A New York Post reporter said Tuesday she had resigned after being ordered to write a false story that claimed migrant children were being given copies of a book authored by Vice President Kamala Harris in “welcome kits.”
The story, published last Friday, set off a days-long misinformation cycle among Republican leaders and on conservative media. The Washington Post debunked the claims Tuesday, demonstrating that the article appeared to be based entirely on one image of a single copy of Harris’ 2019 children’s book that was propped on a bed at a Long Beach, California shelter.
The reporter, Laura Italiano, announced her resignation on Twitter:
According to The Washington Post, Italiano’s been writing for the New York tabloid since the 1990s. Neither she nor the Post immediately responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
The article, which was published both online and in print, featured the front-page headline “Kam On In” in the print edition. The tabloid used a Reuters image of Harris’ book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, on a cot at a migrant shelter to suggest that the vice president’s work was being distributed en masse to undocumented kids.
Multiple high-profile Republicans amplified the story, suggesting that Harris was using taxpayer funds to profit off the situation at the southern border. A Fox News reporter even quizzed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the book during a press briefing last week.
In reality, Harris’ book was one of hundreds donated as part of a citywide book and toy drive, a spokesperson for the city of Long Beach told The Washington Post.
After the Post published its fact-check, the NYC tabloid took down its false article. It was later restored, with an editor’s note: “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.”