Word spread quickly after local Florida media reported that a state senator named Jason Brodeur (R) recently filed an “information dissemination” bill that would require anyone the state called a “reporter” or “blogger” who writes “an article, a story, or a series of stories” about “the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature” to register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, as well as to report any payments the writer might receive.
Beyond the most fundamentally offensive facets of the proposal – those being its immoral threats to the human right of free speech and its assault on the protection of that right which supposedly is assured in Article One, Section Four, of the Florida Constitution (the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution only stipulates that Congress shall not infringe on speech), there radiated from it a sense that the senator either was being satirical, or he was pushing the bill in order to give leftist national media a chance to unjustly paint Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) as a backer of the bill or the unseen, nefarious force pushing it.
As Lindsay Kornick reports for Fox News, DeSantis commented on the bill at a press conference following his March 7 State of the State Address, criticizing not only the concepts in the bill, but the media figures who have attempted to attach him to it.
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the media for using his image when covering a Florida Senate bill that aimed to force independent bloggers to register with the state, insisting that it is ‘not anything’ he’s ‘ever supported.’"
And he added:
"Every person in the legislature can file bills. I see these people filing bills and there are these articles with my face on the article, saying ‘bloggers are going to have to register with the state,’ attributing it to me. That’s not anything I’ve ever supported, I don’t support. I’ve been very clear on what we are doing."
Of course, many in the leftist-dominated dinosaur media appear to seize any opportunity – whether justified or not – to slam DeSantis, and this has been no different. On March 3, MSNBC saw fit to publish an opinion piece by Steve Benen – a producer for the delightful Rachel Maddow Show – in which Benen not only insinuated that this was a DeSantis move, but he also likened the move to that of another politician in another nation: Vladimir Putin.
“If this approach sounds at all familiar, it might be because Vladimir Putin signed a similar measure — known as the “bloggers law” — in 2014, requiring online writers to register with the Russian government.”
And Benen has not been alone in expressing selective umbrage and attempting to smear De Santis. As Fox News’ Kornick points out:
“While appearing on ‘Deadline: White House,’ Mehdi Hasan commented, ‘And the Desantises and Trumps are borrowing and inspiring from other abroad. And you look at the plan to register bloggers it is straight out of the Kremlin. The Russian government has done similar things.’"
“(MSNBC) Host Ari Melber also compared DeSantis to Vladimir Putin while claiming the blogger bill was, as critics claimed, ‘part of the larger DeSantis crusade against free speech and the press.’"
There is plenty of room to study DeSantis’ previous policy stances - they might question his 2019 signing of a Florida bill that makes it a punishable offense for people in state universities or public schools to say certain things in criticism of the nation of Israel, for instance - and to watch how he behaves as new proposals appear.
But to claim that he was attached to this "blogger" bill to silence journalists is not true, and it would be good for so-called “journalists” at places like MSNBC to correct the record.