FACT CHECK: Florida School 'Bans' Amanda Gorman Poem

Verdict: Misinformation is an existential threat to American democracy

May 24, 2023

Claim: A school in Florida has "banned" the poem read by Amanda Gorman at President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Who said it: The Associated Press, Politico, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, Axios, MSNBC, the Daily Mail, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, the Boston Globe, the New Republic, Sky News, People, Variety, Jezebel, and others.

Context: Here's what really happened. Daily Salinas, a parent of two children at Bob Graham Elementary School in Miami Lakes, requested a review of Gorman's poem and several other books, most of them about Cuba. Salinas said she wanted to make sure students "know the truth" about the brutal communist regime.

A school materials review committee concluded that Gorman's poem, and all but one of the books Salinas challenged, were "better suited" or "more appropriate" for middle school students. As a result, Gorman's poem will continue to reside in the middle school section of the library, but won't be kept in the elementary school section.

Analysis: Journalists and other Democratic activists don't understand the meaning of the word "ban." That's the most charitable explanation: Incompetence. Another likely (but far more sinister) explanation is that these people know better and don't care. The word "ban" is scarier and generates more outrage, which makes it easier to raise money. Never mind that they're actively spreading misinformation, something they keep telling us is an existential threat to American democracy.

Verdict: We rate this claim 4 Flaming Clintons (for being blatantly false) and 4 Crying Washingtons (for imperiling democracy with misinformation).