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Dimwitted Fact Checker: Stacey Abrams Didn’t Support MLB Boycott She Helped Cause

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In the latest case of Democrat PR disguised as fact checks, PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson is informing us that Stacey Abrams didn’t support the MLB All-Star Game boycott she actively lobbied for to protest “voter suppression legislation” (that ended up being followed by record voter turnout in the state).

The entirety of Jacobson’s “fact check” has has to do with Abrams’ public comments, but politicians often change those based on public opinion. Abrams did noticeably change her rhetoric about the virtues of boycotts when it became clear just how unpopular the All-Star boycott would be, but she did indeed help directly cause it, almost single-handedly.

Charles Gasparino, who covered the MLB fiasco, confirmed that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to pull the game out of Atlanta came after speaking Stacey Abrams, which Gasparino noted “is odd since she has now said she’s against the boycott.”

Gasparino reported soon after:

Abrams told a senior league official that she wanted him [Robert Manfred] to denounce the Georgia voting rights law, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. People associated with Sharpton’s civil rights organization, and James’s voting right group, “More than a Vote” also pressured league officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. 

After these conversations, Manfred believed the All Star game would be turned into a political event and players would boycott the game, these people say.  Baseball sources say that Abrams’ current stance, that she is disappointed about the Georgia boycott, is suspect because she was among the most prominent political operatives to pressure the league to denounce the new law. James has publicly supported the Georgia boycott.

People close to Manfred believe Abrams’ group and Sharpton also wanted the league to support other issues, including voter drives and H.R. 1, the For the People Act — sweeping election reform that recently passed the House. 

“They wanted us to do more than just a pre-game ceremony…Baseball would have to be in the market for doing stuff involving voting rights,” a senior MLB executive with direct knowledge of the matter tells Fox News.  

Manfred decided the easiest way to deal with the matter was to leave Georgia, according to a source.

The “fact checker” Jacobson doesn’t even acknowledge any of the active lobbying on Abrams’ part, and instead based entirely off her public statements. But anti-boycott statements from Abrams from after her changed in tone are irrelevant.

The largest part of the “fact check” is spent downplaying an infamous USA Today op-ed where Abrams argues that the advancement of civil rights has relied on economic boycotts, but comes just short of literally telling people to boycott in an article romanticizing them. Despite that, Abrams later had stealth revisions made to the article, and changed statements to make the article sound anti-boycott. Of note, these revisions were after the MLB moved the All-Star game out of Atlanta.

Jacobson includes the following quote from the original op-ed to argue Abrams wasn’t calling for boycotts in an article extolling them: “One lesson of boycotts is that the pain of deprivation must be shared to be sustainable. Otherwise, those least resilient bear the brunt of these actions; and in the aftermath, they struggle to access the victory. And boycotts are complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action. I have no doubt that voters of color, particularly Black voters, are willing to endure the hardships of boycotts. But I don’t think that’s necessary — yet... I ask you to bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote.”

Jacobson does acknowledge that USA Today “quietly updated the op-ed a few days alter,” which he apparently doesn’t find at all suspicious. The standard is for articles to include an editor’s note of revisions  – that this was done without that should raise some red flags. USA Today’s parent company Gannett eventually apologized for this journalistic malpractice, which Jacobson makes no mention of. He then wrongly says that the updated version makes “essentially the same arguments against a boycott as the initial version did.”

Yet Jacobson makes no mention of the paragraph immediately preceding the one he quoted, which was heavily edited to change its meaning. “The impassioned response to the racist, classist bill that is now the law of Georgia is to boycott in order to achieve change,” Abrams originally wrote. “Events hosted by major league baseball, world class soccer, college sports and dozens of Hollywood films hang in the balance. At the same time, activists urge Georgians to swear off of hometown products to express our outrage. Until we hear clear, unequivocal statements that show Georgia-based companies get what’s at stake, I can’t argue with an individual’s choice to opt for their competition.” The first sentence was kept the same, but the rest of the paragraph was changed to “Events that can bring millions of dollars to struggling families hang in the balance. Major League Baseball pulled both its All-Star Game and its draft from Georgia, which could cost our state nearly $100 million in lost revenue.”

The original article began with the sentence: “Boycotts work. The focused power of No, trained on corporate actors used to being told Yes, can yield transformative results. That line was changed to ““Boycotts work — when the target risks losing something highly valued and the pain becomes unbearable.”

While interpreting Abrams’ public comments is basically irrelevant in light of her private actions, the original op-ed reads like a threat; that she’s not saying there will be a boycott, but there sure are a heck of a lot of reasons why there could be one. And if she didn’t at least think so, why the need for all the changes, and why were they done silently?

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros


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