Give horror master Stephen King credit. He did something most refuse to do when confronted with information that upsets their narrative: Apologize.
The master of the macabre issued a mea culpa to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday after PoliticFact, of all groups, pointed out King was horribly wrong about a survey of intellectual freedom on Florida’s college campuses.
At issue was a state law passed last year calling for an “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” survey. The survey is designed to gauge “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented and members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff, feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” according to the statute.
Although state colleges and universities are required to conduct the survey, the law does not mandate participation by either faculty or staff. DeSantis’ administration also had been saying for a year that it would be voluntary and anonymous.
The king of horror fiction, however, bought into the fiction that the law was compelling the registering of political beliefs.
King criticized the plan last week, operating off a year-old story in the left-leaning website Salon, whose headline proclaimed DeSantis was “requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state.” The piece also said the survey was “not necessarily” anonymous.
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Even though the law itself says nothing about inquiring about individual political beliefs, nor does it mention that any identifying information would be collected.
As the Salon misinformation became relevant again, King tweeted, “DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state. I. Can’t. Even.”
Yet PolitiFact reviewed the case and rated King’s claim “false.”
“Although not stipulated in the bill, the 2022 survey was anonymous and voluntary. Only the faculty survey had a question pertaining to individual political beliefs,” Politifact noted.
That one question concerned political party affiliation.
Incredibly, this was the second time PolitiFact had debunked liberal criticisms of the law as false.
Once enlightened, King apologized.
“I regret having posted the headline without being more confident the story was correct,” he told CNN in a statement.
“Salon is usually more reliable. Twitter is a constant learning experience, and I will try to do better.”