DeSantis aide Christina Pushaw touts blocking access to liberal media ‘activists’: ‘Cut them off’

By | September 13, 2022

AVENTURA, FLA. – Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for the Ron DeSantis reelection campaign, touted the strategy of blocking access to legacy media outlets she and others deem “liberal activists.”

In recent months, journalists from the Washington Post, NPR, Politico, New York Magazine and Vanity Fair have complained about the growing trend among Republicans running in the 2022 midterms who are not granting access to campaign events. 

Speaking at the National Conservatism conference in Florida, Pushaw urged conservatives to “reject the premise” that journalists are “somehow gatekeepers or arbiters of truth” and that calling out the media’s double standards on how they cover Republicans versus Democrats “is not enough.”

“The left does not care if you think that they’re hypocrites. The left does not care if we notice the double standard in which they cover, let’s say, [Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Charlie Crist versus Governor DeSantis… Actually, they relish in it, I would say. A lot of these media activists relish in this raw exercise of power, and that’s what it is,” Pushaw told the conservative audience on Tuesday. “They see themselves not as journalists, not as reporters, not as investigators but as activists, but as advocates, as political operatives, as gatekeepers and as arbiters of truth. Like they believe that they can define reality. If, you know, they stick to their talking points and censor and attack all those and discredit those dissenting views.”

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Pushaw stressed it’s “not just bias” that journalists have towards Republicans, telling conservatives “It’s contempt,” adding “they hate you,” “us” and “everything that we stand for.”

“So what do we do? We cut them off,” Pushaw said. “Treat them like activists because that’s what they are… You’re on a campaign helping a Republican candidate get elected, would you allow a Democrat tracker that you recognize into a private campaign event? I would hope not. That’s how you should view mainstream media activists…. They are not there to report fairly on you.”

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The DeSantis aide, who previously served as press secretary for the governor’s official office, asserted that part of the media’s “power” comes from the perception among Americans that they have “access to both sides.” Pushaw herself admitted she had allowed access to the liberal media in the past but stopped when she “realized that that’s pointless.”

“They need access or else if they have no access to any conservatives, any Republican elected officials, then they are seen by everybody as what they are, which is Democratic Party communication operators and activists. So you do not have to grant them access,” Pushaw said. 

Pushaw highlighted how the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit in July “did not allow all legacy media activists to attend,” mocking how journalists who “showed up and “waited outside the hotel the entire day” and complained about it on Twitter “but that was that.”

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“That was it. Nothing else happened,” Pushaw said. “And so I think, you know, sometimes conservatives worry a lot about, like, what will happen, what was the backlash, the criticism we’ll get it when we don’t allow them in. No- you worry more than what actually comes to pass.”

She did acknowledge that some legacy journalists who “have proven themselves not to be activists” and have a track record of offering fair coverage were allowed to attend the Sunshine Summit, but that DeSantis would boost the platform of independent and conservative journalists by granting them exclusive interviews, something liberal outlets desperately seek. 

Before joining the DeSantis campaign earlier this year, Pushaw emerged as the outspoken press secretary for the governor, serving as his chief warrior in the battlefield of Twitter against his media critics. 

DeSantis is running for reelection against Charlie Crist, a former congressman and former governor of Florida. The incumbent currently has a four-point advantage over Crist, according the RealClearPolitics average of polls. However, many in the Republican Party are buzzing about a potential run for president in 2024, particularly if former President Trump chooses not to seek a third bid for the White House.