Ron DeSantis can't be allowed to spread his racist dog whistles through mainstream media platforms.
Demand mainstream networks like CNN and MSNBC #DumpDeSantis now !
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis went on Fox News the day after his primary win and made a racist, dog-whistle comment about his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. In a naked attempt to stoke white fears, DeSantis told Fox viewers not to "monkey this up” by electing Gillum as the first Black governor of Florida.1
This openly racist siren call must not be tolerated. We know Fox News won’t do anything to reel in racial slurs on their network - we’ve already seen Laura Ingraham, Fox & Friends and other shows either excuse DeSantis’ comments or disgustingly blame Gillum for acknowledging the comments were racist - so it’s up to mainstream media like CNN and MSNBC to stand for integrity and deny this prejudice a place on their platforms by refusing to host DeSantis on their shows.2 3
This wasn’t an accidental slip of the tongue. DeSantis and his team have a history of racist rhetoric and connections to white nationalists. Earlier this year, DeSantis’ top fundraiser received a paltry two week suspension from Fox News after he asked a Black commentator if he was out of his “cotton-picking mind”.4 Last year, DeSantis spoke at a conference attended by noted white nationalists like Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, ex-Trump Chief of Staff Steve Bannon, and ex-Trump administration advisor Sebastian Gorka.5 And it was revealed yesterday that DeSantis himself moderates a hate-filled Facebook group that attacks Black people, Muslims, and the survivors of the Parkland school shooting.6
DeSantis and his campaign surrogates feel comfortable spewing their venom on Fox News because the channel routinely allows Trump surrogates and other far-right demagogues to elevate white nationalist rhetoric while only occasionally giving the smallest of slaps on the wrist for those surrogates that ditch the dog whistle for a bullhorn.
The 24-hour news networks’ “if it bleeds it leads” sensationalist mentality, and the quest for viewers has led to news platforms featuring the most inflammatory, offensive, and harmful speakers and ideologies under the guise of “balanced” reporting or neutrality. Mainstream outlets like CNN, MSNBC and NBC risk becoming as complicit as Fox News if they don’t take a strong stand against DeSantis and let it be known that this rhetoric is unacceptable. CNN previously set a precedent by banning Trump ally and advisor Roger Stone for his racist comments and the same should be done for DeSantis across all mainstream networks.7
Racist dog-whistles like this have a long, violent history in our politics and media. The word “monkey” has been used to marginalize Black people throughout history, disparaging our intelligence and serving to justify slavery by suggesting that Black people were less than human. And everyday Trump and his surrogates, like DeSantis and Fox’s Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, use dog-whistles like this to push a narrative that the world is not safe from Black people, Brown people, and "others."8 9 By giving these extremist views such a large platform, with hardly any pushback and minimal consequences for DeSantis, it’s giving legitimacy to white nationalist views that result in widespread discrimination and oppression of Black people.
Ron DeSantis made it a point to use his appearances on Fox News to elevate his candidacy and bring himself to the attention of Donald Trump via his full throttled endorsement of the President and his policies. His frequent appearances on a network that allows him to spew racist dog-whistles and white nationalist talking points without pushback has amounted to $9.3 million of free advertising for his campaign.10 The other major news networks should not help add to DeSantis’ free publicity and elevate his message of hate and divisiveness. It’s time to #DumpDeSantis now.
Until justice is real,
Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Jade, Evan, Johnny, Future, Corina, Chad, Mary, Saréya, Angela, Eesha, Samantha, and the rest of the Color Of Change team
- "Trump-backed nominee in Florida warns voters not to "monkey this up" by electing Black Democrat", Mic, 29 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91399?t=9&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "Fox & Friends attempts to excuse away Rep. Ron DeSantis' "monkey" remark", Media Matters for America, 30 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91400?t=11&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "Laura Ingraham advises Ron DeSantis to "demand an apology" from the opponent he made a racist "monkey" comment about", Media Matters for America, 30 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91401?t=13&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "After on-air racial slur, top DeSantis fundraiser reportedly suspended from Fox News", Tampa Bay Times, 26 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91403?t=15&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "DeSantis attends a conference alongside the alt-right's favorite racist, misogynistic speakers", Orlando Weekly, 25 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91404?t=17&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "DeSantis Moderates Hate-Filled Facebook Group That Attacks African-Americans, Parkland Survivors and Muslims", American Ledger, 29 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91406?t=19&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "CNN says it will no longer have Trump ally Roger Stone on the air", Politico, 23 February 2016 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91408?t=21&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "Laura Ingraham's 'demographic changes' monologue is a rallying cry to Trump's base", Washington Post, 9 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91410?t=23&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "Tucker Carlson Has a White Nationalist Freakout About How Scary Immigrants Are", Splinter, 21 March 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91411?t=25&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
- "How Ron DeSantis won the Fox News primary", Politico, 29 August 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/91413?t=27&akid=17445%2E1942551%2EyfOxdZ
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