Can Ron DeSantis Avoid Meeting the Press?

“We fully expect candidates will be rewriting the traditional rules of access and how they interact with journalists,” said Rick Klein, political director of ABC News, which featured Mr. Cohen in “Power Trip,” a documentary series about young campaign reporters.

Could a presidential candidate realistically avoid the mainstream media entirely? “I don’t think it’s been done before,” Mr. Klein said. “But I think the last couple of years in politics has taught us there’s lots of rules that get broken.”

Mr. DeSantis’s strategy would face its biggest test if he pursued a presidential bid, a decision he has so far demurred on.

In Florida, Mr. DeSantis occasionally spoke with local TV affiliates and entertained shouted-out questions from the state’s press corps. But a national contest would require him to introduce himself to a broader audience, and while a primary race would focus on Republican voters, it is often independents and centrists who decide the fine margins of the Electoral College. Although partisan podcasts and niche news sites are increasingly popular, few outlets can match the reach of traditional broadcast and cable networks.

“You can’t just talk to the friendly press and run TV ads and expect to win a nomination,” said Alex Conant, a partner at the consulting firm Firehouse Strategies who served as communications director to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

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“If you’re going to get elected president, you have to talk to people who have never watched Fox News,” said Mr. Conant, who believes the Republican Party’s underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterms was partly due to an overreliance on speaking only to its base.

Representatives of Mr. DeSantis did not return a request for comment.

Mr. Trump pioneered some of these aggressive tactics, barring journalists from a number of publications, including BuzzFeed News and The Washington Post, from attending some rallies in his 2016 campaign, and pulling out of a planned general-election debate in October 2020. His administration revoked a CNN reporter’s press pass and barred disfavored journalists from some public events; his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, declared the media as “the opposition party.”


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