Legend has it that at the outbreak of the Cuban Revolution of 1895, New York World publisher William Randolph Hearst sent illustrator Frederick Remington there to cover the action. When Remington reported that there was no action to cover, Hearst famously replied, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
That was a pivotal moment in the history of yellow journalism in America, a phenomenon that, quite sadly, has enjoyed a renaissance over the past couple of decades.
Recently, the powers that be have been at it again, angling for a win-win: a ratings bonanza along with a political result that they ideologically support and have convinced themselves is for the good of the country. The latter rationale allows them to look at themselves in the mirror without recoiling at their own reflection.
They remain delusional about having betrayed the canons of journalism, much like a criminal defense lawyer who portrays his well-paying client’s smoking gun as spontaneously combustible.
I am referring to a concerted effort by the feckless media to break up the 2024 “Dream Team” presidential ticket of headliner Donald Trump and running mate Ron DeSantis.
Some will argue that combination lacks balance, like a dessert plate consisting of chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup. But chocolate lovers will eat it up in droves.
Also, there’s the pesky little detail of Trump and DeSantis living in the same state, Florida, which precludes them from running on the same ticket, as per the Constitution.
That part’s easy to solve. Since DeSantis is Florida’s sitting governor, surely he can’t relocate to another state. But Trump can. He’s done it before, moving from New York to Florida a couple of years ago. Why not again? Especially if he moves to a purple state like Nevada or Pennsylvania and cheerleads to turn it red.
The media has figured all of this out and is fabricating a Trump-DeSantis feud. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and these so-called journalists have no remorse about committing media malpractice.
Trump replied, “Well, I’ve taken it. I’ve had the booster. Many politicians — I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed, and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ — because they had the vaccine — and they’re answering, like, in other words, the answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it because they’re gutless. You gotta say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.”
Politico’s shameless clickbait headline was “Trump Jabs DeSantis and ‘Gutless’ Politicians.” Mind you, DeSantis’ name wasn’t even mentioned once during the interview, either by Ball or Trump. Granted, Politico backtracked by claiming that Trump merely “appeared to snap at Gov. DeSantis,” but by then it was too late. By clicking on the article, the mouse was trapped going for the cheese.
Worse yet, those unwilling to actually read the article were left with the impression that Trump really did mention DeSantis by name. It’s the kind of clickbait that I debunked in my book “Trumped-Up Charges!” — but I digress.
But Politico was far from alone. The Daily Beast churned out its own version — “Trump Roasts ‘Gutless’ DeSantis for Keeping His Booster Status a Secret” — and in the piece adjusted it to politicians “such as” DeSantis. Yahoo’s debacle of a headline read “Trump slams ‘dull’ DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup.”
The article, originated by Axios, began: “Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a ‘dull personality’ and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who’ve recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.”
Not surprisingly, the “sources” were unnamed. There was a time when no self-respecting publication would print an article without at least two named and verified sources. Not anymore.
Axios mentioned Trump’s “gutless” comment while acknowledging that he hadn’t mentioned DeSantis by name. That’s like a trial attorney making sure to fill a jury’s ears with a blockbuster remark even though the judge directs the jury to disregard it.
DeSantis, in turn, has been reported by CNN and others as saying it was a mistake to not speak more loudly against Trump’s lockdowns in 2020 — except he didn’t say that. He did blame someone, though: Dr. Anthony Fauci. As for Trump, DeSantis mentioned him by name when advising the public not to take the media’s bait that the two of them are feuding.
Trump, for his part, told the New York Post that he has a “very good relationship” with DeSantis. Thankfully, he hasn’t taken the bait.
Many media outlets will not relent. A Trump-DeSantis feud would provide ratings galore while splintering Republicans’ dominant “America First” contingent, which is a dream to leftists and establishmentarians alike.
Hopefully, both Trump and DeSantis will remain too smart to fall for it.
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