DeSantis Social Media Warrior Triggers Florida Media Outlets

Christina Pushaw
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The Press Secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) tussled Monday and Tuesday with two prominent Florida news media outlets, accusing them of political bias.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism Project“Of [South Florida Sun Sentinel]’s last 10,000 Tweets, ONE (1) was positive about [Gov. Ron DeSantis]. And it was a Letter to the Editor. Not written by Sun Sentinel staff. This is absolutely incredible. And they will still say the bias is all in our imaginations,” Christina Pushaw said, citing an account called District AI that claims to be run by an artificial intelligence engineer. 

“It’s one thing to be critical of the Governor but he won more than half of Floridians’ votes in the last election. Some of these are your readers too, Florida press! Do you truly believe he has done absolutely nothing good AT ALL? Or are you just playing politics?” she continued.

Orlando Sentinel reporter Gary Rohrer responded in kind.

“He didn’t get more than half, actually. He definitely won, but it was a plurality, not a majority,” he said.

Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch piled on.

“A press secretary who was working in the state at the time would know that,” he said.

 

Pushaw responded to both of them, accusing them of dodging the point of her original tweet.

“It’s telling that neither you nor [Gary Rohrer] attempted to respond to the actual point of the Tweet, which was to highlight the analysis by [District AI] of the extreme partisan bias of a Florida media outlet. No one has refuted that point yet,” she said.

Sun Sentinel Deputy Opinions Editor Dan Sweeney jumped into the scrum with a 19-tweet thread that began by saying “so much wrong with this I barely know where to begin.”

Throughout the thread, Sweeney explained that the paper was certainly not partisan, though he did say that former President Donald J. Trump was “objectively unfit to be president.”

Schorsch later accused Pushaw, without evidence, of using Twitter bots and “faux personalities.”

“I can’t respond to all of the bots and faux personalities you have at your disposal… I don’t know how you keep it all straight,” he said. 

When she asked him to prove his claim, he doubled down on the accusation.

“And, yes, I do believe you are adjacent/knowingly approve of/wink at bot farming to support your Twitter account. Do you control the bots? No. Do you have faux personalities. No. But you come to town and a swarm of bots followed like locusts. Coincidence? I don’t think so,” he said.

Reached for comment, Pushaw told The Florida Capital Star that she was taking the high road.

“I don’t want to continue sparring with them publicly because I don’t think it’s helpful at this point, but I do want to make sure you have the context behind it,” she said.

“[District AI] is a data scientist who did a sentiment analysis on the Twitter accounts of Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel. He found that out of 10,000 Tweets, only 1 from Sun Sentinel had a positive sentiment about Governor DeSantis, and it was a guest op-ed – not something the Sun Sentinel staff wrote. I retweeted him and pointed out how biased these media outlets are, especially for a purple state like Florida.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Christina Pushaw” by Christina PushawBackground Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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