PolitiFact hired — then quickly fired — Alan Grayson on Thursday as a “reader advocate,” with his dismissal coming in the midst of a social media storm over the former congressman’s fiery history with the press.
Both the fact-checking website and Grayson said one reason the deal was canceled was his possible run for the U.S. House again this year. But the leader of PolitiFact conceded the complaints about Grayson were a factor, too.
“It was a little bit of everything,” said PolitiFact executive editor Aaron Sharockman of his decision to cancel the contract. “We had to weigh all of that.”
Grayson, a Democrat who served in the House representing two districts in Central Florida, was chosen along with former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly of St. Petersburg to “critique our fact-checks and provide their own expert insight on the issues confronting voters,” Sharockman wrote Thursday.
That announcement, however, led to a sharp response from several news media and political leaders, largely stemming from an incident in 2016 when Grayson and Politico reporter Isaac Dovere got into a confrontation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.