PolitiFact Labels DeSantis 'Mostly False' For Not Evacuating Uninhabited Island

October 5th, 2022 10:54 AM

PolitiFact is at it again. This time they are accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of making a “mostly false” statement when he said that Hurricane Ian was not predicated to hit Lee County despite conceding his statements on the matter were basically correct.

Yacob Reyes quotes DeSantis as claiming, “But you know, 72 hours, they weren't even in the cone.”

This seems relatively straightforward and a few paragraphs down, Reyes appears to affirm DeSantis’s claim, “We reviewed eight advisories the National Hurricane Center issued Sept. 25 — three days before Ian made landfall. Most of Lee County was not within the forecasted path three days before landfall.”

Since “most” is not “all,” Reyes continued, “But one of the county's barrier islands, Cayo Costa — where the Category 4 hurricane made landfall — appeared inside the cone on each of eight advisories from Sept. 25. (No advisory was issued exactly 72 hours before Ian made landfall at 3:05 p.m.)”

Reyes omitted that Cayo Costa is an uninhabited state park as he continued to try to prove DeSantis wrong by reporting that:

Other areas in Lee County also appeared inside the 2 a.m. cone graphic, including the northern coasts of Cape Coral and Pine Island. Those areas, along with Cayo Costa, remained in the cone graphic in subsequent advisories issued at 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

The hurricane's forecasted track shifted largely north of Lee County in an advisory at 11 a.m. However, Cayo Costa remained in the cone graphic.” 

Applauding Reyes’s tortured use of the phrase “mostly false,” the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake tweeted, “PolitiFact picks up on something I wrote on Monday: Despite officials including DeSantis and the head of FEMA saying Lee County wasn't in the cone 72 hours out, a small part of it was -- including where the hurricane ultimately made landfall, Cayo Costa.

Blake, like Reyes, omits that Cayo Costa is an uninhabited state park. He also noted the forecast “also included a sliver of Pine Island and North Captiva.”

Given this information, DeSantis deserves a “mostly true” rating, because “a sliver” of Lee County is not nearly enough to warrant a “mostly false” rating.

Yet, it is contortions like these that have led to PolitiFact giving DeSantis true, mostly true, or half-true ratings 38 percent of the time while 58 percent of the time he gets labeled mostly false, false, or pants on fire ratings. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, comes in at almost the inverse with 62 respectively and 35 percent respectively.