The Washington Post was compelled to issue a major correction after columnist Jennifer Rubin cited a story using botched census data to attack Florida under Governor Ron DeSantis.
The liberal columnist’s opinion piece Friday originally read, “DeSantis likes to brag that more people are moving to Florida than ever. Not so fast. ‘An estimated 674,740 people reported that their permanent address changed from Florida to another state in 2021.’” In fact, U.S. Census data shows more people moved into the Sunshine State than any other state that year.
Rubin had linked to a faulty Business Insider story which mistakenly switched the number of people who had moved out of the state during the pandemic with the number of people who had moved into the state during the same time period.
The following day the Post was pressured to concede Rubin had “misstated” the numbers after critics called out her mistake on social media.
“A previous version of this article misstated Floridians’ state-to-state migration in 2021,” the Post correction reads. “According to the Census Bureau, more people moved into Florida than any other state that year. This version has been corrected.”
Rubin’s column came just three days after Business Insider admitted it had “got it wrong” in reporting that more people had left the state than entered it during the pandemic. The outlet had originally claimed that 674,740 residents left the state, overtaking 433,402 residents leaving California and 287,249 residents moving from New York.
The news outlet owned up to the mistake after members of DeSantis’ team called them out on Twitter.
“Business Insider journalist @NeubauerKelsey apparently does not know how to read a spreadsheet. That figure — 674,740 — is people who moved TO Florida, not OUT OF Florida. Retraction needed,” Rapid Response Director Christian Pushaw tweeted.
The outlet changed the premise of their story with a new headline which read, “We got it wrong: More people moved out of New York and California than Florida in 2021.”
“This story has been updated to correct an error regarding Census data. In 2021, an estimated 469,577 people moved out of Florida, while 674,740 people relocated to the state. An earlier version of the story switched those numbers,” the editor’s note read.
The Post received a tidal wave of criticism over the weekend after Rubin cited the faulty article as the basis for her piece bashing DeSantis and GOP leadership in the state.
The National Review’s Charles Cooke shared screenshots of Rubin’s error and the new article from Business Insider on Twitter. He wrote, “In which Jennifer Rubin writes a piece in the Washington Post on Friday that is based around the massive mistake that Business Insider made—and then corrected—on Tuesday. ‘Does she have editors?’ was just emphatically answered.”
Along with the correction on Saturday, The Post removed Rubin’s claims that more Floridians had moved out of the state than any other state in the nation. “That’s more than any other state, including New York or California, the two states that have received the most attention for outbound migration during the pandemic,’ according to the American Community Survey released in June tracking state-by-state migration,” the article originally read.
The Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.