Horror author and prominent liberal Twitter keyboard warrior, Stephen King, went viral for blasting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over a false news story. He was forced to issue an apology acknowledging that he had spread misinformation.
“I deleted a tweet about Ron DeSantis requiring notice of political views of students and teachers,” King tweeted on Saturday. “That really was fake news. Sorry.”
In King’s initial post to his 6.7 million followers, the “It” author shared an article dating back to June 2021, from progressive political news site, Salon.
“DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state,” the headline read. “I. Can’t. Even.” King captioned the story, which got over 20,000 retweets.
King was floored by the article, but his outrage was unfounded, as PolitiFact had already debunked the Salon piece as false at the time, as HB 233 requires the state’s public colleges and universities to administer a survey about “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity,” but does not require students or faculty to participate or declare their political views.
Salon changed the title of the article to “DeSantis signs bill requiring survey of Florida students, professors on their political views,” after determining the headline “conveyed a misleading impression of what the Florida law actually said, and did not live up to our editorial standards,” according to CNN.
“I regret having posted the headline without being more confident the story was correct,” King told the publication. “Salon is usually more reliable. Twitter is a constant learning experience, and I will try to do better.”
While the “Fire Starter” author was contrite about sharing a debunked story, he had no qualms about gunning for the Florida governor. “DeSantis is still a jerk. That isn’t fake news,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet on Saturday.
King went after DeSantis on Twitter last August, when he wrote: “DeSantis policies are right-wing “the individual rules and to hell with what happens” policies. They are turning a beautiful state into a big ICU ward where even healthy people can barely breathe.”
“I do not understand why the public or reporters would look to fiction writers for insights on infectious disease and environmental issues,” DeSantis’ press secretary responded at the time.