On DeSantis' Big Day, Twitter Gets Picked Apart

Everyone has a lot to say about where the Republican intends to launch his 2024 campaign
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2023 10:55 AM CDT
On DeSantis' Big Day, Twitter Goes Under the Microscope
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacts to applause as he gives his State of the State address on March 7 at the state Capitol in Tallahassee.   (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

Ron DeSantis is set to launch his presidential campaign at 6pm ET Wednesday on Twitter. The Republican will make the announcement in a Twitter Spaces session with CEO Elon Musk, in an event moderated by GOP donor David Sacks, who supports DeSantis and has close ties to Musk, per NBC News. In the run-up to the event, much is being said about the decision to stage the event on Twitter. Perspectives:

  • The Guardian zeroes in on what's in it for Musk, calling it "the tech billionaire's latest attempts to shore up engagement with the social network ... the upshot of DeSantis' appearance will be increased visibility for Twitter at a moment when the company's relevance is dwindling."
  • Axios looks at the media implications, noting that "in choosing to bypass Fox News for Twitter, DeSantis is sending a signal to conservatives that Fox News is just as much a part of the mainstream media as CNN or any other news network." The New York Times goes a step further, saying it allows Twitter to "claim to be outside the mainstream media world that Rupert Murdoch's network inhabits."
  • The Times notes that "Twitter is becoming a conservative media hot spot in the Musk era. ... The move underscores both that Twitter, under its billionaire owner, has moved to embrace the political right and that Mr. DeSantis' top business supporters so far are tech-industry libertarians, rather than traditional Republican moguls."

  • Going further for the Atlantic, Charlie Warzel offers up some hand-wringing, bemoaning Twitter's evolution "into a platform that is indistinguishable from the wastelands of alternative social-media sites such as Truth Social and Parler. It is now a right-wing social network ... a haven to far-right influencers and [a network that] advances the interests, prejudices, and conspiracy theories of the right wing of American politics."
  • The Post Millennial thinks Warzel's assessment is garbage, writing that "instead of recognizing that the platform under previous management had skewed so far left that any correction to the center looked like a conservative pivot, the Atlantic has determined that all Republicans and conservatives are far-right, including presidential candidates. ... The left used to be all about free speech, they held it up like a beacon, saying things like 'I deplore your views, but I respect your right to have them.' The days of ope-minded [sic] leftist discourse is gone, and it's been replaced with ideologues thinking and tweeting in lock-step."
  • Politico questions DeSantis' choice of Twitter for entirely different reasons. "For a politician whose chief vulnerability has long been his perceived lack of interpersonal skills, it is also a major risk. For one thing, Musk ... is such a controversial and outspoken figure that appearing with him in a high-stakes event leaves uncertain 'what comes out of his mouth,' said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist. 'The other thing is, Twitter isn't America. Why doesn't he do this where more people will see you?'"
(More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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