Fox News Was the Only Outlet Allowed at Florida's Voter Suppression Bill Signing

Florida Governor Rick DeSantis decided to ban all reporters from witnessing the signing in order to give Fox News an exclusive on the event.
May 6, 2021, 1:12pm
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis signs a voter suppression bill on May 6, 2021 and bars media, except for Fox News.
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis signs a voter suppression bill on May 6, 2021 and bars media, except for Fox News. (Source: Fox News)

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial voting suppression bill into law on Thursday morning—but we’ll have to take Fox News’ word for it.

That’s because DeSantis’ office decided to ban all reporters from witnessing the key moment in order to give Fox News an exclusive on the event.

Multiple reporters who’d gathered to cover the bill signing reported that they’d been barred from entry into the event Thursday morning, and had been told by a DeSantis spokeswoman that Fox News would be the only camera allowed into the building.

The event aired live on “Fox & Friends,” giving DeSantis the obsequious right-wing coverage he wanted while minimizing the risk that he’d be asked any tough questions.

DeSantis became governor largely because of his coziness with Fox News and boosterism of President Trump—he won his GOP primary in 2018 over the race’s early favorite because of high name recognition among Republicans for his regular Fox appearances.

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And now that he’s gearing up for a possible 2024 presidential run, he’s following the same playbook.

DeSantis’ office didn’t respond to questions about why they’d given Fox an exclusive on the event.

The bill itself has enraged Democrats, who see it as a naked voter-suppression effort, and even has some Republicans worried that it could suppress their own voters. 

The bill creates new barriers to voting by mail, makes it harder for third-party groups to organize voter-registration drives, and creates new requirements for mail-ballot drop boxes.

And they come in spite of the fact that DeSantis and other Republicans bragged for months about how safe, secure, and effective Florida’s voting system was and how well things had gone in 2020.

DeSantis said in February that the changes were necessary to "stay ahead of the curve,” even as he said Florida’s 2020 elections were “the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country.”