Ron DeSantis destroyed critics of his so-called 'book banning' with a master class in jujitsu on hostile media
Ron DeSantis's work to protect Florida's schoolchildren from hetero- and homosexual grooming via pornographic books in their libraries and classrooms has provoked outrage and brought nasty labels. (See below for the worst of it.) All of it is completely unjustified. Yesterday, he struck back in a news conference where he performed basic political jujitsu, turning the opponents' momentum against them. The U.K. Daily Mail explains:
Ron DeSantis played a shocking video at the start of his press conference on Wednesday containing sexually explicit content, illustrated and detailed in children's books at various Florida school libraries.
The Florida governor had his staff warn the crowd in Tampa, Florida, that the video would show 'material that is sexually explicit in nature and not suitable for children' — and all minors were removed from the room during the roughly six-minute screening.
Illustrations from the books included depicting minors engaged in sexual activity and instructions on how to masturbate, engage in sex acts or download apps that make it easier to have 'casual intercourse.'
The content intended for children was so graphic and explicit that the live stream from local news stations of DeSantis' press conference was cut on social media. It also earned a 'sensitive content warning' on Twitter.
Twitter via the UKDM.
Bonchie of Red State exclaimed:
I'm not exaggerating when I say that Ron DeSantis executed one of the best trolls of the mainstream media I've ever seen on Wednesday. Forget the fact that I'm a fan of DeSantis as a politician. In objective terms, he took the head off the press with a move that left them absolutely nowhere to go.
From now on, whenever somebody tries to label DeSants as the enemy of freedom, all he has to say is some variant of this:
Look, I showed the public the pornographic material already being forced on Florida's children, and it was so awful that news stations cut their live feed, and social media slapped content warnings on it. And you want to require our children to read this filth? What's wrong with you?
In other words, the media has proven his point. Game. Set. Match.
The very same morning DeSantis was making his point, Ken Burns, the historical filmmaker PBS has been promoting for decades, proved himself a dope with a nearly incoherent rant against DeSantis on a CNN interview:
Filmmaker @KenBurns: "All of these bills that DeSantis and others are doing limit our ability to understand ... It feels like a Soviet system or, you know, the way the Nazis would build a Potemkin village. Tucker Carlson is doing the same thing with the footage from 1/6." pic.twitter.com/ntLySi1P7F— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 7, 2023
David Strom of Hot Air on Burns's disgracing of himself:
Having spent a lot of time around academics and media types I learned years ago that people can be smart, talented, and complete dunces at the same time.
Orwell captured that reality with his typical genius, explaining: "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them." (snip)
Ken Burns — who at his best is a talented documentarian — proved his intellectual bona fides on CNN, displaying once again that intelligence, wisdom, and even attention to reality are entirely different from each other. He is smart, but an idiot.
Burns clearly needs an editor and a fact checker in order to sound coherent — and having enjoyed the Civil War documentary from decades ago I appreciate their good work. Burns is a superb storyteller, as long as he is surrounded by people who know what they are doing. But left to his own devices he spouts nonsense.
Burns gets so much wrong in his diatribe, but the ideological incoherence isn't the striking part of his rant. You almost expect that in the way you expect Stephen Colbert to misrepresent his ideological opponents in the most unfunny way possible. Cable news is filled with ideological incoherence and ignorance of the most basic truths.
What I didn't expect is his inability to distinguish historical eras. He does, after all, play a historian on TV. Some PBS producer clearly needs to prevent him from speaking without editors in order to preserve his reputation.
Ken Burns apparently thinks the creator of Potemkin villages was a Nazi.
Hate to tell you Ken, but you were off by a couple of centuries in your history, and a continent to boot. Grigory Potemkin was a Russian minister and lover of Katherine the Great, and the (likely apocryphal) story that he had fake villages built to impress Katherine as she traveled her poor country has nothing to do with the Nazis in any way.
There is literally no connection, and even somebody who is only pretending to be historically literate should know that.
The Ace of Spades condensed this critique as follows:
It turns out Ken Burns' practiced air of intellectualism is just as fake and flimsy as a cardboard-walled Potemkin Village — you know, like the Potemkin Villages that the Nazis used to build. ("Potemkin" is obvious[ly] a German word, as all scholars of linguistics can immediately discern.)
While I enjoy Donald Trump's invective against his critics, I believe that DeSantis's lower-key destruction of his opponents reaches potential voters who are turned off by the heat of Trump's passion. If DeSantis is to get the nomination and win the election in 2024, he needs both groups of voters.