July 21, 2021

Florida Politics Backtracks, Silently Alters Report on Senator Joe Gruters (R) Unsubstantiated Sexual Harassment Claims

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By: Eric Daugherty

Wednesday, Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch backtracked on Twitter and in a news story on unsubstantiated sexual harassment claims made against Florida Republican Chairman Joe Gruters.

The allegations made against Gruters were made by a third party and had no substantiating evidence. Gruters has been cleared.

An email to Florida Republican Party members read, “the independent third party law firm reported back and informed elected RPOF officials … they were unable to substantiate the allegations and no accuser with firsthand knowledge was willing to come forward with a complaint of allegations of harassment or other misconduct.”

Florida’s Conservative Voice has confirmed the email from the Florida Republican Party was sent Tuesday afternoon. 

In an article titled “Florida GOP Chairman Joe Gruters cleared after probe into alleged sexual harassment,” archived here, comments were posted as earlier as Tuesday, July 20, 10:11 AM. 

However, the article is dated as July 21. In a seeming contradiction to typical journalistic standards, like these, no notes are included from the publisher that a correction or edit was made. 

Florida Politics silently edited and updated their original report on Gruters’ situation with consequential information released from the Republican Party. The earlier piece was criticized for drawing conclusions too early.

Tuesday, before all information relating to the closed investigation was obtained, Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics sent a tweet saying Gruters and Representative Matt Gaetz (R) are “both involved in separate sex-related scandals, yet the @FloridaGOP is being irresponsibly less than transparent about what it investigated re: Gruters.”

Schorsch’s tweet presupposed, incorrectly, that the Republican Party of Florida investigated Gruters, when it was a third-party firm. 

His criticism of the Florida Republicans using false information is representative of a larger media problem, critics argue, of drawing politically charged conclusions before all accurate information has been obtained.

In a backtrack, Schorsch published an article titled “The failed political assassination of Joe Gruters,” where he backtracks on prior conclusions against Gruters.

Despite making the criticism of Gruters based on false information, Schorsch tweeted “This opens it to better reporters, like you and not me, to track it all down,” referencing the unraveling Gruters-sexual harassment allegations story.

Those critical of Florida Politics’ and Schorsch’s covering of the Gruters-sexual harassment claims story argue it is evidence that the media will jump to conclusions against Republicans and not adhere to journalistic standards.

Brendon Leslie contributed to this report. 

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Florida’s Conservative Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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