Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign launch on Twitter was nothing but disastrous and not well attended. But on Fox News, DeSantis falsely claimed he had a “huge audience” that broke the platform.
Here’s how CNN’s Oliver Darcy described what happened:
For about 25 minutes, Musk and venture capitalist David Sacks struggled before an assembled audience of only a few hundred thousand people to get the audio up and running. The sound repeatedly cut in and out, ultimately leading to Musk ending the Spaces event and starting a fresh one under Sacks' account. That ultimately solved the issue, perhaps because an even smaller audience of a couple hundred thousand users showed up to listen to DeSantis.
Regardless, by then it didn't matter. The event had been savaged by commentators from across the ideological spectrum. DeSantis' announcement had become the worst thing a presidential announcement can become: a joke.
The New York Times points out how the launch was a ratings flop as well as a technical one:
As of Thursday, a total of 3.4 million people had listened to the Space or a recording of it, according to Twitter’s numbers.
Those figures fell short of reaching 10 million people [as DeSantis had predicted] and also were far from being “the biggest room on social media” compared with past livestreams.
Consider that a 2016 Facebook Live event, featuring two BuzzFeed employees placing rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded, drew more than 800,000 concurrent viewers and a total of five million views within hours of its conclusion. The 2017 livestream of a pregnant giraffe on YouTube brought in five million viewers a day.
According to The Hill, Tucker Carlson got 57 million views on Twitter in less than 24 hours.
Not surprisingly, “Governor SafeSpace” later took to Fox News, where host Trey Gowdy let DeSantis rewrite the history of what was elsewhere dubbed the #DeSaster.
Gowdy began the interview by taking a swipe at Twitter which seems to be going after Fox’s right-wing rein, both in hosting the DeSantis announcement and in hosting Tucker Carlson. Gowdy quipped, “I can’t promise you that I won’t crash, but Fox News will not crash during this interview.".
But then Gowdy falsely suggested the Twitter #DeSaster only happened because so many people tried to watch.
GOWDY: Governor DeSantis, if you broke Twitter, my daughter and the Kardashians are going to be very upset with you. I don’t know if that’s what happened with Elon Musk or not. Maybe just had a big audience.
DeSantis picked up the falsehood and turned it into a big, fat lie:
DESANTIS: We had a huge audience, it did. It was the biggest it ever had. It did break the Twitter space. And so, we’re really excited with the enthusiasm.
Not surprisingly, Gowdy did not challenge the lie.
You can watch the gaslighting below, from the May 24, 2023 Fox News Tonight.