DeSantis taking hits from a surprising source over his attack on journalism
Florida Governor Rob DeSantis speaks at the University of Miami in 2019. (

Bills introduced in the Florida Republican-controlled state House and Senate inspired by Gov. Ron DeSantis calling for "media accountability" that will make it easier to sue journalists have drawn the ire of the Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political advocacy group funded by billionaire businessman Charles Koch and his late brother David, The Intercept reported.

“AFP works to make it easier for all Americans to speak up and hold political leaders accountable,” a spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity told The Intercept in regards to its lobbying against the bills. “One of the ways we do that is protect people from frivolous lawsuits targeting their speech by making it possible for judges to quickly review and dismiss bogus cases aimed at silencing opponents.”

“While our focus on this bill was on addressing the sections that would undermine those hard-won reforms, if those sections are changed, we will be neutral on the bill but not supportive of it,” the spokesperson went on. “We do not support the other aspects of the bill that are in direct opposition to the First Amendment.”

As The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein points out, the AFP's position is notable since it endorsed DeSantis during his reelection campaign last year. The group also announced that it would oppose Donald Trump's 2024 run for the White House.

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The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which is also funded by the Kochs, has opposed the legislation as well.

“HB 991 and SB 1220 are in direct conflict with decades of Supreme Court precedent setting a high bar on what public figures need to prove to sustain a lawsuit alleging defamation,” Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for FIRE, told The Intercept. “The bills would make it easier for public figures to intimidate their critics by threatening costly and time consuming litigation.”

Also criticizing the legislation are various conservative media figures, such as James Schwartzel, owner of the talk radio station 92.5 FOX News, which carries conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and others. Schwartzel reportedly called the legislation “a death knell for American traditions of free speech,” adding that it would lead to “the death of conservative talk throughout the state of Florida.”

Read the full report over at The Intercept.