March 29, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the coronavirus outbreak took a dangerous new turn over the weekend.
The governor’s press office barred Mary Ellen Klas, a respected capitol reporter for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, from a coronavirus briefing on Saturday.
No explanation was given, and Klas was told she could watch the briefing live, with no opportunity to ask questions.
For a governor who speaks often of his devotion to constitutional principles, DeSantis should understand the anti-constitutional nature of what his office did.
We cannot think of another time in Florida’s history when it is more important for the public to be informed, and for government to be accountable by answering difficult questions.
By excluding a reporter representing two of the largest media organizations in the state, DeSantis froze out organizations that provide information to a huge chunk of Florida — particularly hard-hit Miami. People there and throughout the state are relying on for timely information, and that includes questions from reporters, not just canned statements from the government.