August 3, 2022

ABC’s “The View” has never been afraid of controversy and it has never shied away from hot topics or polarizing guests.

So it’s no surprise that in planning shows for the new season, which starts in September, “The View” invited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to come on. DeSantis’ name extends far beyond his home state and he could end up being the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

But it’s also no surprise that DeSantis said no.

Fox News Digital’s Lindsay Kornick reported, along with a screenshot of the email “The View” sent to DeSantis’ camp, that the show said it would be “honored” to have the governor come on the panel for a guest spot. The email pitched Desantis on the show’s popularity among women voters and its solid ratings on daytime TV. It also said that by September, the panel will have a new conservative co-host. (It’s expected to be former Trump communications director Alyssa Farrah Griffin.)

But the pitch fell short.

Again, no surprise that DeSantis turned down the request because, let’s be honest, you could see such an interview going sideways. It’s hard to imagine co-host Joy Behar and DeSantis even sitting at the same table.

Then again, it would be nice to think DeSantis could sit down and face some tough but respectful questions instead of ducking some pushback on his beliefs. And if he does have designs on national politics, he absolutely should face some pertinent questions and be able to confidently defend his positions — regardless of who is asking the questions.

You could even make the argument that it would be a good public relations move for DeSantis to go on and play nice (or at least not lose his cool) while giving his view of the country.

But it’s not happening. His camp even got petty by going public with the letter they sent back to “The View.” DeSantis deputy press secretary Bryan Griffin tweeted out the response given to “The View.” The email said, “Which of the following statements from the hosts of the View do you recommend our team consider when deciding if the interview will be a genuine pursuit of the truth? Or worth the time?”

The email then listed four instances when someone on the panel criticized DeSantis in the past. For example, the email said that co-host Sunny Hostin called him “Death-Santis” and said, “I think he’s a fascist and a bigot.”

Another example was when Behar said, “You’re just sort of calling (DeSantis) a negligent, homicidal sociopath because that’s what he is.”

The letter then said, “We will pass on this offer.” It added, “Also please  note — we don’t coordinate appearances or events of a political nature from the official office. Our role is to serve the people of Florida.”

Then, if for no other reason than to troll “The View” or rile up the base, Griffin tweeted, “.@TheView emailed our office on Friday asking for us to arrange an appearance from Governor DeSantis on the show. ‘We would be honored,’ they wrote. Thoughts?”

I don’t think DeSantis’ office was really looking for serious thoughts on whether or not they should appear on the show.

Big news

People walk past a billboard welcoming U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taipei, Taiwan, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Two major news stories on Tuesday. First, CNN’s Tierney Sneed and Zachary Cohen with “Jan. 6 text messages wiped from phones of key Trump Pentagon officials.”

The other big international story was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi traveling to Taiwan. The Washington Post’s Lily Kuo wrote that Pelosi went to Taiwan “defying Chinese warnings against visiting the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its territory and setting the stage for a sharp escalation in tensions between China and the United States.”

Pelosi penned an op-ed for the Post explaining the reason for her visit. She wrote, “We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience. Taiwan is a leader in governance: currently, in addressing the covid-19 pandemic and championing environmental conservation and climate action. It is a leader in peace, security and economic dynamism: with an entrepreneurial spirit, culture of innovation and technological prowess that are envies of the world. Yet, disturbingly, this vibrant, robust democracy — named one of the freest in the world by Freedom House and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen — is under threat.”

Pelosi went on to write,”We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself. … By traveling to Taiwan, we honor our commitment to democracy: reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan — and all democracies — must be respected.”

Writing for her 5-Minute Fix newsletter, The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips brought up this interesting point: “This is also arguably personal politics for the California Democrat. Pelosi’s San Francisco district has a sizable Asian American population, including Taiwanese voters.”

Meanwhile, in a headline that might make you do a double-take, The National Review (not exactly a publication that usually backs anything Pelosi does) wrote: “Pelosi Must Go to Taiwan.” The editors of the Review wrote, “Much as we disagree with the speaker on most issues, on this question she has been stalwart. Pelosi, by making this trip against the background of Chinese threats, would do a service to her country, Taiwan, and all nations with an interest in resisting a totalitarian party-state’s military aggression. She must go to Taiwan.”

And this …

Wow, check out this opening paragraph in The New York Times from Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater: “Two Arizona Republicans recruited by allies of former President Donald J. Trump to join an effort to keep him in office after he lost the 2020 election grew so concerned about the plan that they told lawyers working on it that they feared their actions could be seen as treason, according to emails reviewed by The New York Times.”

Haberman and Broadwater add, “The scheme was part of a broader bid — one of the longest running and most complicated that Mr. Trump undertook as he sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — to falsely manufacture a victory for him by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim that he had been the true winner. Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality, and the emails, which have not been previously reported, were the latest indication that other key players also knew they were on shaky legal ground, and took pains to fabricate a rationale that could justify their actions.”

Harmful words

Kari Lake, who is running for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor, at a rally last month. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

While we’re talking about Arizona, check out this photo tweeted by Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. (Her primary was Tuesday.) In the photo, Lake is standing in the middle of maybe a dozen or so journalists carrying cameras and microphones. Lake wrote in the tweet, “We the People vs the Enemy of the State.”

“Enemy of the State.” That’s how she describes the media. Now the really disheartening part: Lake was a journalist for nearly 30 years. She was a  longtime evening news anchor at KSAZ-TV in Phoenix.

Imagine what some of her colleagues, people she worked alongside all those years, think of her now dangerously and irresponsibly calling them and the rest of the media the “enemy of the state.”

Meanwhile, Jon Allsop’s latest piece for the Columbia Journalism Review: “Kari Lake, and the danger of local news anchors jumping into politics.”

And speaking of Lake, Mediaite’s Alex Griffing reports on a heated exchange that Lake had with NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard over alleged voter fraud. (Here’s a link to the exchange in which Hillyard does an impressive job.) Oh, and one more: the Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts with “Win or lose, Kari Lake needs to back up her claim of 2022 election fraud.”

Making it personal

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart has been vocal and active in his support of veterans and was very outspoken last week when Republicans voted down the Honoring Our PACT Act, which is meant to provide aid to veterans exposed to burn pits during their military service. Stewart went on an angry and profanity-laced rant immediately following that vote. Since then, he has appeared on numerous cable news networks and on Twitter, where he continued to criticize Republicans such as Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Texas’ Ted Cruz. Toomey snapped back, calling Stewart a “pseudo-celebrity.”

Appearing on CNN ahead of another Senate vote Tuesday that passed the PACT Act this time, Stewart was asked if he felt some Republicans were voting no because of Stewart, that it was a personal pushback against him.

Stewart said, “Oh wow. If that’s the case, that may be more pathetic than them fist-bumping after denying health care benefits to veterans. If they’re so fragile and so weak that somebody coming out on Twitter and correcting them in an impolitic way makes them change their votes, I don’t know, then maybe they need to be somewhere else where their power doesn’t affect people’s lives so directly.”

Looking to rebound

Not a great moment in time for CNN just as new boss Chris Licht is settling in as chairman. Ratings are down year over year and The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin reports CNN’s profitability is on pace this year for about $956.8 million. According to his sources, Mullin reports it would mark the first time since 2016 that CNN was below $1 billion in profit.

Mullin wrote, “Two people familiar with CNN’s operations said the network’s initial 2022 profitability target was $1.1 billion, which Mr. Licht is on track to miss by more than $100 million. But another person familiar with the matter said that by the accounting of company executives, Mr. Licht was on track to meet a profitability target of roughly $950 million for the year, since the network’s initial budget didn’t account for losses associated with launching the CNN+ streaming service.”

Then Mullin got to the heart of the matter with this line: “However the numbers are crunched, inside CNN the hunt is on for new revenue.”

Meanwhile, CNN is still trying to figure out what to do with the 9 p.m. weeknight opening left when Chris Cuomo was fired in December. Axios’ Sara Fischer reports that Licht is considering multiple anchors instead of one permanent one. Fischer wrote, “It’s one of a few different options he’s looking at ahead of the show’s relaunch this fall.”

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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