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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) just signed the state's restrictive new voting bill into law, but local reporters who wanted to see him do so evidently had to tune into Fox News.
The Florida governor signed the controversial new law on Thursday morning that implements new restrictions on drop boxes and requires voters to sign up for mail-in ballots more often, among other measures, Axios reports. But DeSantis received additional criticism after signing it not in front of a whole group of reporters from various outlets, but live on Fox & Friends as an exclusive to the network.
"Local media outlets told CNN that they were not allowed to go inside the morning signing event and that it was a Fox News exclusive," CNN writes. This, according to The Washington Post, "came as a surprise to local journalists, who had arrived to cover the event."
NEW: News media is barred from entry at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of controversial elections bill, SB 90. DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske says bill signing is a “Fox exclusive” pic.twitter.com/NAos6kmtQS
— Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) May 6, 2021
DeSantis' decision to make this bill signing a Fox exclusive drew criticism from reporters, with CBS News' Kathryn Watson writing, "If I worked at Fox, I would refuse to cover the bill signing unless all my colleagues at other outlets could. It's the right thing to do." The New York Times' Maggie Haberman also wrote, "Can't say I've ever heard of an act like a bill signing being treated like a commodity to trade with Fox."
The Society of Professional Journalists' Florida chapter also slammed the move, with its president saying, "Actions like this openly defy against a free press. We condemn DeSantis' office barring journalists from doing their job for the sake of good TV." A Fox News spokesperson in a statement said that Fox & Friends "did not request or mandate" that the governor's event or interview "be exclusive to Fox News Media entities."