A recent Vice News story targets Sarasota County, Florida to demonize the mainstream conservatives there and ultimately disempower them. Boasting more than 10 million Facebook followers, Vice is using its platform to turn its liberal, millennial audience against conservative communities and activism.
As the headline reads, the article explains “how Sarasota became the conspiracy capital of the United States.” It’s so named for its “dystopian” school mask-mandate waivers and efforts to perform a voter canvas. It’s also apparently home to some of America’s furthest-right figures. These include Charlie Kirk, “head of the pro-Trump, far-right group Turning Point USA,” and Michael Flynn, who’s so far-right that he once served as former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
As to school mask-mandate waivers, they’re not “dystopian” when there’s little scientific research showing that children are safer wearing masks than not.
The story then takes issue with a parent’s role in writing “the Parent Bill of Rights, controversial legislation that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in July,” it says. “The law seeks to transfer more power away from government and into the hands of parents, and DeSantis cited it when he implemented a ban on school districts bringing in mask mandates.”
Vice is offended by parents having more say than the government over their own children’s upbringing.
The article concludes with one final smear, this time of voter canvassing, which it calls a “part of a wider effort to undermine the electoral process.” Voter canvassing is a normal measure used to ensure election integrity which (hypothetically) either party could engage in. Vice finds it troublesome because it undercuts the Left’s agenda to have as many people vote as possible, no matter how unqualified to do so they may be.
By all accounts, Sarasota County, Florida is a mainstream place, politically speaking, and more of a sleepy, coastal retirement haven than a political hotbed. The problem for Vice is that there’s strength in the numbers of its residents who are active, prominent mainstream conservatives. By tarnishing them as “conspiracy theorists, insurrectionists and election truthers,” Vice brainwashes its readers into a false perception of a county that only marginally went for Trump in last year’s election.