In April, the New York Times published a story about Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist in Washington state “who probably more than any other person made critical race theory a rallying cry on the right.”
The headline read, “He fuels the right’s cultural fires (and spreads them to Florida),” a reference to his support for a new Florida law prohibiting some teachers from discussing L.G.B.T.Q. issues with students.
The subheadline explains: “Christopher Rufo helped make critical race theory a conservative rallying cry. Now he sees L.G.B.T.Q. issues as an even more potent line of attack.”
There’s also a portrait of Rufo standing on a beach with his thumbs hooked in his pockets.
That same picture appeared in another supposed New York Times story that’s spreading on social media. In what looks like a screenshot from the newspaper’s website, the headline says: “He was one of the right’s most outspoken leaders. Then he got sick.”
The subheadline explains: “Christopher Rufo helped make critical race theory a conservative rallying cry. An unusual case of recurring ‘superdiarrhea’ put a sudden stop to his activism.”
An Instagram post sharing this image flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
This isn’t a real New York Times story. The image is doctored.
Looking online, we couldn’t find any credible reporting on this supposed sickness, much less on the Times’ website. He most recently appeared in a July Times story about “the vanishing moderate Democrat,” but not because of his health. Rather, the paper said that “he has attacked Democrats for, he charged, attempting to indoctrinate school children with ‘trans ideology.’”
He is active on Twitter, taking issue with a quote in a recent New York magazine story published on July 14 that declared “the right’s boy wonder finds a new cause.”
We rate claims that this is a real New York Times story False.