An Attempted Hit on Ron DeSantis and Florida Leaves a News Outlet With Egg All Over Its Face

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

One of the general rules of being politically active online is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Certainly, there are a lot of people who don’t take that to heart, jumping on every “breaking” story put out by sites with questionable credibility. At the end of the day, when a report is released that too perfectly matches your biases, it’s always worth pausing to double-check.

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Business Insider didn’t do that when they released an attempted hit on Ron DeSantis and Florida on Tuesday morning. Here’s what the headline looked like before it was deleted.

A now-deleted tweet shows Business Insider’s original headline asserting that Florida lost more people than New York and California in 2021. (Credit: Twitter)

The indication was clear. When was 2021? That was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. If Business Insider could show that Florida lost more people during that time period than New York and California, the implication would be that Florida got COVID wrong while the two liberal states got it right.

But does that sound right to anyone? Given everything we know about emigration over the last several years, does Florida losing 674,740 people during 2021 make sense? That’s a question the person the author and editors of the Business Insider article should have been asking. If it doesn’t pass the smell test, that’s the time to step back and reassess. Every writer has had to do it, holding back the urge to publish something that just seems to line up so perfectly. Business Insider didn’t do that, though, and now, the news outlet has egg all over its face.

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So what’s the real story? First, you have to understand that Business Insider isn’t like RedState where individual contributors write on topics they choose with editorial oversight at the end of the process. In major newsrooms, an editor typically has to green-light a story long before the first word is typed out, and the standard protocol would be to check the sourcing before proceeding. In this specific case, that either wasn’t done or every single person involved made the same mistake. I’m not sure it matters given how embarrassing it is.

Somehow, the author of the Business Insider piece read the chart completely backward, mistaking “different state of residence 1 year ago” for the number of people who had left Florida. In reality, that is the number of people that moved to Florida in 2021. That one mistake meant the entire premise of the piece was no longer valid.

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After several hours and an immense amount of online pressure, Business Insider finally offered a correction that amounts to a total rewrite of the story.

In the end, it’s surprising that things got this far, but when you have a press that is so deadset on trashing one political party, these types of mistakes are going to be made. That no one was the least bit tipped off by how unbelievable the original story was is a red flag. These news outlets are just a bit too far gone.

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