DeSantis Rips Media 'Smear' Campaign, Calls It 'Baseless Conspiracy Theory'


Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized an Associated Press story that suggested there is malicious intent behind the governor’s promotion of an increasingly popular coronavirus treatment.

The Associated Press published a story on Aug. 18 regarding Ken Griffin, the CEO of hedge fund Citadel LLC and a DeSantis donor, explaining that his firm is a $16 million stakeholder in Regeneron Pharmaceutical, Inc., the company responsible for producing the monoclonal antibody treatment that the governor has been encouraging Florida residents to look into. The AP noted, “Citadel’s investment in Regeneron is a tiny fraction of its overall $39 billion in investments.”

The piece was titled “DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes.”

DeSantis, in response, called the story a “smear” that failed to show a conflict of interest with Regeneron.

“[Y]ou had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received,” DeSantis wrote in a letter to AP CEO Daisy Veerasingam. “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.”

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“The purpose of the headline and the framing of the story was to smear me by insinuating that Florida’s push to expand awareness of and access to monoclonal antibody treatments was done to boost Regeneron’s profit, rather than to simply help Floridians in need,” DeSantis wrote.

“Indeed, as the federal government long ago bought the entire stock of Regeneron’s COVID monoclonal treatment, it is not even a plausible concept.”

Monoclonal antibody treatments can reportedly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus, and are specifically intended for people who are at a higher risk of developing a serious case of coronavirus.

“This story is a baseless conspiracy theory. While the public’s trust in corporate outlets like the AP is at historic lows, there is no doubt that some will decline to seek life-saving treatment as a result of the AP’s inflammatory headline,” he continued.

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DeSantis brought attention to the pushback the AP and Veerasingam received following the article’s publication and noted, “You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism.”

The outlet made an irresponsible decision by creating distrust in the monoclonal treatment, but expect DeSantis to become a more frequent target of the establishment media.

He has become a recognized leader of the Republican Party in the wake of former President Donald Trump, naturally making him public enemy number one.

After Trump left the White House, these outlets needed to refocus their half-baked investigative reporting to paint conservatives as greedy and evil.

Florida will be painted as a hellish pandemic wasteland, and it’s because they see DeSantis as a threat to the liberal agenda.

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While other politicians are fair game, the establishment media has repeatedly attempted to smear the governor in particular because he has imposed minimal coronavirus restrictions on the Sunshine State.

For example, the governor has encouraged people to get the COVID-19 vaccine at public events, but has gotten negative coverage for his opposition to vaccine mandates.

“So here’s, I think, the most important thing with the data: if you are vaccinated — fully vaccinated — the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero,” DeSantis said last month, WFLA-TV reported.

“If you look at the people who are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all. These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.”

The governor has proven that he leads with conservative principles that support the science behind the pandemic, but the left only cares about lockdowns and mandates. Despite this clear partisan opposition, DeSantis has repeatedly shown establishment media gimmicks will not be enough to keep him down.

“The days of corporate media being able to smear people with impunity and conservatives do nothing, those days are over,” DeSantis said, according to the New York Post.

“I can tell you in Florida, we’re fighting back with the truth and we are gonna hold you accountable when you’re peddling false, partisan narratives.”

After the publication of this article, DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw issued the following statement to The Western Journal:

“My Twitter account was temporarily suspended, without explanation, immediately after the AP wrote an open letter to Governor DeSantis to complain about my pushback on the AP’s misleading hit piece. Twitter later stated to Fox News that I was suspended for “abusive” content, but they did NOT provide any examples of my Tweets that were deemed “abusive” (because, frankly, none of them were).

“It’s appalling for a social media platform to silence the press secretary of a democratically elected official while allowing the Taliban to live-tweet their conquest of Afghanistan. This proves Governor DeSantis right — again.

“Those who challenge false narratives are too often censored by corporate media and Big Tech collusion. No wonder public trust in the media is at an all-time low.”

UPDATE, Aug. 25, 2021: This article has been updated to include a statement from DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw.

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Cameron Arcand is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2017 as a school project, he founded, which has grown exponentially since its founding. He has interviewed several notable conservative figures, including Dave Rubin, Peggy Grande and Madison Cawthorn.

In September 2020, Cameron joined The Western Journal as a Commentary Writer, where he has written articles on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Recall Gavin Newsom" effort and the 2020 election aftermath. The "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News and Fox 5 DC. He has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
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