Liberal news outlets and leftist organizations joined poet Amanda Gorman in falsely claiming that a Florida school had banned her book.
The school and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were roundly denounced. The Biden White House rolled out a declaration of solidarity with the poet. Gorman's book sales skyrocketed.
Only, as TheBlaze previously indicated, there was no ban. At no point has anyone come forward with any evidence that a single student attempted to access the book and was denied.
The school had in fact deemed the book valuable and historically significant. It has made clear that, while the book was moved from one shelf to another shelf in the library, it remains available to access for all students, regardless of grade level.
Furthermore, contrary to insinuations by the liberal media, Gov. Ron DeSantis had nothing to do with the relocation of the book, the complaint, or the school's decision — a fact that Snopes has acknowledged.
While the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes and representatives from Miami-Dade County Public Schools confirmed the initial reports were malicious fabrications earlier this week, many publications, including the Daily Beast, the Associated Press, Variety, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, and People magazine, have yet to issue corrections or account for their misleading claims.
What's the background?
TheBlaze previously reported that various liberal publications claimed that Amanda Gorman's book — "The Hill We Climb," which contains the poem she read at Biden's inauguration — was banned from a school library in Miami.
While Daily Salinas, a mother of two children at the school, had filed a complaint about "The Hill We Climb" and administrators had responded, the book was neither banned nor removed from the library, but instead moved to a different section of the school's media center.
"No literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed," said Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Elmo Lugo.
"It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and, it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center," he explained. "The book remains available in the media center."
According to the minutes of the School Materials Review Committee's April 5 meeting, the committee had determined that Gorman's book "has educational value because of its historical significance. The vocabulary used in the poem was determined to be of value for middle school students."
In case there was any doubt, the school district clarified further on Wednesday that access to the book is NOT restricted to middle grade students, but "remains accessible to all students."
Snopes stressed there was "no indication that an elementary-age child would meet resistance from a librarian should they want to walk over to the middle school section of the library to read the works."
Notwithstanding the facts of the matter, the liberal media rushed to claim that Gorman's book had been banned, with a number of outlets intimating DeSantis was responsible.
The poet similarly appeared keen to amplify this claim, saying in a statement that her book had been "banned."
"I'm gutted," she said in a statement. "Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech."
Gorman still had her original false allegation pinned to her Twitter page at the time of publication.
As it became clear there was in fact no ban, Gorman engaged in more political wordplay, suggesting that a "school book ban is any action taken against a book that leaves access to a book restricted or diminished."
PEN America similarly decided to redefine what is meant by "ban," stating, "The book may remain available to middle-school students, but when you restrict or diminish access to a book, that’s a ban."
Stephana Ferrell, the director of research and insight at Florida Freedom to Read Project, performed some comparable mental gymnastics, telling the Miami Herald that the books weren't being banned from the district, "but they’re banned for the students they were intended for." Of course, even if Ferrell's point were valid, the underlying facts remain untrue; the book has not at any point been restricted to any grade level.
Committed to falsehoods
The Daily Beast still has an article by so-called reporter-researcher Decca Muldowney on its site entitled, "Florida Mom Behind Amanda Gorman Book Ban Has Proud Boy Links," which continues to bat around the term "ban."
ABC News, which featured an image of Gov. DeSantis, changed its headline from "Amanda Gorman's poem for Biden's inauguration banned by Florida school" to "Amanda Gorman's poem for Biden's inauguration barred for younger children by Florida school," but continues to peddle the claim that the book has been "placed on a restricted list," despite there being no evidence of such a list existing, and despite the school's clear statement that the book remains accessible to students of all grade levels.
The Associated Press has changed its headline from "Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration banned by Florida school" to "Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration barred for younger children by Florida school," but peddles the same false "restricted list" claim as ABC News and the San Diego Tribune.
While the Associated Press has changed its headline, the many publications that recycle its content continue to house the falsehood on their sites along with its suggestion that the debunked ban had something to do with DeSantis. For instance, PBS News Hour still had Freida Frisaro's initial false report on its site with the original AP title as of Friday morning.
Variety hasn't budged on its original headline, "Amanda Gorman’s Books Sky Rocket in Sales Despite Florida Book Ban" and continues to falsely claim both that "A Florida school has banned its elementary students from reading Amanda Gorman's poem" and "The poem was one of several works banned at the Miami-Dade County school."
Variety did, however, provide an update to its piece — not to correct the record, but to announce the result of these and other false reports: "Thanks to this new round of press, Gorman's books are currently best sellers on Amazon."
The Guardian has kept its original headline, "Amanda Gorman ‘gutted’ after Florida school bans Biden inauguration poem," stating that the poem was "removed for reading by elementary school children" and suggesting even still that the book has indeed been banned.
Rolling Stone, which recently got caught smearing Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire and has paid out millions in the past for false reporting, changed its headline from "Florida School Bans Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural ‘The Hill We Climb’ Poem" to another false headline: "Florida School Restricts Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural ‘The Hill We Climb’ Poem."
Despite a correction note highlighting that the book was not banned, Rolling Stone's revised article still contains the false claim that Gorman's book was removed from circulation and opens with the false claim that that "elementary-aged students" have been restricted from reading Gorman's book.
Teen Vogue and Glamour are evidently unshaken by the truth. The article run by the two publications, entitled "Amanda Gorman Speaks Out After a Florida School Bans Her Poem," remains on both sites with Elizabeth Logan's original title and false claims.
People magazine, another bastion of journalistic integrity, has not amended its report entitled, "Amanda Gorman's Inauguration Poem Banned — Along with 3 Race-Related Books — at a Miami-Area School," which states, "A Florida school has banned four books for elementary students after one parent objected to the titles and argued they were inappropriate."
The article falsely claims Gorman's work was "removed from the library" and will no longer be available to students.
Ironically, the article in People attempts to cast doubt on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' March claim that book bans are a "hoax."
Harper's Bazaar's article, "Amanda Gorman fundraises to protest against Florida book ban," has not been corrected. It claims the book was altogether removed from the school.
The Los Angeles Times framed the relocation of the book as a matter of restriction, but still suggests it was a ban in the title of its report, "Amanda Gorman on her inauguration poem being banned at Miami school: ‘I am gutted.'"
TheBlaze reached out to the following publications about their misleading or outright false reports: the Daily Beast; PBS; Variety; the Guardian; the Associated Press; Rolling Stone; NPR; the New York Times; Teen Vogue; Harper's Bazaar; Politico; the Los Angeles Times; and People magazine. At the time of publication, none have yet commented on their advancement of a false narrative or explained why they have refused to correct the record. None have responded to an inquiry regarding what evidence, if any, they uncovered to support the assertion that even a single student attempted to check out the book but was unable to do so.