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Home » DeSantis’ big Twitter announcement turned into a big Twitter mess

DeSantis’ big Twitter announcement turned into a big Twitter mess

Disastrous. Humiliating. A dumpster fire.

Those are the best ways to describe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ big Twitter Spaces announcement on Wednesday that he is running for president in 2024.

DeSantis threw Twitter owner Elon Musk what could have been a perfect pass to take his platform to a game-changing level, and the Twitter owner dropped the ball.

After a year of turmoil and severe staff cuts, Musk found out what happens when you try to take on more than you can handle. He might be the richest guy around, but he might not be the smartest.

What a mess it was.

The much-anticipated (and bragged-about) announcement was supposed to start at 6 p.m. Eastern. Only a half-million people were tuned in. Not bad, but that number would be considered blah by most cable news shows. And yet even that meager attendance was too much for Twitter.

The Twitter Spaces announcement started and stopped. It disappeared for long moments, then came back for just seconds with random voices talking about what was going wrong and wondering how to fix the problem. At one point, Musk could be heard saying, “The servers are straining somewhat.”

Musk ended up sending out a link for a new Twitter Space and by the time DeSantis made his announcement — 25 minutes after it was supposed to start — around 100,000 people were tuned in.

That number eventually grew as the conversation continued, but not back to where it was at 6 p.m.

Host David Sacks and Musk talked about the original half-million number and how they were “breaking the internet” and how it was “probably the biggest room that’s ever been assembled online.”

Media reporter Brian Stelter noted on Twitter that “YouTube and other companies have been live-streaming video to millions simultaneously for years.”

And, as I mentioned earlier, only a few hundred thousand people watching such a major announcement like this would be a reason for concern for a cable news network.

The Fox News website had a field day. A headline called it “Amateur Hour.” A banner in blaring red appeared on the homepage that said: “PROGRAMMING ALERT: Want to actually see and hear Ron DeSantis? Tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. ET”

Fox News’ Trey Gowdy interviewed DeSantis and said on air, “Fox News will not crash during the interview.”

As far as the Twitter announcement, DeSantis sounded stiff; he was clearly reading from a prepared statement. The whole point, I thought, was a chance for DeSantis to sound natural. He sounded just the opposite, and it was even more noticeable because this was an audio-only announcement. After, during the part where Sacks and Musk talked to DeSantis, the energy was low and awkward and, again, stiff.

Surely, DeSantis could not have been happy that his announcement was ruined by all the glitches, but this will be just a blip for him. He will have plenty of more opportunities to speak to the country.

But for Musk, this is a much bigger deal. And not in a good way. In one of the biggest moments during his Twitter ownership, his site fumbled and bumbled. How could he and his site not have anticipated the number of people who might tune in and, more importantly, how come his site could not handle what, truth be told, was not that big of a number? You have to wonder what potential advertisers are thinking at this moment.

CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy had a sharp point when he tweeted: “This whole Spaces event is centered on complaining about legacy media, while simultaneously failing horribly at replicating what legacy media does all day, every day.”

What’s interesting is there have been several stories of late that Musk and Twitter might ultimately overtake Rupert Murdoch and Fox News as the leader of conservative media.

In a new piece, Axios’ Sara Fischer and Mike Allen write, “Fox News used to be the place where conservatives went to break news. But the right-wing ecosystem has turned on the network, leaving Twitter as the center of media gravity for the Republican Party just as the 2024 election heats up.”

You could see why the Axios reporters would write that.

For starters, Fox News fired Tucker Carlson, who is hugely popular among his fans and consistently delivered some of the best viewership numbers the network has ever had. Now that he is gone, Fox News’ ratings in Carlson’s old 8 p.m. Eastern time slot have significantly decreased. Carlson is eventually going to host a new show. On Twitter. (That’s assuming Wednesday night’s Twitter glitches with DeSantis didn’t spook him.)

And then there was DeSantis choosing Twitter to announce his candidacy for president. He also released his first campaign ad on Twitter before talking with Musk.

Now, to be clear, DeSantis isn’t dumb. He didn’t shun Fox News. That campaign ad was given to Fox News first. And he appeared Wednesday night on the network — in Carlson’s old slot, in fact — and spoke with fill-in host Trey Gowdy. It was his first TV interview after making his announcement.

But it wasn’t his first interview. That and the big announcement, even with its glitches, came on Twitter with Musk.

Fischer and Allen wrote, “In choosing to bypass Fox News for Twitter, DeSantis is sending a signal to conservatives that Fox News is just as much a part of the mainstream media as CNN or any other news network.”

Maybe. But at least Fox News doesn’t crash when a half million people turn on its channel.

While he’s waiting to do his new Twitter show, maybe fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson can do one of those fixer-upper shows for HGTV. The Daily Mail ran exclusive photos Wednesday of Carlson rebuilding his homemade studio inside a barn at his summer home in Maine. Carlson had converted the barn into a studio, and he used to do his Fox News show from there in the summer.

So why is he rebuilding?

Because Fox News came and took away most of his stuff. After all, it was their stuff.

Construction manager Patrick Feeney told The Daily Mail’s Shawn Cohen, “Fox came in last week and got all their (expletive) out of there. They took the set and everything, all the equipment, the chairs, the desk, the fake walls.”

Carlson plans on doing a show for Twitter, but the construction manager told The Daily Mail it might take some time to get the barn back to being studio-ready.

Check out the photos. They are … interesting.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley during a campaign gathering Wednesday in Bedford, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Get ready for another CNN presidential candidate town hall. No, not with Donald Trump. This one is with another Republican candidate. CNN announced on Wednesday a town hall with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. It will be held June 4 in Iowa. Jake Tapper will be the moderator.

You would assume that CNN is making pitches to have other candidates for future town halls. The list of Republican candidates is growing. The other more notable candidates include DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. We’ll see if others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, will run, too.

The Los Angeles Times has a newsletter called “Essential California.” As its name suggests, it focuses on matters of interest and importance to Californians. Kent Nishimura is a Times staff photographer based in Washington, covering politics and national news.

His work — words and photos — led this week’s “Essential California” newsletter and offered excellent insight into the power of photojournalism. It concentrated on 89-year-old California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose health issues are raising concerns about her ability to govern.

Nishimura wrote, “Since her recent return, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her staff have used every trick in the book to stay out of sight and at a distance from the press.”

What followed was a series of photos of Feinstein in and around the Senate building.

Nishimura wrote, “As Feinstein continues the light schedule her office says is recommended by her doctor, the press has been respectfully but dutifully seeking out information and insights that can shed light on her ability to do her job. Letting the public see her through photos is a big part of that.

Therein lies the importance of what journalists who report on our nation’s capital do: We mind the business of the people whose decisions change reality on the ground.”

Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman shot and killed 19 students and two teachers, and wounded 17 others.

Here is some of the notable coverage:

Today’s Hot Type focuses on legendary singer Tina Turner, who died Wednesday. She was 83.

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