An analysis of four months worth of emails from Ron DeSantis' (R) office reveals the Florida governor's myriad appearances on Fox News to be "carefully crafted" ahead of time — so much so, the network even helped the 2024 standout stage a vaccination news event back in January, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
DeSantis' office, attempting to paint a more flattering picture of Florida's confusing vaccine rollout and overshadow images of desperate seniors in long lines, pitched an appearance from the governor to Fox & Friends. The top-rated show's producers were thrilled, and a "plan came together in a flurry of emails and phone calls" over the next several days, per Tampa Bay.
The governor's team "provided a senior, a location, and the talking points," while Fox brought "the cameras and its audience." No other media was allowed in. The segment, which featured a 100-year-old veteran receiving his first shot while DeSantis cracked jokes and "boasted that Florida was leading the country in vaccinating older residents," aired on Jan. 22.
The event is just one instance of there being "few surprises" when DeSantis appears on Fox, writes Tampa Bay. Topics, talking points, and sometimes even graphics are reportedly shared in advance.
The network likens such instances to typical pre-interviews with on-air guests, but A.J. Bauer, a University of Alabama communications professor who has studied Fox for years, believes the governor and the network are "blurring the lines" that divide networks and contributors.
He adds, "Whatever tenuous wall existed between Fox News and DeSantis, it seems to have deteriorated where you have people on both sides sitting in a digital room together pitching programming ideas." Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.