question reporting on other states and the percentages of the vaccine they have administered. The Bloomberg vaccine tracker, which includes the percent of supply used, isn’t explaining why states seem to have unused vaccines available. As DeSantis explained, this would be true of many other states, including New York and California, and should be a cautionary tale for anyone on either side of the aisle looking to score political points based on vaccine administration. It is possible that every state is reserving doses for the second required shot, which should be considered before reporting that a state isn’t distributing the vaccines properly.

The second problem for those who have gone after DeSantis while giving Cuomo a pass is a report from New York Attorney General Letitia James, a fellow Democrat, who found the state Department of Health underreported COVID-19-related nursing home deaths. The report confirmed what those not a part of Cuomo’s praetorian guard already knew: New York appears to have been an absolute disaster when it came to protecting the most vulnerable. The New York AG found that the state likely undercounted nursing home deaths by about 50%, meaning the number of deaths in the state was closer to 10,000 and represented nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the state from COVID-19. It’s hard to suggest Cuomo’s March 25 directive that nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients regardless of their ability to properly isolate and care for those patients. Most of the nursing home deaths occurred in low-rated facilities that didn’t have the capacity to handle those patients. Cuomo’s mandate gave little to no time for the facilities to adequately prepare for those patients, and the results were deadly.

One would think this week would stop the media from treating Cuomo like the hero of the pandemic while DeSantis is treated on par with former President Donald Trump, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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