Former President Donald Trump's lies about the validity of the 2020 election have prompted Republican legislatures across the nation to propose a slate of laws designed to limit access to the ballot box.
The latest voter suppression bill was signed into law by Florida's Republican governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
Senate Bill 90 heightens restrictions on voter identification, expands partisan oversight of the tabulation process, and limits eligibility for voting by mail.
But if the bill itself wasn't incendiary enough, the ceremony DeSantis held for signing it only heightened its already partisan nature.
Reports emerged that all media outlets were barred from covering the signing ceremony, except for the conservative Fox News network.
NEW: News media is barred from entry at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of controversial elections bill, SB 90. DeSantis… https://t.co/L11Wwjfmtm— Steve Bousquet (@Steve Bousquet)1620300788.0
The network covered the ceremony live on Fox and Friends, presenting it as an exclusive.
DeSantis said during the signing:
"We're proud of the strides that we've made. We're not resting on our laurels, and me signing this bill here says Florida, your vote counts. Your vote is gonna be cast with integrity and transparency, and this is a great place for democracy."
In response to backlash, Fox said in a statement:
"FOX & Friends did not request or mandate that the May 6th event and/or interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) be exclusive to FOX News Media entities."
People were stunned that the signing of a public law that would affect all Florida residents was rolled out as a network exclusive.
Florida grants Fox News the exclusive right to witness an official function of government. https://t.co/9bB9arRa7W— southpaw (@southpaw)1620308297.0
If I worked at Fox, I would refuse to cover the bill signing unless all my colleagues at other outlets could. It's… https://t.co/5Fja7Ii69g— Kathryn Watson (@Kathryn Watson)1620301629.0
Nothing says “this bill is about improving public confidence in the fairness of our democratic process” quite like… https://t.co/z7P0MU34Ta— Steve Vladeck (@Steve Vladeck)1620303346.0
This is not normal. https://t.co/jF0deSswco— Daniel Strauss (@Daniel Strauss)1620301011.0
A "news organization" that gets exclusive rights to cover official government business is the definition of state t… https://t.co/QARA1aYwON— Jonathan Chait (@Jonathan Chait)1620304076.0
Some, Like Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, said the decision to limit the signing to a friendly network was made out of fear.
The governor knows that his voter suppression bill is un-American, so he’s hiding in his ballroom to avoid tough qu… https://t.co/hz53V5AWoo— Rep. Val Demings (@Rep. Val Demings)1620313333.0
Ron Desantis is afraid of critics like myself and @GeoRebekah, which is why he uses state power to intimidate us. H… https://t.co/Usqi8ISXLL— Thomas Kennedy (@Thomas Kennedy)1620305012.0
I suspect @GovRonDeSantis is afraid he might have to answer real questions if he lets those reporters in...disgrace… https://t.co/RCA73RrFEr— Walker Campbell (@Walker Campbell)1620307881.0
Former President Donald Trump has floated DeSantis as a potential running mate if Trump seeks the GOP nomination again in 2024.