After the Associated Press published a misleading headline erroneously insinuating Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ donor was profiting off of Florida’s push to expand awareness of and access to monoclonal antibody treatments.
The Governor noted that “Indeed, as the federal government long ago bought the entire stock of Regeneron’s COVID monoclonal treatment, it is not even a plausible concept.”
DeSantis wrote, “The AP produced zero evidence that Florida’s efforts are being undertaken for any reason other than to help Floridians recover from COVID. This will have real consequences for people’s health, especially given that the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment has a proven track record and has been touted by both the Trump and Biden administrations.”
He blasted the AP story as “a baseless conspiracy theory” and wrote that the AP’s “false narrative will cost lives. You cannot recklessly smear your political opponents and then expect to be immune from criticism. This is especially true when the effect of your false narrative jeopardizes the health of those who could otherwise benefit from treatment with monoclonal antibodies.”
“I stand by the work of my staff who went out of their way to provide the AP with the factual information necessary to dispel the AP’s preferred narrative. That their response was effective in exposing the AP’s partisan agenda represented a valuable public service, as it reassured many that the Regeneron monoclonal treatment is effective,” continued DeSantis.
The Governor’s letter concluded:
The AP’s attempt to create a political narrative has backfired, as the conspiracy theory has been easily debunked and the credibility of your organization has been further diminished. This is what happens when you decide on the headline and narrative before you begin reporting. The corporate media’s “clicks-first, facts-later” approach to journalism is harming our country.
You succeeded in publishing a misleading, clickbait headline about one of your political opponents, but at the expense of deterring individuals infected with COVID from seeking life-saving treatment, which will cost lives.
Was it worth it?
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) August 23, 2021