New York Post reporter quits citing pressure to write incorrect story about Kamala Harris
"Laura Italiano claimed she was forced to write a report about migrant children being given a copy of the VP’s book as part of a welcome kit
Last modified on Wed 28 Apr 2021 01.15 EDT
A reporter at Rupert Murdoch’s New York tabloid has resigned after she claimed she was forced to write an incorrect story about migrants and Kamala Harris.
The New York Post published a story on 23 April headlined “Kam on in”, which claimed that migrant children were being given a copy of the vice-president’s 2019 book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, as part of a welcome kit in Los Angeles.
Laura Italiano was credited with writing the story but on Tuesday she announced on Twitter that being told to write the “incorrect story” was her “breaking point” over working at the tabloid.
“Today I handed in my resignation to my editors at the New York Post,” she said. “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.
“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.”
The story was followed up by several rightwing outlets such as Fox News. One of the cable channel’s reporter’s asked a question about the alleged use of Harris’s book at a White House press briefing.
But the story was based on a single photograph of the book taken at a temporary immigration facility at the Long Beach convention center in Southern California, and was revealed as being incorrect.
The Daily Beast reported that it had been taken off the Post’s website but was later reinstated with a footnote.
“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,” the editor’s note said.
An investigation by the Washington Post revealed that the book had turned up at the Long Beach facility as part of a book and toy drive for migrant children.
“The city of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach convention and visitors bureau, has a city-wide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the US Department of Health and Human Services shelter,” city spokesman Kevin Lee told the Washington Post.
“The book you reference is one of hundreds of books that have already been donated. The book was not purchased by HHS or the City.”
The Guardian has contacted the New York Post for comment."