2024 GOP primaryconservative mediaFeaturedRon DeSantis

DeSantis Turns on Conservative Media After Loss in Iowa – HotAir

A comment about conservative media made by Ron DeSantis last week is bubbling up. Is conservative media all-in for Donald Trump?

DeSantis named Fox News as he made the observation (he said it isn’t a criticism) about primary coverage of the Republican primary. Was it an observation or a criticism?

Late last week, DeSantis told reporters, “He’s got basically a Praetorian Guard of the conservative media — Fox News, the websites, all this stuff. They just don’t hold him accountable because they’re worried about losing viewers and they don’t want to have their ratings go down, and that’s just the reality. That’s just the truth.”

He’s right and his honesty will raise eyebrows. It’s been a wild ride for DeSantis in the GOP primary race. It should be noted that DeSantis did not make this kind of observation when he delivered his remarks to his supporters in Iowa Monday night. Trump came in with a very strong win in the Iowa caucuses. DeSantis finished in second place, about 30 points behind Trump. Third place went to Nikki Haley who finished about two points behind DeSantis. Trump’s big lead in Iowa meant that the real race was between DeSantis and Haley in Iowa. Both received a ticket out of Iowa and are back on the campaign trail today.

DeSantis entered the GOP primary after months of speculation and was an immediate favorite among primary voters looking for an alternative to Trump. He was described as Trump-lite without Trump baggage. His record as governor is stellar. He is credited with turning purple swing state Florida into a very red state. His campaign, though, has not met expectations.

When DeSantis announced his candidacy for president, he did so on Twitter with Elon Musk and David Sacks. Sacks moderated a conversation between DeSantis and Musk. The live event streamed on Twitter and it did not go smoothly. There were technical issues that disrupted the flow of the event. Then, immediately after that event, he went on Fox and did interviews confirming his campaign launch. It was an odd way to launch the campaign. He tried to switch things up from a traditional rally and announcement but it fell flat.

Nonetheless, he was a frequent guest on all the Fox shows. DeSantis concentrated on conservative media, freezing out legacy media and liberal/progressive cable television networks. FNC was happy to be the conduit between Republican primary voters and the candidate. DeSantis garnered strong poll numbers against Trump, a strong number two position in polls. His campaign continued to have internal problems, though, and DeSantis fell in the polls and stalled. Millions and millions of dollars were spent in Iowa, the state he chose to concentrate on, and yet the needle never moved. By the time the caucuses came around on Monday, he was in third place in polls, slightly behind Nikki Haley.

Along the way, as the primary season approached, it was clear that Trump was the strong favorite with Iowa primary voters. A shift happened at Fox, for instance, and favorable coverage shifted from DeSantis to Trump. It’s undeniable that the major primetime opinion show hosts are Trump supporters. The morning show hosts, too. It’s all-day long. Some show hosts during daytime news coverage keep it neutral. FNC hired Kellyanne Conway, a longtime GOP pollster and Trump’s campaign manager in the 2016 presidential race against Hillary Clinton. I respect that she is the first female campaign manager in a presidential race to win. However, who believes she is a truly neutral commentator during the GOP primary?

Anyway, the candidate that Fox favors is Trump. It feels a lot like 2015 when the network gave him tons of free air time, as did other cable networks. He is no longer a political novice, he’s running as an incumbent. He is being treated that way in press coverage, though technically he is not.

DeSantis continues to do interviews on Fox. He never stopped that. But, in recent weeks leading up to the caucuses in Iowa, he began branching out into less-friendly media. He’s been interviewed by legacy media and all the alphabet networks. He has participated in town halls on CNN and a debate one-on-one with Nikki Haley. He prides himself on saying yes to all debates. Trump has not participated in any debate.

There is a debate scheduled just before the New Hampshire primary. Nikki Haley is in the number two position behind Trump in polls in New Hampshire. She is seven points behind Trump and her campaign says she can overtake Trump. We’ll see. Ron DeSantis is a distant fifth in New Hampshire but Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy have suspended their campaigns, leaving DeSantis in third place. I look for most of Christie’s supporters to go to Haley and Vivek’s supporters to go to Trump. Will DeSantis get any support from the shift? That remains to be seen.

DeSantis left Iowa and is in South Carolina today. Then he goes to New Hampshire tonight. Haley went straight to New Hampshire. Donald Trump went back to New York. He’s in court today in Manhattan. Trump plans to do an event with Ramaswamy later today. Ramaswamy suspended his campaign after the Iowa results showed him in fourth place. He endorsed Trump, which is not a surprise.

There is no indication that the primary campaign coverage will change at this point. Nikki Haley has backed out of debating in New Hampshire against DeSantis. She said she will only debate when Trump does. She said it is a two-person race after Iowa. She finished third. We’ll see how conservative media coverage is for Haley now. Trump leads in all polls with Republican primary voters. Will his legal challenges provide a path for DeSantis or Haley to rise? That remains to be seen.

No matter what happens, though. Liberal and progressive media is determined to censor Trump coverage. They have decided to not run his speeches live. MSNBC and CNN are all-in for Biden and that won’t change.

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