MATTHEWS: Legacy media frets as GOP politicos look elsewhere for coverage

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Friday, July 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Most everyone has been in situations where they repeatedly sought approval and/or wanted the respect of someone else, whether it be a family member, friend, neighbor, work colleague, etc. 

In some cases, it worked. In others, no matter what they did to win over the other person, they were met with contempt, mocking, scorn, and were treated as though they were the lowest person on earth. 

Eventually, the people on the receiving end of such treatment usually end up waking up and walking away from it with the understanding that there are greener pastures out there where friendly faces exist and where you don’t have to walk in with your back already against the wall dreading what’s to come. 

This is where a growing number of Republican political figures are today. We saw it with former President Donald Trump, who, while he enjoyed sparring with an extremely hostile mainstream press, also gave attention to alternative media outlets, the kind at which the Washington, D.C. establishment press corps typically thumb their noses. 

We’re also seeing that with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for reelection this year but who is also being floated as a possible 2024 presidential contender. 

For instance, DeSantis triggered some traditional media outlets last month when it was discovered which reporters were granted press passes to cover his state’s Republican convention. Notably absent from the list were reporters from the New York Times, the Miami Herald, and other legacy national and Florida-based news outlets, in favor of “new media” outlets such as Florida Voices, Business Insider, and the Washington Free Beacon. 

In response to that and similar stories, journalist David Freedlander from New York Mag’s Intelligencer wrote a lengthy piece in which he chided Republicans for shunning the press. 

Freedlander pondered why Republicans are more likely to sit down with a non-traditional media outfit than they are a “major” media outlet. He quoted one unnamed Republican adviser who told him “I just don’t even see what the point is anymore. We know reporters always disagreed with the Republican Party, but it used to be you thought you could get a fair shake. Now every reporter, and every outlet, is just chasing resistance rage-clicks.” 

In the next sentence, however, Freedlander unknowingly answered his own question. 

“A competing theory of the case is that there is really not much Republicans can say,” Freedlander wrote. “The past six years have seen them rally behind a person almost all of them once denounced as dangerously unfit for public office — even as their most dire 2015-era warnings proved true.” 

Joe Gabriel Simonson, who writes for the Free Beacon, helpfully summed up Freedlander’s argument accordingly: 

“Enjoying this piece on why Republicans don’t talk to the press as much anymore. First guy says ‘Reporters are mostly Democrats who hate us’ and then the author responds with ‘well, what could Republicans even tell us anyway? They’re awful,’” Simonson tweeted. 

Simply put, Republicans are tired of the biased, one-sided treatment, and of the frequent hit pieces that usually turn out to be big nothing burgers. 

Historically, the relationship with the media and politicians has been adversarial, which is the way it’s supposed to be. But over time more and more of those outlets have acted as little more than DNC operatives masquerading as “journalists.” 

Not a single legacy media outlet should be shocked to find that Republicans are no longer interested in playing these games anymore. They’ve decided that if they have to face a partisan press corps, it might as well be one that’s more receptive to what they have to say. 

Honestly at this point, who could blame them? 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.