On Tuesday we reported on how two Democratic strategists notorious for getting it wrong, one of who has over a million Twitter followers, embarrassed themselves with the sharing of a June 2021 Salon piece about legislation signed by Ron DeSantis at the time that they thought 1) was a new news story (it wasn’t, obviously), and 2) treated as the gospel truth though in actuality the piece was a deliberate distortion about what DeSantis actually signed into law.
For those who missed it, the original tweet, seen below via screengrab – still up on Twitter as of this writing, went viral. Like the tweet, the story, too, began recirculating and was shared by the likes of the frauds at The Lincoln Project as well as former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.):
— Sister Toldjah 🌻 (@sistertoldjah) July 7, 2022
Though the claims in the headline about the bill were debunked by RedState and even by Politifact of all places a year ago, the original story was never corrected and the “disinformation experts” at Twitter have allowed it to be shared tens of thousands of times without slapping any sort of misinformation label on it. Other journalists even got in on the action by sharing the link recently, seemingly ignorant of the fact that the story was a year old and also completely misrepresented the legislation.
Though two reporters – ABC News’ Jay O’Brien (who used to report for Florida’s CBS 12) and Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch – both alerted Cooper and anyone else who shared the story that it was inaccurate, the post remained up.
At some point over the last couple of days, however, the uproar over the recirculating of the story got the attention of CNN’s Daniel Dale. Though he’s more well-known for acting in the roles of both enabler and apologist for Democrats, Dale nevertheless contacted Salon’s editors about the year-old story. They ultimately admitted the headline needed to be updated.
It went from “DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state” to “DeSantis signs bill requiring survey of Florida students, professors on their political views”:
Salon has now changed a 2021 headline that falsely said “DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state.” The survey is optional for students/profs and anonymous (though some have expressed concerns about potential to be IDed). pic.twitter.com/EIf589mInO
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 7, 2022
Here’s the response Dale received from Salon’s executive editor on why the decision was made to change it:
Here’s a comment from Salon’s executive editor, who says the editor of the article in 2021 defended the bad headline, but the publication has now concluded it “conveyed a misleading impression of what the Florida law actually said, and did not live up to our editorial standards.” pic.twitter.com/IuauZzaPML
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 7, 2022
“Conveyed a misleading impression”? I do believe that was the entire point, sir. I mean, Salon’s underlying message with the original piece was “who cares about facts when there are false narratives to spin and clicks to be had?”
In any event, though it’s good to see this change made, it shouldn’t have taken over a year – and a lot of public shaming – for it to happen. Further, since Twitter likes to claim they are in the business of trying to keep their platform free of fake news, they should have flagged it ages ago. In an ideal world that’s exactly what they would have done. But because the original “story” meshed right in line with Twitter’s left-wing biases, they allowed it to stand despite the fact that it was false.
The New York Post’s Twitter account was frozen for two weeks in October 2020 by the Twitter Powers That Be ostensibly on grounds that their story on emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop was fake news. It wasn’t, in fact, fake news, but Salon’s was – and yet the latter’s was allowed to stay up and be shared over and over again.