PolitiFact announced it hired former politician Alan Grayson to critique its work in an effort to improve trust and credibility on Thursday… but that decision lasted about three seconds.
“It has become clear our choice of Alan Grayson did not meet that threshold to many,” PolitiFact executive director Aaron Sharockman tweeted on Thursday after the initial tweet that he was hired received an onslaught of criticism from respected media members.
Sharockman said Grayson was called “a short while ago and informed” that PolitiFact would cancel the agreement for him to write for the site. PolitiFact bills itself as “a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.”
Grayson represented Florida’s Democratic-leaning 9th Congressional District from 2012 until he announced he would not seek re-election in 2016 because he eyed a Senate seat.
“A fact-checking outfit hiring Alan Grayson is like a church hiring Charlie Sheen to run their youth group,” National Review columnist Dan McLaughlin tweeted.
Politico’s Jake Sherman asked, “Is this a joke?”
Grayson has the unique distinction of being loathed by members of both political parties and his business activities have come under intense scrutiny. He also has a long history of combative encounters with members of the media.
The liberal firebrand once said the GOP health plan was to hope people die quickly.
Former U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called for him to drop out of a Senate race in 2016 when the New York Times reported that Grayson promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business for a hedge fund he controlled.
"His actions aren't just disgraceful to the Democratic Party, they disgrace the halls of Congress," Reid said at the time.
Grayson stayed in the race against Reid’s wishes but was unsuccessful.
Sharockman was hoping that Grayson would help critique the site’s work “in order to try to improve the trust and credibility in fact-checking” but is now asking its social media followers for suggestions.
The original tweet annoucing PolitiFact hired Grayson has been deleted.
“We remain committed to this experiment, however, and will be seeking out a Democrat to replace Alan. If you have a good suggestion, please reach out,” Sharockman wrote.
Former Florida Rep. David Jolly will join PolitiFact to represent the GOP while the site searches for a Democrat to fill Grayson’s shoes.