It’s not often reporters in the mainstream media will come to the defense of Ron DeSantis, but it actually happened on Tuesday after a couple of tweets about the Florida governor posted by accounts notorious for posting fake news went viral.
It all started after Democrat Jon Cooper, who has over a million followers and whose Twitter profile reads “Former National Finance Chair of Draft Biden 2016, Long Island Campaign Chair for @BarackObama & Majority Leader of Suffolk County Legislature, NY” wrote the below message falsely claiming that “DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state”:
ICYMI: Ron DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state https://t.co/cWzHyhhmIw
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) July 5, 2022
The tweet went viral not long after as other Democrat strategists and blue checks galore shared story (along with their “outrage!”) as if it was new and Very Concerning™ and further evidence that DeSantis is a “fascist” or something.
“Ron DeSantis is forcing teachers to identify their political affiliation to Florida’s GOP state legislatures,” proclaimedDash Dobrofsky (a self-described Democrat strategist, who has almost 60,000 followers), is Dash Dobrofsky. “If the Legislatures aren’t ‘satisfied’ with the answers, they can defund those public schools. This is not Freedom of Speech. Fascism is this. Vote for @CharlieCrist.”
His hot take-style videos were then continued by him about how DeSantis “just passed a bill” that forces public school teachers and students to “submit their political beliefs” to the government via a survey.
Though discerning readers and viewers would note that there are not “state legislatures” in Florida outside of the One in Tampa, and also that DeSantis can’t “pass a bill” (he can sign one into law), the bigger issues with these stories are a) they’re not true and b) the bill that was passed and signed into law related to politics in schools was from a year ago, as ABC News reporter Jay O’Brien noted:
This viral post is incorrect.
Additionally, the article refers to 2021’s law and claims that were debunked in that year. It even links to an article written in 2021.
Take a look before you tweet. https://t.co/0BOMrchsTF
— Jay O’Brien (@jayobtv) July 5, 2022
Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics, a devout supporter of DeSantis, also lambasted Cooper and his colleagues for publishing fake news.
C’mon, Jon, this is not what bill does.
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) July 5, 2022
O’Brien in particular seemed particularly riled, perhaps because he used to report for Florida’s CBS 12 news outlet and knows the actual facts about the bill in question. He linkedPolitifact conducted a fact-check that disproved similar claims made about the bill last year. as wellAs the bill itself, and as a sample from the actual survey.
As we pointed out at the time of the bill’s signing when “news” outlets like the Washington Post The Hill were lying about it, it did not do what DeSantis’ critics claimed it would do, as the text from the 12-page bill makes that clear (bolded emphasis added):
(b) Every Florida College System institution must conduct an annual evaluation of its intellectual freedom, viewpoint diversity and other aspects. The State Board of Education will select an objective, unpartisan, and statistically validated survey for each college to evaluate the level to which different ideas and perspectives were presented. Students, faculty and staff are free to voice their opinions and views on campus as well as in the classroom.Annual assessments shall be published by the State Board of Education. They will begin September 1, 2022. To implement the paragraph, rules may be adopted by State Board of Education.
(c). The State Board of Education cannot shield Florida College System students, staff, and faculty from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Art. I, or section 1004.097.
That’s not “requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state” as Cooper claimed, nor is it “forcing teachers to identify their political affiliation to Florida’s GOP state legislatures,” as Dobrofsky asserted. This is the purpose of the bill DoesIt is mandatory that students be asked if they feel at ease expressing political opinions on campus. Big difference.
I feel like saying “read the bill” here, but considering the bad track record of leftist Twitter flamethrowers when it comes to DeSantis, even reading the bill wouldn’t help them. It’s all about (false) narratives, and to hell with the facts.
And the response from the Twitter Powers That Be – the same people who say they are committed to stopping the spread of disinformation – will, of course, be to allow the tweets to stand.
Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s so tiresome but unless Elon Musk makes the changes he’s said he will there, this is likely how it will always be.
Flashback:Ron DeSantis Leaves Joe Biden Plagued When He is Asked about Brett Kavanaugh’s Plot