Betsy DeVos haters can rejoice it seems: The secretary is planning to resign from Trump’s cabinet, according to a much-shared Salon story.
But it’s not true — there is no indication that DeVos is planning to quit.
The story, originally published on the progressive site Alternet, claims in its headline that “Officials expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration.” A piece for the website Raw Story also made a similar claim.
As of this morning, the Salon version had racked up over 250,000 shares on Facebook. Prominent people have posted it on Twitter, including American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who described it as “breaking news,” and an Ohio congresswoman.
Officials expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration https://t.co/0xwRltlGop
— Salon (@Salon) November 6, 2017
Breaking News: Officials expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration https://t.co/nhns3aQBsD
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) November 7, 2017
Please, please, pretty please. https://t.co/YbQkHNknxF
— Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) November 6, 2017
In fact, the article does not rely on any original reporting, but simply draws from a lengthy Politico profile of DeVos, focusing on the constraints she has hit as head of the Department of Education.
In the piece, FutureEd think tank director Tom Toch said, “In Washington education circles, the conversation is already about the post-DeVos landscape, because the assumption is she won’t stay long.”
This appears to be the sum of the claim that “officials” think DeVos will resign; in fact, Toch is not a government official. And in context, Toch’s quote appears to be speculative rather than based on any direct knowledge that DeVos plans to leave imminently. (The Salon story itself is more careful than the headline, and does not say directly that DeVos had specific plans to resign.)
Toch himself said on Twitter that he did not mean to imply that DeVos had specific plans to quit.
Was tallying DeVos odds in @politico, not suggesting her plane's idling at National with a flight plan to Michigan. I give her a year.
— Thomas Toch (@thomas_toch) November 7, 2017
DeVos has been beset by criticism, but has repeatedly reiterated — including in the Politico story — that she plans to serve all four years in the Trump administration. Of course, that might change, but there’s nothing suggesting so, at least right now.
Meanwhile a number of education journalists criticized the story as inaccurate on Twitter. These corrections, though, are unlikely to get the same viral traction that the original story has.
This is making its way around left-wing education advocates. It is genuinely (and pretty obviously) fake news https://t.co/PRWbEjekYB
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) November 7, 2017
This is untrue and unbelievably irresponsible to print. Sourcing for "officials" is literally one guy at a think tank speculating. https://t.co/W8r8OJs0ri
— Michael Stratford (@mstratford) November 7, 2017
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