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Washington Post Issues Corrections on Article About Conservative Journalist Chris Rufo

Documentary filmmaker and Manhattan Institute fellow Chris Rufo criticized The Washington Post for a recent article that he said spread multiple lies about his political views and about Critical Race Theory (CRT), leading to the newspaper issuing a correction on segments of its reporting.

In a Twitter thread, Rufo highlighted several excerpts from the article titled “DeSantis moves to turn a progressive Fla. college into a conservative one” by Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss. The Washington Post article focused on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to name Rufo and five others to the board of the New College of Florida in Sarasota.

Rufo took particular issue with the publication’s characterization of his political views and his involvement in past efforts to stop government agencies and state businesses from teaching certain diversity programs that he argues amount to racial “scapegoating.”

The first alleged lie Rufo raised was a claim in the article that “critical race theory isn’t taught” in K-12 schools.

“This is flat-out false,” Rufo wrote of the claim that CRT isn’t taught in K-12 schools. “I have reported on numerous examples of critical race theory taught in schools, all of which include original source documents. There are entire courses taught in Portland public schools, for example, titled ‘Critical Race Theory.’ The superintendent of Detroit Public Schools said explicitly that his district is ‘deeply using critical race theory’ throughout the curriculum. The Washington Post itself has published multiple articles admitting that critical race theory is being taught in K-12 schools.”

The second set of apparent lies Rufo took issue with were claims about his views on systemic racism. A portion of The Washington Post article states, “Critical race theory is a decades-old academic discipline that investigates systemic racism in the United States, which Rufo and others insist doesn’t exist; they say racism is the act of individuals alone.”

“I have argued that American law does not currently discriminate against racial minorities, with the exception of Asian-Americans, who, along with European-Americans, are penalized in college admissions and other ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ policies-a very different claim than ‘systemic racism does not exist,’” Rufo wrote in response.

“Furthermore, I have never claimed that ‘racism is the act of individuals alone.’ Strauss simply makes it up out of thin air.”

In a third tweet, Rufo described how The Washington Post article incorrectly reported on a Sept. 22, 2020, executive order signed by then-President Donald Trump, that limited federal agencies from teaching “divisive concepts” about race or sex to federal employees. The Washington Post characterized Trump’s executive order as one that canceled “all federal diversity training programs.”

Rufo countered that Trump’s executive order did not cancel all federal diversity training programs but only ones that promoted “scapegoating” against certain sexes or races.

The executive order in question defines prohibited “scapegoating” to include ideas that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex” and that “meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.”

The Washington Post article further claimed that Trump signed this executive order against certain diversity training programs “within days” of Rufo’s appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” program. Rufo disputed this claim in another tweet, calling it “Lie #4.”

“I went on Tucker Carlson Tonight on September 1, 2020. President Trump signed the executive order on September 22, 2020. This is a full three weeks, not ‘within days,’” Rufo wrote.

As a fifth lie, Rufo said The Washington Post article also misrepresented the “Stop WOKE Act” that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last year.

Rufo alleged The Washington Post made a similar mistake in characterizing the “Stop WOKE Act” as it had in characterizing Trump’s 2020 executive order on federal diversity training. While the original Washington Post article claimed the act “barred businesses from providing diversity training to employees,” Rufo argued that the law only prohibited certain types of diversity training that engaged in behaviors like “racial scapegoating.”

Washington Post Addresses Some Complaints, Leaves Others

Following Rufo’s complaints, The Washington Post updated its article to change the wording of some of its passages.

Rufo tweeted a screenshot of an emailed response he received from Washington Post Education Editor Adam Kushner, who said the publication had reviewed Rufo’s criticisms of the article and “found four had merit.”

The Washington Post issued a correction disclaimer that states: “A previous version of this story called Christopher Rufo a Republican activist who denies the existence of systemic racism. He is a conservative activist who has said American law is not currently discriminating against racial minorities. The story also clarifies language about diversity trainings used by the federal government and businesses in Florida, which were not technically forbidden but were broadly restricted in what they could say about systemic racism.”

After The Washington Post article originally claimed Rufo believes that systemic racism “doesn’t exist,” the updated article now states that Rufo and others “insist” that systemic racism “doesn’t work through American institutions to discriminate against many marginalized groups.”

Where the original Washington Post article had said Trump’s executive order “cancel[ed] all federal diversity training programs” and the Florida law “barred businesses from providing diversity training to employees” the article now states that Trump’s order and the Florida law only “restricted” the types of diversity training programs that federal agencies and Florida business owners could provide to their employees.

The Washington Post did not change the portion of the article that claimed critical race theory is not taught in K-12 schools. The publication also maintained the characterization that Trump signed his executive order on federal diversity training “within days” of Rufo’s appearance on Fox News, rather than adding any language that clarified that three weeks had transpired between those two events.

From NTD News.

Ryan Morgan

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