Monday 17 July 2023

Washington Post issues correction after core claim in Jennifer Rubin's latest hit piece against DeSantis is shown to be entirely false

 Washington Post commentator and Biden devotee Jennifer Rubin recently penned an opinion piece entitled, "Florida might pay for MAGA cruelty and know-nothingism."

This hit piece targeting Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his conservative initiatives, alternatively titled, "Why Ron Desantis's stunts may backfire," appears to have itself backfired and exposed the author's own "know-nothingism." 

While the paper issued a pseudo-correction over the weekend, it appears the reputational damage has been done.

Rubin set out in her Friday piece to "examine the potential price Floridians might pay for MAGA culture wars."

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his obedient Republican legislature have made bullying and attacking the vulnerable the hallmarks of their governance," wrote Rubin.

Citing DeSantis-ratified laws banning child sex-change mutilations and critical race theory, as well as the governor's initiative to provide Democratic sanctuary cities with busloads of illegal aliens, Rubin suggested, "Florida has become not where 'woke' died but rather where empathy, decency, and kindness go to die." 

After bemoaning the governor's popular initiatives, Rubin stated her thesis: DeSantis' "MAGA war on diversity and tolerance might be negatively impacting the state."

This impact, according to Rubin, can be seen in the massive exodus of 674,740 people from the state in 2021. Only that never happened. Rather, the exact opposite phenomenon occurred. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 647,740 people moved into the state in 2021, leaving Florida with the biggest population boom of all 50 states.

Rubin appears to have based the crux of her argument on a blog derivative from a Business Insider article, wherein Kelsey Neubauer incorrectly stated that "an estimated 674,740 people reported that their permanent address changed from Florida to another state in 2021. That’s more than any other state, including New York or California, the two states that have received the most attention for outbound migration during the pandemic."

While Business Insider changed the headline of its July 11 story to "We got it wrong: More people moved out of New York and California than Florida in 2021" and noted in a corresponding correction that it had "switched those numbers," Rubin had already adopted the original false conclusion as a premise.

Rubin then attempted to build on this false premise, suggesting that "evidence points to a brain drain from Florida universities and colleges," but admitted "data is hard to come by."

After her article's publication, internet sleuths took notice.

Twitter Community Notes quickly tagged the article that had been posted to her page with links to the source of the facts she had inverted.

DeSantis' press secretary Jeremy Redfern responded to the post, writing, "Oh...really?"

Redfern alluded to a July 13 CNBC article, which indicated Florida's 2023 economy score was 340 out of 360 points, resulting in an A+ grade; GDP growth was 4% in 2022; job growth was 4.9%; and its "economy is white hot."

Stephen Miller, contributing editor at the Spectator, responded, "You should be fired for this kind of mistake."

Charles C.W. Cooke, a senior writer at National Review Online, tweeted, "In which Jennifer Rubin writes a piece in the Washington Post on Friday that is based around the massive mistake that Business Insider made—and then corrected—on Tuesday. 'Does she have editors?' was just emphatically answered."

Cooke added, "It really is jarring to see. When I've written for the Post and the Times, I've been fact-checked until I bled. ... But, as is evident if you read those papers, it only happens in one direction."

The updated version of Rubin's polemic no longer contains her core premise, but maintains her dubious argument. It also contains a correction, which reads, "A previous version of this article mischaracterized Floridians' state-to-state migration in 2021. According to the Census Bureau, more people moved into Florida than any other state that year. This version has been corrected."

Just as she has not offered an apology for her hand in pushing the discredited Russian collusion narrative to smear former President Donald Trump, Rubin does not appear to have apologized for using falsehoods to smear DeSantis.

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