PolitiFact cancels Alan Grayson hire after backlash

PolitiFact cancels Alan Grayson hire after backlash
© Greg Nash

Fact-checking website PolitiFact on Thursday announced that it had hired former Florida Reps. David Jolly (R) and Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE (D) as “reader advocates” before hours later nixing Grayson's hire after fierce backlash.

The two former lawmakers had been set to critique the website’s fact-checks and provide additional insight on political issues as part of a pilot program that will run through the end of April, according to a Thursday PolitiFact post announcing the hires. The post has since been deleted.


“David and Alan are both particularly qualified, we think, to critique the work of PolitiFact, because they’ve been subject to our fact-checks as members of Congress,” PolitiFact Executive Director Aaron Sharockman wrote an his initial statement.

The choice of Grayson drew prompt pushback from reporters, who noted his past treatment of the press. PolitiFact announced later that Grayson "did not meet" its "threshold" for improving trust and credibility.

Grayson threatened to have a Politico reporter arrested in 2016 after the journalist approached him to ask about allegations that he had abused his ex-wife.

In another 2016 interview, Grayson accused MSNBC correspondent Joy-Ann Reid of perpetuating lies after she questioned him about a House Ethics Committee investigation into his hedge fund.

Sharockman responded to concerns by saying Grayson was brought on through April "to see how readers like it, and to see if we can all learn something from it."

In response, PolitiFact announced Grayson would no longer be joining the organization.

Both Jolly and Grayson concluded their time in the House at the beginning of 2017. Grayson ran a failed Senate campaign in 2016, while Jolly lost his reelection bid to former Florida Gov. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristFlorida Democrats' midterm fantasy faceoff: DeSantis vs. Demings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal Running as a Democrat, Crist looks to join the smallest club in American politics MORE (D). 

—Updated at 3:25 p.m.