New York Post Reporter Resigns After Writing False Story About Kamala Harris

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 25: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
|
April 28, 2021 9:00 a.m.

It’s arguably been a challenging week for false information peddlers who seem unable to keep from getting caught advancing fact-free claims as they mount falsehood to generate outrage over a nonexistent meat rationing policy — and now — a fictional tale that Vice President Kamala Harris’ book was part of a welcome kit for migrant children.

The New York Post has edited and republished what was originally a false story by one of its longtime reporters who claimed that copies of a 2019 children’s book written by Vice President Harris were being included in “welcome kits” given to migrant children at a shelter in Long Beach, California. 

The reporter who wrote the story said Tuesday that she has resigned from the tabloid after being “ordered” to write the false story which claimed undocumented minors were being welcomed to the United States with copies of a book Harris authored before she became vice president, entitled, “Superheroes Are Everywhere.”

“The Kamala Harris story — an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against — was my breaking point,” Laura Italiano tweeted Tuesday afternoon, several hours after the story was temporarily removed. 

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

But the assertions in Italiano’s initial article published Friday, claiming that the book was being shelled out at migrant shelters, had already circulated through a well-oiled machine of false information.

By the time the tabloid issued a single-sentence editor’s note at the bottom of the original online article, weakly acknowledging on Tuesday it had erred, the original story from four days before, had already been pounced on by Republicans who further spread the false information to thousands more in their base. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Sunday suggested that tax dollars were being used to pay for Harris’ book to be distributed to immigrants.

“The Biden administration’s weakness caused a surge of illegal immigration,” Cotton mused that afternoon. “Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?” 

By Monday morning, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel was tweeting chunks of the false narrative. 

“After learning officials are handing out Kamala Harris’ book to migrants in facilities at the border, it’s worth asking …Was Harris paid for these books? Is she profiting from Biden’s border crisis?” McDainiel tweeted.

The story was also shared by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ). 

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker debunked the stories early Tuesday morning, noting that it’s not clear whether a child actually received even a single copy of the book that Reuters had photographed on a cot at a shelter in Long Beach last week.

Yet after the original story was removed, edited versions of the stories popped back up on the New York Post’s site rewritten as: “Kamala isn’t at the southern border — but at least one migrant kid got Veep’s book.”

A similar story published by Fox News was corrected Tuesday to note the error over the existence of multiple books in welcome packs. 

That correction came hours after the network acknowledged days-old reporting of a viral graphic that “incorrectly implied” that President Biden planned to restrict Americans’ red meat consumption to roughly one burger per month.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: