MSNBC’s The ReidOut host Joy Reid did her best on Wednesday to help the further the hopeless, year-long disinformation campaign by the liberal media to take down Governor Ron DeSantis (R) with claims that the Sunshine State has been one of the country’s dangerously fatal coronavirus hotbeds, that the state’s response would scare away people from visiting the state, and trumpeting Florida commissioner for agriculture and consumer services Nikki Fried (D).
In a description more apt for Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Gretchen Whitmer (MI) and liberal journalists, Reid snarked that DeSantis saw himself as an “emboldened king of COVID” because he’s “proud as a peach of his handling of the coronavirus” thanks to having “ginn[ed] up plaudits from Fox News and Politico.”
Reid then took issue with DeSantis’s opposition to private businesses wanting to require vaccine passports for entrance and argued that DeSantis wants to see cruise ships “pack hundreds of potentially infectious people in confined spaces” at a time when “COVID-19 is surging in Florida.”
Before bringing in Fried, Reid spun the widely-debunked lie about the state fudging coronavirus deaths (which The Blaze’s Leon Wolf masterfully dismantled here) (click “expand”):
Just look at this Mayo Clinic map, which shows the state’s hot spots. According to The New York Times, Miami-Dade County, home to spring destination Miami Beach, is currently a very high risk zone because of a severe outbreak. In just the last week, the number of variant cases has doubled. The overall number of cases is averaging 5,000 per day. Since the start of the pandemic, 34,000 Floridians have died.
Joining me now is Nicki Fried, Florida commissioner for agriculture and consumer services. And, Commissioner Friend, what a strange governor you have that — you know, I'm no longer a Florida resident, so I can say that you have. He wants to sign an executive order. Does he have the power to stop private businesses from requiring people have a COVID test to, like, get on a cruise cause that seems beyond the power of a governor. Is that in his power?
For someone who’s likely to run against DeSantis in 2022, Fried’s answer attacked not only the governor but Floridians, saying she “want[ed] to apologize to the rest of the country of what happens here in the state of Florida” and that he had put his ego and openness over safety (and lockdowns).
Reid concurred, claiming that “COVID and the variants are still raging....particularly in Florida, more deaths, more people getting sick” with DeSantis wanting to see ships “sail with sick people and infectious people on them.”
Fried replied that “the governor has not rational from day one” with his “egotistical” and “very dogmatic approach to the pandemic, open up the state of Florida” and choosing not to lock down the state while apparently passing along zero condolences to the Floridians that have died of COVID.
Just like the liberal media-fueled lie that the Super Bowl was going to be a superspreader event (when it wasn’t), this claim wasn’t true either.
Our friend Drew Holden fact-checked these claims, noting in a tweet that COVID deaths per 100,000 people in Florida was 155 and much smaller than blue states New Jersey (258), New York (276), and Rhode Island (247).
And when this narrative was being constructed last year, Steve Krakauer routinely called out this claim of Florida being the hottest of hotbeds for the virus.
Things got even more ludicrous when Reid and Fried entertained the idea that the lack of lockdowns and a host of COVID restrictions in Florida would cripple the state’s economy (click “expand”):
REID: Are you worried that, at a certain point businesses and travelers are going to start to see a as sort of an infection hub that doesn't care about, you know, decreases infection and start to stay away and it could end up hurting the economy there?
FRIED: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I have friends all across the country who say, listen, I want to be down to see my friends during the holidays and I can't now because you have a governor that opened up our state. I mean, look what is happening in Miami-Dade County, which is my hometown. You know, I'm someone who, you know, of course, I appreciate people wanting to, you know, be on spring break and haven't seen family and haven’t seen their friends and have been locked up. But if you don't have a governor who is telling people, yes, come to our state. But you got to be safe. You go to make sure that you're social distancing. You got to be wearing your mask. And eventually, people are going to coming to the State of Florida because of this —
FRIED: — even if we're all open. If not taking the precautions, people are not going to come here to the state.
REID: Let me ask you a question. Are you going to run against him for — when he runs for reelection?
FRIED: You know, Joy, as our only statewide elected Democrat, I am asked this question on an every day basis. And every single day, it's becoming clearer and clearer that Ron DeSantis needs to be a one term governor. Not only has he already left the State of Florida, he’s already — his eyes are already on 2024, focusing on the presidential bid and not on what's right for the state of Florida. We are getting very close to making a decision because the State of Florida and the people that live here deserve so much better than what they're getting from Ron DeSantis.
If that was the case, there wouldn’t have been begrudging articles like this one from over the weekend in The New York Times: “I’d Much Rather Be in Florida.” National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke dug through the takeaways and pointed to The Times’s admission that “much of the state has a boomtown fee” with a “sizzling housing market” and an unemployment rate nearly two points lower than Texas and almost four points lower than California.
So if things were as bad as Fried and Reid were claiming, it’s doubtful the state’s economic indicators would be so promising.
Reid closed with the debunked lie about the falsifying of COVID numbers (which has been spearheaded for months by conspiracy theorist and disgraced former state employee Rebekah Jones) and gave Fried a platform to falsely claim DeSantis “has been...fudging numbers from day one” and that “he has lost the faith of the citizens of our state because they know he's not been honest with them from day one.”
In 2002, Jeb Bush won reelection over Democrat Bill McBride by nearly 13 points. With the way Fried and liberal journalists have been spinning the situation in the Sunshine State, they could find themselves on the losing end in November 2022 by an even larger margin.
Writing over at Townhall, our friend Guy Benson had the best summation of this tiresome disinformation campaign (click “expand”):
If we're starting to resemble something of a broken record writing about Florida's COVID response so frequently, it's probably because progressives and journalists – one in the same, in most cases – started attacking the state on this front at the onset of the pandemic and have never ceased, irrespective of the data or real-world outcomes. Correcting misinformation, clarifying the record, debunking myths, and checking facts on these matters sometimes feels like a full-time project.
The takeaway here, as a final nail in the conspiratorial coffin, is that there is literally no evidence that Florida has done anything remotely underhanded – and if they had, genuine whistleblowers would have emerged, the Florida-fixated national press would have been all over it, and the subterfuge would have shown up in the excess deaths data. It hasn't, because it didn't happen.
Reid’s latest entry into the liberal media’s anti-Florida disinformation campaign was made possible thanks to supportive advertisers such as Dove, Fidelity, and Qunol. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from March 31, click here.