The Republican presidential candidate was by far the most consequential interview with Tucker Carlson during last week’s Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines. He offered a far better position on the pointless Ukraine war than the virtue signal-y one he had in the past. He made clear he understands just how threatening the Washington regime is to the ever-broadening underclass, to the point that the federal government may eventually be able to cut off your ability to buy things. And he aggressively defended his record’s most controversial (to the media) achievements.
All of that is good, and with Tucker unbound by the corporate (read: leftist) culture at Fox, no Republican could or should have counted on it being a breezy interview. And more importantly, news broke shortly thereafter that DeSantis agreed to an interview with CNN’s most dishonest and most lispy anchor, Jake Tapper.
To date, the DeSantis strategy has been to deny any access to the candidate by journalists and TV reporters who aren’t from Fox News or who haven’t already publicly stated how much they like him. That works fine as a sitting governor, but it doesn’t work in a national campaign wherein most voters, even Republican primary voters, don’t know him and want to know how he performs in an adversarial environment.
Note: Washington is, for a truly effective Republican, nothing but adversary, all day, every day. It’s a cage match wherein the Republican is virtually alone and the opposition tag teams — if it’s not Democrats, it’s the permanent bureaucracy. And if it’s not them, it’s the national media. More often than not, it’s all three at one time.
The good news is that the Republican isn’t truly alone, so long as he maintains the faith of his supporters. They’re all that counts. The bad news is that the DeSantis campaign may have shown that it has no idea what’s about to go down.
The New York Post on Sunday published a statement from the DeSantis campaign ahead of the Tapper interview. “There are people within the media who are still seeking the truth; we will engage with them,” campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin said. “And we look forward to getting our message out there to the American people.” He added of Tapper that “there are many good journalists and truth-seeking reporters, including in mainstream media outlets.”
That’s a woefully naive quote considering DeSantis built much of his heroic reputation by properly belittling and humbling dorky reporters who step to him with nonsense attacks. It was either a nicety for the sake of being nice, or the DeSantis operation genuinely believes it’s about to get an honest and fair shake with arguably the most awful human on cable television.
Tapper was among the earliest pushers of the Russia collusion hoax. After it was revealed to be exactly that, he brazenly declared of the corporate media coverage, “I don’t know anybody who got anything wrong.” (Fact check: They all got all of it wrong, and that’s only a fair assessment if you don’t believe that they demonstrably and deliberately misled the public for three years, which they did.)
Tapper made a corny show about how much he values women by covering the Brett Kavanaugh hearings with an all-female panel. “I’ve had all-women panels lots of times but it is true that this Sunday we’d heard from men enough,” he said to Stephen Colbert.
And Tapper was an obnoxious drama queen of the first order in all of his 2020 Covid coverage, hyping up fear in pursuit of unseating Donald Trump. When Joe Biden was sworn in, his attitude toward Covid went from, “This is absolutely tragic, and why hasn’t the president done anything?” to “Well, viruses spread. Whaddayado?!”
The interview will only be a success if DeSantis is prepared to repeatedly rebuke what will surely be a line of questioning from Tapper full of lies and distortions. That will include citing specific examples of Tapper’s hackery, from Russia to Covid, many of which are helpfully cataloged here.
Tapper is a disreputable hysteric who can’t be trusted. Hopefully, DeSantis knew that before agreeing to an interview.