Is DeSantis afraid of what political bloggers might write about him?

Evie M.
Ron DeSantis`Photo byGage Skidmore Wikimedia Commons

Okay, I will admit. I am not into politics nearly as much as I should be. The only reason I’m writing about this now instead of my usual spooky content is this super weird move by DeSantis last Monday to propose a bill that would fine bloggers who write about elected officials such as “the state’s governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet members or legislative officials”.

Well, not DeSantis (directly). Let’s iron that out. The bill itself was slid onto the pile by Republican lawmaker Sen Jason Brodeur. To be more exact with a fresh quote, the bill “would require bloggers to file periodic reports with the state if they are paid for posts.”

DeSantis is just getting the blame from a lot of people, because the timing is, we’ll say, uncanny.

The part that really got my attention, though, was the steep fine. $25 a day for each day the report isn’t filed, with a cap of $2,500 per missing report. $2,500 is a hefty enough fine, but tacking that onto each report due could bankrupt even a rich man. Granted, any writing content that is published on the “website of a newspaper or other similar publication”, but this is still a huge hit.

Political bloggers are in the millions, and according to data like this study of political blogs, there’s always an audience, and it’s that small, loyal audience that the politicians are afraid of. They’re terrified of the die-hard fans, and rightfully so. With widespread social media giving a platform to anyone, a lot of misinformation can fly, and with bloggers, there’s no guarantee the writing will be factual, if not completely opinion-based. Yes, many people are smart enough to at least ask for sources or figure out their opinions for themselves, but not everyone.

So, really, the bill makes sense, in theory. It doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have a devastating effect on free speech and be a complete backwards shift in time, though. This is the problem. Who would go through such medieval lengths to silence some bloggers?

Many who have criticized and dissected the bill, such as the famously difficult former Republican house speak Newt Gingrich who thinks the bill is “insane”, consider it an obvious and immediate attack on the First Amendment rights of free speech for the press.

DeSantis himself has (apparently) denied being in support of the bill, going as far as saying he “didn’t support the bill” in a press conference. However, many believe that DeSantis has had a plan for months now, and that he aims to strip the liberties of the press, to potentially stop the “empowerment of a media that will find a way to smear you”.

The pubic isn’t stupid, either. Despite many attempts to detach himself from the narrative, even I have to admit it’s pretty uncanny that this bill is proposed right before a likely 2024 presidential run from DeSantis. So, it really begs the question, what is DeSantis afraid these political bloggers will write? DeSantis has long despised the media, but only now is this bill showing up?

Maybe I’m completely talking out the side of my face, but it really makes you wonder. What are your thoughts about the blogger bill?

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

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