USA Today Let Stacey Abrams Stealth Edit Op-Ed to Downplay Support for Georgia Boycotts
USA Today is being accused of providing cover for Stacey Abrams after the news organization allowed the Georgia Democrat to edit out a line from an opinion article she wrote in which she said she “can’t argue with” people who choose to boycott businesses in her state. In a March 31 op-ed about the corporate response to Georgia’s new voting law, which Abrams called “racist,” she wrote that she doesn’t believe boycotts are “necessary – yet.” However, she added: “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.” Two days after publication, Major League Baseball announced that it was pulling the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of the state’s voting law. In response, USA Today allowed Abrams to heavily edit her op-ed. Many of the edits seemingly have little to do with MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game to Colorado, though Abrams did add that losing the game and the MLB draft could cost the state $100 million in lost revenue. She removed the line saying she can’t argue with people who boycott Georgia businesses, and instead wrote: “Rather than accept responsibility for their craven actions, Republican leaders blame me and others who have championed voting rights (and actually read the bill).” In the revised version, Abrams also noted that “Boycotts invariably cost jobs,” and that “Instead of a boycott, I strongly urge other events and productions to do business in Georgia and speak out against our law and similar proposals in other states.” According to the Internet Archive, Abrams’s piece was updated the afternoon of April 6, but an editor’s note acknowledging the changes wasn’t added for over two weeks, on April 22. Matt Whitlock, a Republican strategist, noted on Twitter that Politifact cited the edited version of Abrams’s op-ed to defend her from accusations that she supported a boycott before MLB’s decision. A line cited in the fact check – “Boycotts invariably cost jobs” – was added when the op-ed was updated on April 6, after MLB’s decision. Not over the fact that Stacey Abrams published an op-Ed about the Georgia law saying “boycotts work,” and she wouldn’t blame anyone for boycotting.. Then AFTER the MLB move, STEALTH EDITED the op-Ed with stronger language opposing boycotts, and media have used it to defend her. https://t.co/A284wksh2c — Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) April 24, 2021 Attempts by National Review to reach USA Today’s opinion editor, Kristen DelGuzzi, on the phone and by email on Tuesday were unsuccessful. In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, told Fox News: “We regret the oversight in updating the Stacey Abrams column. As soon as we recognized there was no editor’s note, we added it to the page to reflect her changes. We have reviewed our procedures to ensure this does not occur again.” Democrats in Georgia and nationally claim the new Georgia voting law is designed to suppress turnout in the state’s metro areas, which have a large number of minority voters. President Joe Biden has called the law “Jim Crow on Steroids,” and has lied about its provisions. Georgia’s Republican leaders have defended the law from attacks that is meant to suppress minority voters, and said comparisons to Jim Crow are misplaced. In an April 6, opinion article, David Mastio, USA Today’s deputy editorial page editor, wrote that the Georgia law is nothing like Jim Crow, is more liberal than many other state election laws, and probably will have no effect on voter turnout.