(RightWing.org) – Florida Governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis (R) is pulling every string he can to overcome Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican nomination. One of the tools he’s using aggressively is fact-checking, especially through Twitter’s Community Notes system. The puzzling thing, though, is that his chief fact-checker was a vocal critic of fact-checks — until very recently.
Last December, Twitter added the Community Notes system, allowing users to add context to other users’ tweets. The feature quickly turned into an unofficial — and unregulated — fact-checking service, with most notes being attached to politically controversial tweets. According to Jake Welch at The National Pulse, DeSantis’s campaign has started to use the feature heavily, “mass weaponizing” Community Notes, to deflect criticisms of the governor.
The main driver behind the DeSantis campaign’s sudden enthusiasm for fact-checking is Christina Pushaw, his spokeswoman. Pushaw is an active Twitter user who has a habit of getting into bizarre battles on the social media platform. For example, in late May, she had an argument with a teenager who implied she was spending DeSantis campaign donations on Botox.
What’s interesting about Pushaw’s recent heavy use of Community Notes is that, until recently, she was an outspoken critic of fact-checking in general and Twitter’s version in particular. Last August, she complained that “Twitter’s ‘fact checkers’ LIED.” On April 25, she said it was “absurd” to think fact-checkers can state what’s true or not. However, she’s changed her tune now.
On June 4, she outlined how dishonest politicians complain about Community Notes being added to their tweets; she said, “If you don’t like @ComunityNotes then consider… not lying.” In the space of a few months, she’s gone from dismissing Twitter fact-checkers as liars to enthusiastically supporting them. Has she genuinely changed her mind, or has it just occurred to her that, in what’s shaping up to be a dirty presidential race, Community Notes is a useful weapon to have?
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