The last we heard of Mary Ellen Klas, chief of the Miami Herald’s Tallahassee bureau, she was being denounced by Florida Power & Light for her anti-utility activism that was disguised as journalism.
Simultaneously, she was criticized for dispensing political advice to Democrats in the Florida Legislature about challenging the GOP-led redistricting process.
Now, she is on the excrement list kept by Christina Pushaw, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ outspoken press secretary.
On Thursday, Klas published an anti-DeSantis story, again framed as journalism. In a tweet accompanying the piece, Klas noted, “A conference of immigration attorneys and wealth management companies who work with international investors and real estate developers cancels @GovRonDeSantis’ speech over ‘anti-immigrant’ views.”
Per the story, DeSantis was supposed to speak in April at the 2022 EB-5 & Global Immigration Expo. EB-5 is a federal program through which investors and their immediate family members can qualify for permanent green cards to move to America, if their investment creates at least 10 new U.S.
The story points out that hotels, luxury condominiums, residential developments, charter schools and restaurants were among primary beneficiaries for the program.
Klas quoted Ira Kurzban, a prominent Miami immigration lawyer, who opposed allowing DeSantis to speak at the conference, which is hosted by EB-5 Investors magazine.
“I was seriously considering your kind invitation until I was informed that you have decided to ask Ron DeSantis to be the keynote speaker at the conference,” he wrote to the sponsors. “Mr. DeSantis, also known as a mini-me for his Trump-like tactics, has engaged in the most virulent anti-immigrant conduct we have ever seen by a public official in this state.’’
After Klas’ initial tweet, she added in a second post, “The governor’s office responded late Thursday that its external affairs office had no record of the event and urged a reporter to check with the governor’s reelection campaign, which may have handled the scheduling. The campaign has not responded to requests for comment.”
Then it was time for Pushaw to push back.
In her own tweet later Thursday, Pushaw shared an email from Marie Ekberg Padilla, the senior editor of EB5 Investors magazine, the primary sponsor of the conference.
Padilla noted in the email that DeSantis was never confirmed to speak at the event, addin that “nor was he uninvited.”
“We made a staff error and are regretful. It’s unfortunate that our event was used by media for political gain,” Padilla added.
Pushaw bluntly tweeted at Klas: “Issue a correction.”
That didn’t happen.
Instead, in the incestuous world of Tallahassee politics, the story was quickly circulated. Politico Florida was among those that did so on Friday.
Pushaw then tweeted Friday morning, “Politico now spreading the debunked falsehood. Incredible how journalists in the Florida Capitol press corps trip over themselves to defend shoddy ‘journalism.’ MEK [Mary Ellen Klas] never verified her story; it is inaccurate, Gov. DeSantis was never scheduled to speak so how could it be canceled?”
She then again shared Padilla’s email with Politico, and called on the outlet to “stop spreading disinformation.”
The conservative website Twitchy.com, after noting Pushaw’s effort to set the record straight, then aptly described the state of our contemporary media.
“We have to assume that PolitiFact won’t bother to chime in with a ruling on this,” Twitchy said.
“But if they did, it’s safe to say that they’d be harder on Ron DeSantis for not actually having anything to do with the conference than they’d be on journalists for lying about it.”