Updated: Aug 27
Few outside of Florida are likely aware of the program organized by Florida’s principled limited constitutional conservative rockstar Governor Ron DeSantis to distribute free monoclonal antibody treatments to COVID-19 patients.
Distribution centers have been set-up all over the state and even one of Governor DeSantis’s Democrat political opponents, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, has gotten in on the act to promote the distribution of the potentially lifesaving treatments.
All this good news was apparently too much for the Associated Press and AP’s Tallahassee, Florida-based reporter Brendan Farrington and writers Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale and Paul Harloff in New York who put together a report alleging that DeSantis was somehow motivated to organize the program because a political committee supporting him received donations from a hedge fund manager with holdings in Regeneron Pharmaceutical.
Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, managed by Florida billionaire Ken Griffin, has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron – a tiny fraction of its overall $39 billion in investments. Nevertheless, in response to Democrat social media pressure, AP went with the story implying a corrupt relationship in the lifesaving program using Regeneron Governor DeSantis organized.
And then came the inevitable pushback from Governor DeSantis’s in-your-face spokeswoman Christina Pushaw.
“Claiming that there is somehow ‘corruption’ by promoting the baseless political narrative that Governor DeSantis supports Regeneron over COVID vaccines (completely false, but that is another topic) is not even logically consistent when you examine the SEC filing,” Pushaw said in an email. “Citadel holds far more shares of Pfizer and Moderna than Regeneron.”
“Vaccines prevent serious illness from COVID-19. But if someone who is unvaccinated gets COVID, or a vaccinated person gets a breakthrough infection, those in risk categories with comorbidities should consider getting early treatment with Regeneron. It is safe, effective, and free of charge to all patients in Florida. This should not be a political issue -– it’s about saving lives,” Pushaw said.
But things got really hot on social media where the AP reporters received threats, allegedly encouraged by Ms. Pushaw.
In a typical “the Leftist media supports its own” move, Twitter suspended the account of Ms. Pushaw for violating rules on “abusive behavior” after The Associated Press said her conduct led to a reporter receiving threats and other online abuse.
Ms. Pushaw, saw her account locked for 12 hours, a Twitter spokeswoman said.
However, Pushaw and DeSantis were having none of it. “The backlash he [Brendan Farrington] is receiving is a direct result of his and AP’s decision to cherry pick facts to prop up a false narrative, which sadly puts the lives of your readers at risk,” said Ms. Pushaw. “If people falsely believe Regeneron — a clinically proven lifesaving treatment — is part of a corruption scheme, they will hesitate to get it, and this causes harm.”
In a letter sent to DeSantis on Friday, incoming AP CEO Daisy Veerasingham called on the governor to end what she called “harassing behavior” by Pushaw. Veerasingham said that the reporter who wrote the story received threats and other online abuse.
DeSantis responded to the AP Monday with a scathing letter of his own, calling the story a “baseless conspiracy theory” that would “lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”
(You can read Governor DeSantis’s letter through this link courtesy of Tampa’s News Channel 8.)
“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the partisan smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis said in his letter. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received.”
In his letter, DeSantis defended his staff members and slammed the AP for publishing what he called clickbait headlines.
“You succeeded in publishing a misleading, clickbait headline about one of your political opponents, but at the expense of deterring individuals infected with COVID from seeking life-saving treatment, which will cost lives,” DeSantis said. “Was it worth it?”
We’re with Ms. Pushaw, who made the point that threats and harassment should be reported to the police – and Florida has a particularly clear and strong online harassment law that protects journalists, targets of domestic abuse and others from online threats.
And we’re not alone in thinking that the AP article was a hit piece that has backfired. Not only has the Regeneron program been successful in saving lives, but the fight with AP’s Leftist journalists has also been a political boon for Governor DeSantis, sparking a successful national fundraising campaign through which the Governor told his national conservative audience:
...the Associated Press got caught spreading a FAKE CONSPIRACY THEORY and LYING about a life-saving treatment to score cheap political points.
With their credibility in the tank, the corporate media cannot help themselves — they continue to push false political hit pieces trying to hurt me.
This latest partisan smear campaign from the AP is particularly loathsome as their lies could put lives at risk by potentially dissuading people from seeking an effective COVID treatment.
With their fixation on attacking me, the media has made it clear they value their political ideology at the expense of saving lives.
We can’t let media smear merchants get away with this any longer...
Just as we did with the AP, we will always meet these shamelessly false, politically motivated narratives with vigorous pushback and continue our important work undeterred.
I know Big Tech and corporate media will continue to target me, but my resolve to keep standing for the truth and fighting for what’s right is as strong as ever.
I will keep leading and clearing a path so that others might follow to help preserve our freedom.
To learn more about principled limited government constitutional conservative rockstar Governor Ron DeSantis go to https://rondesantis.com/ .
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 patients
Big Tech censorship