Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has banned a reporter from his coronavirus briefings because she requested that the briefings practice social distancing.
Mary Ellen Klas, the Herald’s bureau chief for the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, said she was refused entry into the Capitol in Tallahassee to attend a press briefing by the governor, lieutenant governor, director of emergency management and state surgeon general regarding COVID-19 testing, access to medicine and efforts to prevent New Yorkers from flying into the state.
Klas said later in an interview that Beatrice also told her the state was refusing her access into the Capitol because she had requested “social distancing” at the governor’s briefings. Days earlier, Klas asked that the governor’s staff help protect reporters by holding Zoom-style video conference press briefings so that questions could be asked without requiring reporters to gather in close proximity.
The reporter was asking for the governor of Florida to follow the guidance of both the CDC and public health experts for the safety of reporters and everyone in attendance, which it should be noted also includes the governor, the response from the administration was to ban her.
Reporters do vital work every single day. Without journalists and reporters on the scene, the news could become nothing more than unchallenged propaganda.
Gov. DeSantis is partially responsible for the fact that coronavirus cases have surged to over 4,000 because he refused to cancel spring break and has been slow to put other restrictions in place. The governor is helping Trump to blame the spread of the virus in Florida on New Yorkers.
Republicans are trying to downplay the virus, and the message being sent is that if anyone in the state of Florida asks for basic safety precautions, the governor will retaliate.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association