Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times breathlessly reported that researchers at the University of Florida were allegedly pressured to fudge and destroy COVID19 data on behalf of Gov. Ron DeSantis:
A new report from a committee formed by UF's faculty senate to investigate issues of academic freedom details widespread pressure across the university to keep the state happy.https://t.co/RZ2xeltnlG
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) December 7, 2021
Whoa! Huge, if true!
Spoiler: There’s absolutely zero evidence to suggest that it’s true. And that means Christina Pushaw finds herself once again in the position of having to correct the record on Ron DeSantis:
Since journalists are pushing baseless innuendo to suggest that an unsourced report is evidence of @GovRonDeSantis pressuring UF professors not to be openly liberal, I’ll save you some time: The authors of the report outright admitted they didn’t investigate. Cc @TB_Times pic.twitter.com/DCiaGRSOvB
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) December 8, 2021
Recall that this past June, DeSantis’ push for academic freedom was falsely portrayed by liberal media as policing of students’ and faculty’s thought. And now it’s being used to suggest that he’s playing political games with COVID19 data.
So yeah, Pushaw’s got her work cut out for her. Especially since The Hill is still pushing the super-sketchy narrative today:
— The Hill (@thehill) December 8, 2021
Because sometimes a narrative is just too juicy to check.
— KC Frew (@KnoxvilleKC) December 8, 2021
I'm shocked – SHOCKED – The Hill just tweeted something that was debunked a day ago. https://t.co/QfOfnKptMW
— RBe (@RBPundit) December 8, 2021
The Hill even notes the UF Faculty Senate committee’s admitted that they didn’t thoroughly investigate the allegations:
However, the Faculty Senate committee said that they “did not have the resources or the time to fully investigate these reports or their legal and policy implications. Faculty did express discontent about political interference with our mission, that academic freedom is under attack, and that we will likely lose faculty as a result.”
The six-person panel was convened to investigate academic freedom issues after the university decided to bar three professors from testifying in a federal lawsuit against the state over a recently enacted elections bill.
A spokesperson from the University of Florida did not have any further comment on the report when reached for additional information by The Hill.
A spokesperson for DeSantis told The Hill that “The report referenced contains plenty of unsourced allegations and innuendo, but zero evidence that Governor DeSantis or anyone connected to the governor’s office has exerted or attempted to exert improper influence on UF. This is because it did not happen.”
Put up or shut up, University of Florida.
Same goes for you, The Hill.
Y’all just LOOKING for drama. Straight looking for stuff to sensationalize for an agenda. Classic media manipulation.
— 𝑍ᴀᴄᴋ Ꮹɪᴀɴɪɴᴏ (@ZackGianino) December 8, 2021