Liberal media bias comes in two often-concomitant forms: acts of omission and acts of commission.
An April 13 editorial in The Washington Post, “Freedom is under assault in Ron DeSantis’s Florida,” serves up some of both, but more egregiously, the former.
The bias by omission begins with the editorial failing to mention the fact that despite the Florida Republican governor’s supposed “assault on freedom,” Americans are moving to ruby-red Florida by the tens of thousands annually—most of them fleeing leftist blue states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.
In January, reporting on its more than 2 million one-way moving-truck rentals nationally in 2022, U-Haul announced that Texas and Florida “remain top destinations for one-way moves,” adding: “Demand for equipment out of California, Illinois, and New York remained strong in 2022, as more people opted to leave areas of the West Coast, Northeast, and Midwest.” California led the nation for the third year in a row, U-Haul said.
The Post likely wouldn’t admit it, but that represents an ongoing exodus from liberal states with economy-strangling taxes and regulations and extreme left-wing social policies on abortion, transgenderism and education to conservative states with low taxes, school choice, reasonable restrictions on abortion, and bans on gender experimentation on minors and on biological males interloping in girls and women’s athletics. (In other words, from states with policies the Post supports to those it doesn’t.)
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The Post’s 1,179-word editorial screed also omitted the fact that Mr. DeSantis won reelection in November in a nearly 20-point landslide, 59.4% to 40%. He crushed the chameleonic Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran on a liberal platform, the polar opposite of the incumbent’s conservative agenda.
The Post’s editorial harrumphing notwithstanding, Mr. DeSantis’ 1.5 million-vote margin of victory suggests—make that screams—that Floridians approve of his low-tax, pro-life and pro-parental rights policies.
It’s also worth noting that Mr. DeSantis won his first term in 2018 in a nail-biter, 49.6% to 49.2%. As such, his 2022 reelection landslide win represents Florida voters’ resounding embrace of his policies in the intervening four years—and a repudiation of the Post’s unflattering characterization of his governance.
Floridians apparently appreciated how he didn’t turn the Sunshine State into a police state during the COVID-19 epidemic with coercive school and business closings and with oppressive mask and vaccine mandates, the way blue states with liberal governors such as Gavin Newsom did.
So if, in the Post’s telling, Mr. DeSantis is “assaulting freedom,” millions of Floridians appear to welcome that supposed loss of liberty. The paper’s myopic editorial board perhaps thinks that the blue-to-red-state migrants, voting with their feet, are seeking to break into prison.
“Backed by GOP supermajorities in both chambers [of the Florida Legislature],” Mr. DeSantis is waging frontal assaults on … reproductive freedom, free enterprise, and academic freedom,” the editorial hyperventilates.
Absent any comparable concerns about the far-left assaults being waged unchecked by Democratic governors and legislative supermajorities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts and other blue states, it’s hard to take the Post’s hand-wringing seriously.
While it’s true that Florida has among the strictest limits on abortion in the country with its new six-week “heartbeat bill” signed into law April 13 (coincidentally, the day the editorial ran), the Post has no similar qualms about liberal states that not only allow the procedure for any reason right up through the full nine months of pregnancy, but also in some cases will even pay for it with state taxpayer funds.
The Post also lamented Mr. DeSantis’ removal from office of a pro-abortion prosecutor in Tampa who refused to enforce the state’s milder prior 15-week ban. Though elected, he had no authority to ignore state law and was deservedly ousted. We don’t recall any similar empathy from the Post editorial board for Kim Davis, the elected Kentucky county clerk who in 2015 was jailed briefly for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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The basis for the Post’s assertion that Mr. DeSantis was “assaulting” free enterprise was equally specious. It deplored the governor’s justifiable stripping of the “woke” Disney Co. of its one-of-a-kind self-governance and special tax treatment—which no other Florida business enjoyed—after the corporate goliath indefensibly injected itself into politics by opposing commonsense legislation on parental rights in education.
In decrying Mr. DeSantis’ forbidding the state’s pension plan from doing business with financial institutions that push ESG investment criteria, the Post’s bias by omission is its failure to note that the fund is obligated by its fiduciary duty to invest for the best returns, not to pander to the left’s woke agenda.
Finally, what the Post didn’t tell its readers about Mr. DeSantis’ purported “assault” on academic freedom are perhaps the most egregious examples of its bias by omission. It failed to explain that the Florida governor’s rejection of the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American studies course was in no way racist but rather because of its far-left curriculum content, including queer Black theory and the prison abolition movement.
Nor did the editorial explain that what it decries as a “frenzy of book banning” is aimed, rightly, at removing books from school library shelves that shouldn’t be there in the first place—namely, age-inappropriate, sexually explicit LGBT-themed books and graphic novels.
There were other examples of bias by omission, but you get the point. The Post’s virtue-signaling masthead deplores that “Democracy dies in darkness,” even as its own editorial board deliberately leaves readers in the dark. But it was all in service of the editorialists’ higher purpose—to derail Mr. DeSantis’ bid to “Make America Florida.”
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal