A New York Post reporter quit after she said she was “ordered” to write a false story about Vice President Kamala Harris’ book, The New York Times reports.
The Post ran a story on its front page Saturday claiming without any legitimate sourcing that all migrant children held at a facility in Long Beach, Calif. received a copy of Harris’ book as part of a “welcome kit.”
The story claimed that “thousands” of copies had been distributed through migrant facilities.
But the story was entirely false. It was based on a photograph of a sole copy of the book at a migrant shelter, which local officials said was donated through a neighborhood toy and book drive for the kids.
The Post took down its story before republishing it with a brief correction.
Numerous Republicans and conservatives shared the false report, which was also widely covered on Fox News.
“Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Longtime reporter Laura Italiano, the author of the fake story, said on Twitter that she resigned from the newspaper on Tuesday.
“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 tweeted.
“It's been a privilege to cover the City of New York for its liveliest, wittiest tabloid -- a paper filled with reporters and editors I admire deeply and hold as friends. I'm sad to leave,” added Italiano, who has worked at the outlet for years.
Conservatives lob false attacks:
The fake Harris story followed the widely disseminated conservative conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden’s climate plan will limit Americans to four pounds of meat consumption a day. The story, which was repeatedly covered on Fox News, came from a Daily Mail article about a study that has nothing to do with Biden nor his climate plans.
“Bye-Bye Burgers Under Biden’s Climate Plan,” said one Fox News headline, prompting conservative outrage on social media.
On Monday, host John Roberts acknowledged that “a graphic and the script incorrectly implied that it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case.”
Democratic Fox News pundit Juan Williams slammed the network over the false report.
“Last week we had the hamburger story: ‘Oh, Biden is going to take your hamburger!’” he said. “Or, you know, it’s always — Kamala Harris’s book is being given to immigrants. These stories are false, but the right-wing echo chamber starts going crazy because you can go after a Democrat.”