Fox News’s Dagen McDowell unexpectedly slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday for focusing on culture war issues like Disney instead of economic issues.
Speaking on Fox News’s “Hannity,” she argued that his focus on Disney, which he’s accused of undermining the state’s parental rights campaign, is hindering his potential 2024 presidential campaign.
“Ron DeSantis needs an economic plan if he’s gonna run for president. Ron DeSantis needs an energy plan if he’s gonna run for president. And he oughta be focusing on that. And this doesn’t do that,” she said, prompting pushback from host Sean Hannity.
“Wait a minute – you don’t think the issue of inappropriate, age-inappropriate sexual material or gender identity information or CRT, that has to get out of our schools? These kids can’t read, write, do math, science, or know a thing about computers,” he said.
But McDowell pushed back by noting that these are ultimately local issues.
“Guess what. Parents vote, but the schools are a state and local issue. And you know what people care about? Inflation, because people’s wages – adjusting for inflation – have gone down about 4 percent under Joe Biden,” she said.
“And Ron DeSantis does not have an economic plan as of yet. And today, Disney just pulled a $1 billion investment out of Florida. And these are six-figure jobs, and he’s picked a fight with Disney,” she added.
Hannity ultimately conceded her point but pushed back a little by arguing that kids are being “indoctrinated,” but McDowell wasn’t impressed.
“He’s running for president, but there are a lot of big potholes DeSantis needs to fill,” she replied.
There’s just one problem. Disney reportedly didn’t pull a $1 investment out of Florida because of the governor. It did so for other reasons documented below by a dedicated Disney reporter:
As I’ve been saying: One of the country’s top Disney reporters (yes, this is a beat) just confirmed Ron DeSantis had little to do w/ the Orlando project cancelation.
(1) Too costly
(2) Relocation issues
(3) Iger hated it
If they lie about this, what else are they lying about? pic.twitter.com/c2arCBgocZ
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) May 19, 2023
In the news segment above, the unnamed reporter started by announcing that Disney is abandoning what’s known as the Lake Nona project.
“The second breaking Disney news update I have for you guys is [Disney] Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro finally releasing a statement that we’ve been expecting for a while here regarding the Lake Nona project. Disney is officially abandoning the project,” he said.
“For those of you who don’t know, the Lake Nona project was previous CEO Bob Chapek’s plan to build a new Disney headquarters inside of Florida in Nona, a very nice, planned community that’s up and coming that you have near the airport in Orlando. It’s a beautiful area,” he added.
The reporter then slammed the media for blatantly “spinning” what happened in order to use it against DeSantis.
“The media is spinning this cancellation as being due to DeSantis and the hostile business environment which he helped to create. The reason I’m skeptical that DeSantis really had so much to do with this cancelation is because … I’ve been hearing from months that this is just a Chapek-era project that [new top Disney boss Bob] Iger wants nothing to do with,” he said.
“Look at how fast these Chapek-era projects are just crumbling, turning to dust. You know, the reality is Disney has huge bills coming due on the streaming side. They’re having issues on the earning side of things, paying to build a big new campus, a big new headquarters in Florida, making people move from California, which is very unpopular internally and part of why Chapek was so unpopular inside the company. Iger’s wiping his hands clean of this whole thing,” he added.
Despite this honest reporting, the vast majority of the media have been portraying Disney’s move out of Florida as an economically devastating consequence of the governor’s culture war battles:
Read far enough into the story and you’ll find the real reasons Disney pulled the plug: 1) It was a Chapek brainchild which Iger hated; 2) affected employees didn’t want to move; 3) Disney is losing money and the first two reasons make this an easy cost-cutting move. https://t.co/fpezHiJfO9
— Varad Mehta (@varadmehta) May 18, 2023
Dovetailing back to the Fox News discussion, network contributor Tomi Lahren continued it by stressing the importance of cultural issues.
“I think protecting children for generations to come is a worthy cause, and I think if Republicans, conservatives don’t do that, history will remember that we didn’t stand up for children,” she said.
But, she continued, this doesn’t mean McDowell didn’t have a point about the need for an economic plan.
“So you can walk and chew gum at the same time. We need an economic plan — I agree with you. Americans care about inflation — I agree with you. However, we have to fight the culture wars too, because the number of times that we’ve sat back and not fought those, the left continues to get more ground. That’s why we’re talking about grown men sexy dancing for kiddos right now, because we didn’t fight the fight,” she said.
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