FINALLY: CNN Admits Florida Doing Well Under DeSantis’s COVID Leadership

On Wednesday morning, CNN finally highlighted positive reactions to Governor Ron DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic after a history of repeatedly dunking on the Florida Republican for not enacting pandemic regulations as strict as some — mostly on the left — had wanted.

On New Day, a piece by Jeff Zeleny was seen in which the CNN reporter highlighted the impressive condition Florida’s economy, in contrast with several other states that had more restrictions that did not even succeed in getting much better results than Florida did.

Co-host John Berman introduced the report: “So how has Florida fared in this pandemic? Some experts said because of the loose restrictions it would do quite badly, but what’s the reality? Governor DeSantis is a rising star in the Republican party. He’s taking a victory lap because of the performance.”

 

 

The pre-recorded piece began with a clip of Governor DeSantis bragging about the economy in his state: “If you look at what’s happening in South Florida right now, I mean, this place is booming. It would not be booming if it was shut down.”

Zeleny then began by comparing Florida positively with several other large states that had greater COVID restrictions:

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is standing unabashedly tall. … A year after the pandemic began, Florida is not only back in business, it’s been in business. And the governor’s gamble to take a laissez-faire approach to coronavirus appears to be paying off — at least politically, at least for now. Florida ranks about in the middle of all states on coronavirus metrics. More than 32,000 people have died of COVID-19, but the state’s per capita death rate ranks 24th. New York is far worse, and California, only slightly better, despite stringent lockdowns.

As the report used several soundbites of Governor DeSantis bragging about showing restraint in enacting COVID restrictions, Zeleny further positively compared DeSantis’s current political situation to that of several other prominent governors:

DeSantis is standing out among governors on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. A new measure for politicians of all stripes. He is not facing a potential recall like California governor Gavin Newsom; under investigation like New York governor Andrew Cuomo; or being second-guessed for lifting a statewide mask mandate like Texas governor Greg Abbott. DeSantis refused to implement one of those in the first place, and Florida’s unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, compared to 6.8 percent in Texas, 8.8 in New York and 9 in California.

As the CNN reporter also included some caveats that environmental factors might have contributed to Florida’s COVID death toll staying relatively lower than it could have been, Zeleny also took a shot at right-leaning news outlets like Fox News and Newsmax as he lamented that Governor DeSantis only does interviews with “propaganda programs.”

While showing clips of Governor DeSantis appearing on several Fox News Channel and Newsmax shows, Zeleny recalled: “He declines most interview requests, appearing only on propaganda programs.”

This episode of CNN’s New Day was sponsored in part by AT&T. Their contact information is linked.

Partial transcript follows Click “expand” to read more. 

CNN

New Day

March 17, 2021

7:36 a.m. Eastern

JOHN BERMAN: So how has Florida fared in this pandemic? Some experts said because of the loose restrictions it would do quite badly, but what’s the reality? Governor DeSantis is a rising star in the Republican party. He’s taking a victory lap because of the performance. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny has more from St. Petersburg.

GOVERNOR RON DeSANTIS (R-FL): If you look at what’s happening in South Florida right now, I mean, this place is booming. It would not be booming if it was shut down.

JEFF ZELENY: Florida governor Ron DeSantis is standing unabashedly tall.

GOVERNOR DeSANTIS: Los Angeles isn’t booming — New York City’s not booming — it’s booming here because you can live like a human being.

ZELENY: A year after the pandemic began, Florida is not only back in business, it’s been in business. And the governor’s gamble to take a laissez-faire approach to coronavirus appears to be paying off — at least politically, at least for now. Florida ranks about in the middle of all states on coronavirus metrics. More than 32,000 people have died of COVID-19, but the state’s per capita death rate ranks 24th. New York is far worse, and California, only slightly better, despite stringent lockdowns.

GOVERNOR DeSANTIS: While so many other states kept locking people down over these many months, Florida lifted people up.

ZELENY: DeSantis is standing out among governors on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. A new measure for politicians of all stripes. He is not facing a potential recall like California governor Gavin Newsom; under investigation like New York governor Andrew Cuomo; or being second-guessed for lifting a statewide mask mandate like Texas governor Greg Abbott. DeSantis refused to implement one of those in the first place, and Florida’s unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, compared to 6.8 percent in Texas, 8.8 in New York and 9 in California.

TOM GOLDEN, FLORIDA BUSINESS OWNER: When he went into office, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he didn’t do anything to hurt me as a business owner or me as a Floridian. So fine with me.

ZELENY: Tom Golden didn’t have much of an opinion on DeSantis a year ago, but with his St. Petersburg bar and restaurant not only surviving but thriving, he credits the governor. Even as a new test for Florida is looming with spring breakers crowding the beaches, so far the state has weathered the pandemic stronger than most experts expected.

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