Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been the focus of sharp criticism for flying two planes of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, but it’s also brought him applause from the right and a deluge of air time on Fox News — a crucial metric as the jockeying for position in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination gets underway.
CNN’s Harry Enten broke down the numbers on CNN Newsroom Sunday, telling anchor Pamela Brown how the controversy was helping DeSantis raise his national profile.
“If there is something that Ron DeSantis knows how to do, it is to generate press,” said Enten.
And the numbers showed that the Florida governor had been successful. According to Enten, over the past six months, DeSantis was the clear leader among potential GOP presidential candidates other than former President Donald Trump in getting mentions on Fox News.
DeSantis had been mentioned 1,021 times, far ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence (585), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (442), and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley (161).
Those figures were only calculated through this past Thursday, and “this has only started,” Enten noted, so DeSantis’ numbers could continue to jump even higher.
“Ron DeSantis has managed to follow the Trump playbook,” Enten concluded. “Remember,Trump was able to generate all of that press ahead of his 2016 run, basically, was able to cannibalize all of that press. And it seems that Ron DeSantis is able to do something rather similar as we head into 2024.”
A New York Times analysis in March 2016 found that Trump had benefited from nearly $2 billion — that’s billion with a “b” — in free media by that point in the 2016 presidential race, more than doubling Hillary Clinton and far surpassing the rest of his Republican primary opponents combined. A 2018 study found that Trump’s overwhelming media presence did indeed contribute to his success by presenting “viability cues” that were “influential in setting the stage” during the primaries.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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