A reporter for the New York Post has resigned from the publication after she was allegedly “ordered” to write an “incorrect article” about Vice President Kamala Harris.
Splashed across the Saturday cover of the New York Post was an article claiming that Ms Harris was providing a “welcome kit” to unaccompanied migrant children at a shelter in Long Beach, California, that included a copy of her book.
This story spread across conservative media channels, with several prominent Republicans, including GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, denouncing the alleged move by the vice president.
“Was Harris paid for these books? Is she profiting from Biden’s border crisis?” Ms McDaniel wrote in a tweet on Monday that remains up on her page, despite the claims later being fact-checked.
Laura Italiano, the reporter who wrote the article, has since resigned from the publication, stating the original claims in the New York Post piece were untrue.
“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,” she wrote in a Tuesday tweet.
The Independent has contacted the New York Post for a comment.
Major revisions were made to the online article from the New York Post after the inaccuracies were widely spread among conservative media channels. Ms Harris was accused of personally profiting off the immigration situation in the United States by providing her book, through taxpayer dollars, in welcome kits to children, but that was false.
The story, which was originally published on Friday, first faced fact checks from The Washington Post after a Long Beach spokesman said that a community member donated a single copy of Ms Harris’ children’s book, entitled Superheroes Are Everywhere, during a book drive. This book was not expected to be handed out in welcome kits, the spokesman added.
Books would instead be available to the children at the migrant shelter in an informal library and would not be pre-selected in “welcome kits”.
“Children will be able to pick and choose what they read from the available donated inventory. Children also get to pick and choose clothes from a variety of options as well. Having the ability to make personal choices like these are important for them during this challenging time in their lives,” the spokesman said.
No books by Ms Harris were provided by the federal government to be handed out to immigrant children, but the false information was still pushed widely by the New York Post.
The story sparked a Fox News reporter to ask during a White House press briefing on Monday if the vice president was “making any money” off the “welcome kits”. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she would have to “follow up” with an answer to that question, which an updated New York Post article then claimed the spokeswoman had “no answers” to their claims.
The New York Post has since heavily revised the falsified article by explaining that the sole Ms Harris’ book at the shelter was not provided by the federal government but instead by a community member. But the article still claims the presence of the book was an “open-arms gesture by the Biden administration,” even though it was not provided by the federal government.
Attached to the article is an “editor’s note” further detailing the changes to the article.
“The original version of this article said migrant kids were getting Harris’ book in a welcome kit, but has been updated to note that only one known copy of the book was given to a child,” according to the note. But the “only one known copy of the book” was donated directly to the shelter, not an individual child.
The New York Post also revised its follow-up article about the White House press briefing where Ms Pskaki had “no answers” on the publication’s story with a similar editor’s note.
Fox News, which pushed the story on its online platform and in multiple televised segments, has also since informed viewers that the story was false.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies