The Washington Post had to make some major changes to a story attempting to discredit journalist Christopher Rufo, who has led the cause against Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools, organizations, and the government.
On Saturday, the Post published an article titled, “Republicans, spurred by an unlikely figure, see political promise in critical race theory,” attempting to paint Rufo’s reporting as questionable, claiming his characterizations of trainings and seminars did not align with the facts. The Post article was published following a similarly biased and inaccurate hit piece from NBC News on Rufo. The Post even used the same tweet from Rufo to malign his motives in exposing CRT.
Shortly after the Post published its own piece on Rufo, a “clarification” appeared below the article detailing two errors in the original report:
This report has been changed to clarify the sequence of events that followed Rufo’s appearance on Fox News last summer. In addition, the story adds a clarification from the Cupertino superintendent that a lesson was presented once before it was canceled.
The original article claimed Rufo’s appearance on Fox News last summer made it seem like Rufo was invited to the White house within a day or two of then-President Donald Trump seeing him on TV.
“The next day, Trump demanded action and, Rufo was soon in the White House for a meeting. Two days later, his budget chief issued a memo laying the groundwork for the federal government to cancel all diversity trainings. An executive order followed,” the Post originally reported.
In reality, as the Post corrected, Rufo didn’t attend a White House meeting until months after his Fox News interview.
On Twitter, Rufo commented that the change amounted to the Post admitting it “fabricated the timeline of events surrounding my involvement in President Trump’s executive order.”
WINNING: The Washington Post’s hitpiece against me has collapsed.
They have admitted to fabricating a timeline, retracted or added six full paragraphs, reversed a key claim, and failed to produce evidence of a falsified quotation.
Democracy dies when the media lies. pic.twitter.com/gfKdpy4sal
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 22, 2021
The Post’s original story also claimed that a lesson Rufo has pointed to as evidence for his CRT criticism didn’t actually happen. The lesson, which took place at a school in Cupertino, California, had students to select “social identities” that included their race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc. The lesson identified which of these traits were part of the “dominant culture” and had children note which attributes were associated with power and privilege. A slide about the lesson was sent to parents ahead of time.
The Post claimed, quoting the president of the Cupertino Union School Board, that the lesson was never given to students and was canceled after parents complained.
The Post’s updated reporting notes that the lesson was taught once before being canceled. This resulted in the Post deleting two paragraphs and adding an additional four to correct the article. Rufo on Twitter said this reversed “their reporting on a key Cupertino diversity seminar, which they had falsely claimed did not occur. This reversal vindicates my reporting.”
Rufo added on Twitter Post editor Mike Semel “admitted to me via email that the newspaper does not have a recording or transcript of a key quotation that they falsified. They claimed the reporter has ‘notes,’ but cannot provide evidence to support their original claim.”
Rufo also said Semel “claimed in an email that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ does not mean ‘all white people are racist.’ This is an absurd position that only an ideologue could believe.”
Rufo’s last comment goes to the heart of the remaining Post article, which quibbles over semantics and framing while claiming Rufo was providing “questionable evidence.”
In one example, Rufo described intersectionality as “a hard left academic theory that reduces people to a network of racial, gender and sexual orientation identities and intersect in complex ways and determine whether you are an oppressor or oppressed” when discussing an FBI workshop.
The Post claimed the FBI’s flier “made none of those points.”
“It spoke about how various identities ‘combine and multiply to result in unique forms of discrimination,’” the Post wrote.
As anyone can see, Rufo’s description of intersectionality aligns perfectly with what the flier said. It is only the Post claiming those descriptions are different.
“Democracy dies when the media lies,” Rufo concluded in his tweet.