Three weeks before the election, an FGCU journalism class that is fact-checking local candidates’ claims, got the assignment to choose an ad they wanted to tackle. They gravitated toward an ad that says gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum is “on another planet.”
"So far, we've found the claims aren't false, [but] they're taken way out of context,” student, Leah Sankey says.
Leading up to the election, Fox 4 is working with the class to document some of their work and push them to show where they’re getting their information. The class has verified claims made about Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott.
The Republican Governor’s Association produced this ad, which claims Gillum wants to abolish ICE and raise Florida taxes by a billion dollars.
And Gillum’s opponent in the race for governor, DeSantis, has repeated some of the claims. Part of the headline on this page of his campaign website says ‘Gillum Wants to Abolish Ice.’ The short video is from a CNN interview where Gillum says as much.
“What [the ad] is saying is true,” student, Amalie Bethune says. “Gillum did say he wants to abolish ICE. But it didn’t give the whole story.”
On his campaign website, Gillum argues that President Trump has “turned ICE into a police and child separation agency." So, as he wrote on Facebook in July, he wants to “abolish ICE in its current form to be replaced with a more compassionate and focused agency that actually keeps us safer.”
The class ruled the ad, which says Gillum wants to shut down ICE, has some truth but lacks context.
“They’re just giving a biased, half-truth,” Sankey says.
But the class also decided the argument is effective.
“Because a lot of people won't go through and take the time to vet these issues,” Bethune says. "They won't go in and see the context behind them.”