Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just on Tuesday was talking about the media spreading “false narratives” to divide people.
During that press conference in Jacksonville, the Republican governor also noted how he willingly fights back to set and keep the record straight.
It took just 24 hours for both of his points to be made.
The governor has fueled speculation that he will be a 2024 presidential contender with the news that he is writing an autobiography, entitled “The Courage to be Free,” and due out in February.
On Wednesday, a website called The Recount, which is a platform for people to upload news videos without additional commentary, tweeted a clip about the book announcement. It coupled that with a brief comment by Najahe Sherman, a reporter with the CBS affiliate in Miami, who said, “When it comes to banning books, Florida comes in second in the U.S. Only Texas has banned books more frequently than Florida’s public schools.”
The Recount’s comment accompanying the tweet noted: “Ron DeSantis: writes book about freedom. Florida under DeSantis: second in banned books.”
This is what DeSantis meant when discussing false narratives in Jacksonville.
Sherman was reporting on a study issued in September by the left-wing group PEN America, which claims it is for free speech.
As WUSF reported at the time, the study noted, “Florida has book bans in 21 of the state’s school districts involving 566 titles.”
On its website, PEN America says that it “defines a school book ban as any action taken against a book based on its content and as a result of parent or community challenges, administrative decisions, or in response to direct or threatened action by lawmakers or other governmental officials, that leads to a previously accessible book being either completely removed from availability to students, or where access to a book is restricted or diminished.”
The state of Florida has not banned any books, however. Nor have any of its school districts.
What has happened is that parents have persuaded school officials that some books are inappropriate for young readers because of their content, which frequently involves sex.
In the news: Florida Gov. DeSantis Rips Media For Perpetually Sowing Division By Pushing “False Narratives”
Throughout 2022, videos have emerged of parents across the nation being prohibited from addressing school boards just because they dared to quote some of the books in question after they were discovered in libraries or classrooms.
But a decision to cull a book from a classroom or school library because parents convince public officials that it is wrong for certain groups does not mean the book is “banned.”
Any parent who wants his child to read such a book is free to buy it from a bookstore or online retailer.
As for DeSantis on Tuesday talking about fighting back against the media, his communications team gave The Recount full-throated criticism of the implication the website made with its tweet.
Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for DeSantis’ re-election campaign, tweeted, “I know this is hard for left-liberal media to understand, but there is no contradiction between @RonDeSantisFL writing a book about Florida as the blueprint for American revival and banning pornographic books from elementary school classrooms.”
Bryan Griffin, a spokesman for the governor’s office, added, “There are no banned books in the State of Florida. We do support parents in having a course of action to remove pornographic material from the classroom or school library. And we are proud to stand with them on that.”
Jeremy Redfern, deputy press secretary for DeSantis, tweeted in reply, “The Recount comes out in support of providing pornographic books to kindergarteners.”