Broadcast Journalism Association Calls Governor DeSantis Over Fox News Exclusive
The world’s largest digital journalism association berated Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday after providing exclusive access to Fox News at an official bill signing event in Florida.
The closed-door event angered dozens of national and local media outlets who remained excluded from the May 6 ceremony. In one letter published by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), Executive director Dan Shelley described the decision as “exclusive” and “misguided”.
“As you know better than most, journalists have a First Amendment obligation to serve the public by seeking and reporting the truth,” Shelly wrote. “This obligation includes the possibility for journalists to attend official government activities and to ask questions of public officials. “
Notably, DeSantis justified the exclusive invoice signing ceremony as a campaign event. Shelley, however, claimed the classification is questionable.
“As I also know you are aware, most government activities – such as bill signing ceremonies – are official business of the governor’s office and are generally not referred to as campaign events,” Shelley wrote.
Shelley further suggested that the exclusivity was doing Floridians a disservice. Over 100 media are represented in the letter.
“Obviously, not all Floridians watch Fox News Channel. In fact, the majority of citizens obtain information from local, digital and print media. It is essential that the public be allowed to monitor the official affairs of state government under the auspices of the local media they prefer to watch or read, ”he added.
In the end, Fox News got exclusive access because the Republican governor enacted a bill (SB 90) that would tighten election laws in Florida.
The proposal was among the most controversial bills in the 2021 legislative session.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried blasted DeSantis for excluding the media and described FOX News as a “state news source”.
“He’s using Fox News as a state news source,” Fried told reporters on Capitol Hill after the bill was signed. “We see this in other places around the world – in China, in Venezuela. “
DeSantis is a frequent guest of right-wing cable media. It appeared or was mentioned by the outlet more than 500 times during a six-week period starting in March, POLITICO Florida reported.
After the ceremony, Fox News made a statement to Business intern suggesting it had nothing to do with the decision.
“FOX & Friends did not request or mandate that the May 6 event and / or interview with Governor Ron DeSantis be exclusive to FOX News Media entities,” a Fox News spokesperson said in the communicated.