The latest viral misinformation about Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fell apart after fact checks and members of the legacy media deemed it false.
Critics of the Florida governor claimed he signed a bill in 2021 requiring students, faculty and staff at public universities to register their political views with the state. These claims were initially debunked last year after the Washington Post and The Hill made similar claims.
The legislation DeSantis signed on June 23, 2021, required the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to “select or create an objective, nonpartisan, and statistically valid survey” to collect data on the extent of which different perspectives and ideas are being presented at colleges throughout the state and whether students feel free to express their beliefs in the classroom.
“ICYMI: Ron DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state,” former National Finance Chair of Draft Biden 2016, Jon Cooper, said in a viral post.
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
DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state.
I. Can’t. Even.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 6, 2022
Ron DeSantis just waged a war on liberal teachers. Democrats want to protect teachers from persecution. Republicans want to defund public schools. Democrats want to find them. Florida, please vote for Democrat Charlie Crist. pic.twitter.com/YKZQjFDcc9
— Dash Dobrofsky (@DashDobrofsky) July 5, 2022
Republican gov DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students and professors to register their political views with the state. Universities may lose funding if staff and students’ beliefs do not satisfy Florida’s ruling partyhttps://t.co/qXwPEoamqs
— Alfons López Tena 🦇 (@alfonslopeztena) July 5, 2022
DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw told the Daily Caller that liberal Twitter’s “blinding partisan hatred” led to this misinformation. She said the purpose of the legislation was to ensure that no one feels a certain political ideology is being pushed on them in the classroom and to help the state better understand the extent of bias on the state’s college campuses.
“Liberal Twitter is wrong again,” Pushaw told the Daily Caller. “In fact, that might be a more worthwhile story: how does liberal Twitter get it so wrong, so often? We believe it has a lot to do with blinding partisan hatred that eclipses the facts. No, students and faculty are not required to ‘register their political views.’ This same fake claim was circling the liberal Twittersphere after the bill was signed in 2021. It was debunked then. It has been debunked again, now. (Even liberal fact-checkers had to give it up on this one.)”
“The college campus is supposed to be a place to freely discuss ideas, weigh them against one another, and draw informed conclusions. It is not supposed to be an indoctrination camp pushing any singular ideology,” she added.
PolitiFact and members of the legacy media debunked the claims in response to Cooper’s viral post.
“This viral post is inaccurate. Further, it references a law passed in 2021 and makes a claim that was debunked that same year. Even the article it links to was written in 2021. Look before you retweet,” ABC News’ Jay O’Brien said.
This viral post is inaccurate.
Further, it references a law passed in 2021 and makes a claim that was debunked that same year. Even the article it links to was written in 2021.
Look before you retweet. https://t.co/0BOMrchsTF
— Jay O’Brien (@jayobtv) July 5, 2022
C’mon, Jon, this is not what bill does.
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) July 5, 2022
A spokesperson of the Florida Department of Education said the surveys will not ask about an individual student’s political beliefs, PolitiFact reported in 2021. Representatives for the Board of Governors and the education department said the bill does not mandate what questions are asked in the survey.
North Carolina and Colorado have conducted similar surveys on their college campuses, leading North Carolina to pass the Campus Free Speech law in 2017.