Florida ‘Blogger Bill’ Opposed By Gingrich And DeSantis

Ron DeSantis hasn’t even formally launched his 2024 presidential campaign yet, but it’s already clear how he would rule if he won. As governor of Florida, he’s sung the glories of freedom all while punishing those he hates. So when word that a Republican state legislator proposed a chilling bill that would require bloggers writing about elected state officials to register with the state, it didn’t seem far-fetched to imagine DeSantis himself supporting it. Alas, it’s so extreme that it’s being met with pushback from such progressive figures as…Newt Gingrich…and even Meatball Ron.

Let’s start with the former Speaker of the House and GOP boogeyman of the Clinton era. Gingrich — a man so principled he divorced his first wife when she had cancer and left his second after she’d been diagnosed with MS — was not only appalled at the authoritarian idea of restricting a free press, but also that a Republican in the year 2023 could dream it up.

“The idea that bloggers criticizing a politician should register with the government is insane. it is an embarrassment that it is a Republican state legislator in Florida who introduced a bill to that effect,” Gingrich tweeted. “He should withdraw it immediately.”

It’s a pretty insane bill, even for a guy who openly complained about how easy it was for Georgians to vote. As proposed by one Jason Brodeur, it would require any bloggers covering state officials to register with “the appropriate office” five days after their first post. But that’s just the start. They’d have to file monthly reports if they continue to blog about them. Failure to file reports could lead to $2,500 fines per story — well above what anyone’s being paid per blog.

Given DeSantis’ open hostility towards the free press — and his silence when the bill was proposed — it was assumed that it had his tacit approval. And yet, miraculously, it does not. As per Mediaite, DeSantis belatedly distanced himself from the bill during a press briefing on Tuesday.

“There’s articles with my face on the article, saying that ‘Oh, they’re going to have to, bloggers are going to have to register for the state’ and it’s like attributing it [the bill] to me,” DeSantis. “That’s not anything that I’ve ever supported, I don’t support [it].”

Or at least he doesn’t support it now. DeSantis is MAGA Republican lawmaker, whereas Gingrich hails from a very different and very bygone version of the GOP, when there was at least a modicum of respect for journalists and their rights. Maybe DeSantis will change his tune.

(Via Vanity Fair and Mediaite)

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