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Liberals on Twitter melted down after seeing a Salon.com story alleging that Governor Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., had signed legislation mandating that faculty and students at Florida state universities must provide their political views to a government survey.
Though a Politifact fact check from more than a year ago indicated that Salon’s allegations had been debunked. Twitter also added a fact check on the post as it circulated the platform on Tuesday and Wednesday, shared by unaware liberal users.
The original Salon piece from June 23, 2021 alleged that Governor Ron DeSantis “just signed legislation requiring students, faculty and staff at Florida’s public universities and colleges to register their political views with the state.”
Salon also claimed that participants of the survey “will not necessarily be anonymous” and that the schools are “at risk of losing their funding if the responses are not satisfactory to the state’s Republican-led legislature.”
Politifact called Salon’s claims “false,” and asserted, “New Florida law doesn’t require university students, faculty and staff to register political views.”
Explaining the true nature of the bill, Politifact’s Ciara O’Rourke wrote that the survey “will be voluntary and won’t ask about individuals’ political beliefs. Instead, it will ask whether individuals ‘feel they can express their political viewpoints and opinions in their college classrooms.’”
She stated that the survey is meant to be “an annual assessment of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at public colleges and universities.” And that “The bill does not address what questions will be asked, whether participation is mandatory, or if the responses will be anonymous.”
However, this didn’t prevent liberals on Twitter, like The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson and prominent media journalists, from posting alarming tweets about the debunked Salon story a year later.
Wilson shared the debunked Salon piece on Tuesday, asking, “What could go wrong?”
His group’s account also shared the year-old, erroneous piece, and tweeted that it’s “Wholly un-American.”
MSNBC political analyst and former Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., tweeted, “Is this America? Really? What kind of autocratic, freedom squashing, Government overreach is this?”
Former Obama campaign staffer Jon Cooper tweeted the story out to his 1 million followers. Though Twitter users utilized the platform’s “Context” function to serve as a fact-check on Cooper’s tweet. The added “context” bubble under Cooper’s tweet stated, “Florida H.B. 233, enacted in 2021, does not require university students, faculty and staff to register political views, according to Politifact.”
Despite this notice, Cooper’s tweet remained visible on the platform.
MSNBC contributor Dean Obeidallah didn’t check the date or the claims of the piece either, tweeting, “WOW: Ron DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state. The ghost of every fascist dictator just gave DeSantis a standing ovation.”
“We are losing this great country one day at a time. DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state,” tweeted liberal author Don Winslow.
OccupyDemocrats executive editor Grant Stern commented on the story, tweeting, “Fidel DeSantis and the Florida GOP Politburo require you to register your political ideology with the state to get a university education. Contact your school’s zampolit today.”
“Honestly, did you ever expect to live to see a headline like this, in America,” asked Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.
And leftist activist group MeidasTouch.com tweeted, “Ron DeSantis just signed a bill that would require universities to survey students annually about their beliefs. He is an autocrat who wants to suppress those who challenge his beliefs.”
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