May 5, 2021

OOPS: Fact-Checkers Missed Stealth Edits to Abrams Op-Ed.

The stealth edits went unnoticed by some fact-checkers, who cited the USA Today piece prior to the addition of the editor’s note. In an April 21 essay called “What Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams and Georgia senators said about a MLB boycott,” PolitiFact’s Amy Sherman criticized Kemp and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for claiming that Abrams initially supported boycotts in Georgia and later changed her mind. “But Abrams repeatedly spoke against boycotts before and after Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Georgia,” Sherman wrote.

As evidence, PolitiFact cited Abrams’ USA Today op-ed, and quoted her revised assertions in the stealth version: “Boycotts invariably also cost jobs. To be sustainable, the pain of deprivation must be shared rather than borne by those who are least resilient. They also require a long-term commitment to action.”

Sherman initially failed to recognize that these comments did not exist in the original op-ed. On April 27, after a RealClearPolitics reporter reached out for comment, PolitiFact added an editor’s note and a disclaimer following the above quote, noting, “Abrams originally wrote the op-ed March 31, but it was updated to include those comments days after MLB’s announcement. Her initial op-ed also raised concerns about boycotts.”

Twitter also used the revised version of Abrams’s op-ed to dismiss claims that she had supported the Georgia boycotts.

She got caught, and when she tried to deny it, the “fact-checkers” helped provide cover.

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