Teen Vogue runs White House talking points to criticize DeSantis

September 20, 2022

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue (and Vanity Fair, which originally published the piece) are really stretching to find something wrong about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) flying refugees — illegal border crossers, perhaps — up to Martha’s Vineyard.

That all of those sent were immediately relocated to Cape Cod shows that liberal playgrounds might not be all that comfortable with those they think everyone else should have housed near them.

But then that’s to admire the political stunt that this was. As with Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-Texas) sending busloads to the Naval Observatory in D.C. Who didn’t giggle when Vice President Kamala Harris insisted the border is secure and the buses turned up outside her official residence?

It’s entirely possible to say it was good political campaigning and that we disapprove. So, too, that it was great and we approve! But that’s not what is done here. Instead, we get a  simple repetition of White House talking points on the issue. Pretty vapid ones. This is rather desperate smoke-blowing, but this is considered to be good enough for a piece of reporting?

The piece doesn’t even say, here’s the attempt by the White House to make this go away as a political problem. It presents it as real and useful criticism. Statements like this: “White House officials are reportedly discussing “litigation options,” which means they’re thinking of calling a lawyer. Really?

Or, “DeSantis, a 2024 shadow candidate who reportedly informed GOP donors of the idea in advance.” You mean, he told someone he was going to do this? The horrors! Or even: “the $12 million state program that DeSantis used to pay for the flights might have been funded by interest earnings on federal COVID aid.” When someone’s trying to discuss which budget line was used in spending government money then you know there’s a desperate attempt to say something, anything, except about the substance of the matter.

Again, our point is not on whether sending refugees was a good thing. It’s Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair’s desperate attempt to explain it away using whatever the White House has been pumping out. Both outlets are coming across as bag carriers for whatever response the administration is trying to cobble together.

Teen Vogue is part of the Conde Nast empire and ranks around No. 400 in the lists of U.S. news and media outlets. It looms rather larger in the reading of teen girls, for obvious enough reasons, and gains some 5.4 million visits a month from that position. Their own tagline for what they do is “Educating the influencers of the future”. Which is a noble goal and an aim that we share.

We just think that education requires rather more than repeating the taglines of politicians. Reporting on what politicians do, sure, that’s news. Claiming as news the excuses and explanations offered by politicians is not reporting, that’s bias. Because reporting would be evaluating the claims, not just repeating them. Especially when it’s the taglines of one side of the aisle which are treated as news, those of the other as claims to be argued with.


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