How do we know Ron DeSantis will run for president in 2024? For one thing, he’s about to clobber Charlie Crist in a gubernatorial re-election in one of the key Electoral College states. For another, we know DeSantis will have close to $100 million in his war chest after the midterms, which isn’t going to just sit on the shelf until 2028.

How do we know that the media knows that DeSantis will run for president in 2024? They’re already ginning up ridiculous hit pieces, such as this one today at the New York Times which looks at DeSantis’ one-year teaching gig at a private school twenty years ago.

DeSantis was a cocky jock at 23 in the year between his Yale undergrad studies and his Harvard Law admission, the Gray Lady informs us. He partied with students, although we find out later that the incidents apparently took place after graduation, when DeSantis was heading back to the Ivy League anyway. And he might have been passively racist, says one former student, although the evidence there seems pretty thin:

Danielle Pompey remembers Mr. DeSantis, a Florida native and recent Yale grad, being an outsider like her, a New Yorker with a thick accent to match. But Ms. Pompey, who is Black and was on an academic scholarship, said she felt that Mr. DeSantis treated her worse because of her race.

“Mr. Ron, Mr. DeSantis, was mean to me and hostile toward me,” said Ms. Pompey, who graduated in 2003. “Not aggressively, but passively, because I was Black.”

“Like in history class, he was trying to play devil’s advocate that the South had good reason to fight that war, to kill other people, over owning people — Black people,” she said. “He was trying to say, ‘It’s not OK to own people, but they had property, businesses.’”

So DeSantis allegedly used the Socratic method and a dumb argument — yes, it’s dumb, even if somewhat common — as a rookie teacher at 23, two decades ago. …And? 

Well, wait! There’s a video, the New York Times helpfully informs us. Except that it’s not a video of DeSantis, but — I kid you not — it’s a fake video by an unhappy student that was meant to satirize DeSantis:

Another student who requested anonymity because he feared repercussions for his job said Mr. DeSantis’s takes on the Civil War were the subject of so much talk that students made a satirical video about him at the time for the video yearbook.

The video, which was reviewed by The Times, includes a short snippet in which a voice purporting to be Mr. DeSantis is heard saying: “The Civil War was not about slavery! It was about two competing economic systems. One was in the North. …” while a student dozes in class. (A student voiced the role of Mr. DeSantis, because students did not have any actual footage of him, according to a student who helped put it together.)

I’m not sure which is more damning — the fact that the NYT reporter thought that this faked video was worth “reviewing,” or that the editor of the news section decided to keep it in the article. It’s not a recording of DeSantis. We have no idea whether it’s even an accurate recollection of what DeSantis argued, and neither does the Times.  It’s a literal example of “fake but accurate.” It would be as if 60 Minutes II had admitted up front that they faked the Killian memos but presented them anyway as evidence of what George W. Bush was really like decades earlier. (As veterans of Rathergate will remember, that ended up being Dan Rather’s fallback position.)

The fact that the NYT felt they needed that in their piece to make an argument against DeSantis shows how weak that argument actually is. They’re digging up classroom arguments from twenty years ago in an attempt to paint DeSantis as a racist and as a predator, based on nothing much at all other than innuendo and puerile prep-school-student satire.

It’s doubly laughable given the Times’ refusal to look into the Bidens’ corrupt activities in the run-up to the 2020 election and their active suppression of the information from Hunter Biden’s laptop. It took them 18 months to get around to supposedly corroborating the latter as real after having helped promote the idea that it was “Russian disinformation.” The NYT refused to conduct a factual investigation of Biden Inc or Tara Reade’s allegations of predatory behavior in 2019 and 2020, but are happy to report on a faked video’s claims about DeSantis.  It’s embarrassing, or at least it should be, if the NYT editorial corps had a shred of journalistic dignity. That apparently departed with James Bennet.

Get ready for a lot more of “fake but accurate” when the midterms end and attention turns to 2024. This is just the opening salvo.

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