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Fox News Mentions of DeSantis Outpace Trump; Could Impact 2024 Race

Fox News mentions of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis outpaced former President Donald Trump’s mentions for the first time this year last week, according to Media Matters for America, a liberal organization that monitors conservative media.[0] From March 5-11, DeSantis received at least 177 mentions while Trump had 142, the first time DeSantis has passed Trump in Fox mentions since the start of the year.[0]

The shift could have an impact on the contest for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.[0] The Murdochs, who possess ownership over Fox and other conservative media outlets such as the New York Post, have been perceived to be favoring DeSantis for a while now.[0] Meanwhile, Trump hasn't appeared on the network at all this year, with his last appearance being an extended interview with Fox host Sean Hannity broadcast over two episodes of Hannity on September 21 and 22, 2022.[1]

DeSantis released his memoir, The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Survival, on February 28 and has since gone on a book tour widely interpreted as a shadow presidential campaign.[2] According to BookScan, Courage sold 94,300 copies in its first week, far outstripping first-week book sales from other potential and actual Republican presidential candidates.[2]

On March 5, DeSantis spoke to a crowd of 1,000 at the Air Force One Pavilion in Simi Valley, where he touted his record of achievement in Florida, claiming it was the number one destination for Americans who were looking for a better way of life.[3] He also discussed his plans to run for president in an election cycle beyond 2024.[4]

At the same time, a small but vocal group of protesters gathered at the library’s entrance on Presidential Drive to let DeSantis know his “radical agenda” was not welcome in California.[5] They carried signs with messages such as “Ron Be Gone” and “Pro-Choice, Pro-Love and Pro-Science.”[5] The protesters received several honks in support from passersby, though the day was not without crime: around 7:30 a.m., library employees noticed one of the entrance signs to the library was vandalized with the words “Ron DeFascist” spray-painted in black.[5]

Two counter-protesters stood nearby in support of DeSantis, and the governor himself did not allude to a potential presidential run.

0. “DeSantis outpaces Trump in major Republican primary measure: The number of mentions on Fox” South Florida Sun Sentinel, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-ne-desantis-outpaces-trump-fox-20230315-uxfnzu7ix5a2nnopl4heehkt4q-story.html

1. “Ron DeSantis earned more Fox News mentions than Donald Trump last week” Florida Politics, 14 Mar. 2023, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/595261-ron-desantis-earned-more-fox-news-mentions-than-donald-trump-last-week

2. “Fox News mentions of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis outpaced Trump for the first time this year” Media Matters for America, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/fox-news-mentions-florida-gov-ron-desantis-outpaced-trump-first-time-year

3. “Ron DeSantis shows off his home field, waxes on baseball days” Fox News, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/media/ron-desantis-shows-home-field-waxes-baseball-days

4. “Ron DeSantis plays catch with Fox News host during interview on possible 2024 presidential run” AOL, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.aol.com/ron-desantis-plays-catch-fox-180122879.html

5. “DeSantis knocks CA governance” Thousand Oaks Acorn, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.toacorn.com/articles/desantis-knocks-ca-governance/

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