A Florida journalist was caught on a hot mic Tuesday saying that her job is to make Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis feel "uncomfortable."
First Coast News reporter Atyia Collins was heard on a livestream telling someone at a DeSantis event in Jacksonville that her job is not about finding the truth, but about making DeSantis "uncomfortable."
"My job is to ask the tough questions and make him uncomfortable," Collins said.
The reporter was later heard telling a purported media colleague that one of her managers instructed her to "just run up to him" after an event and "just yell questions at him," seemingly to fluster DeSantis and capture shareable content. She expressed doubt that such tactics would be successful.
"He already doesn't like the media," Collins observed.
Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for DeSantis, later called out Collins, whom Pushaw described as a "journactivist."
"A journalist's job is to tell the truth. Of course, speaking truth to power can make the powerful uncomfortable, but 'discomfort' shouldn't be the goal — the goal should be revealing the truth," Pushaw explained. "Pushing biased narratives with the express goal to create discomfort isn't journalism."
Was DeSantis made uncomfortable?
If Collins' goal was to make DeSantis feel uncomfortable, she failed.
At the press conference, she asked DeSantis about a viral video that showed empty bookshelves at one Duval County school. The video was used to advance a narrative that DeSantis' government has instituted "book bans."
"That was a fake narrative. That [video] was not true," DeSantis responded.
"This is trying to create some narrative as if that they hadn't even put the books out yet to begin with. So there's no need for all of that stuff. What they're trying to do is they're trying to act like somehow, you know, we don't want books," he continued.
He went on to explain, "You hear people talk about felony charges. Understand, nothing we've done since I've been governor has done any of that. Now, there is longstanding Florida law that prohibits an adult from giving a school child pornography. Don’t we think that’s inappropriate to do? But that’s been a law for a long time."
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