By: Nevaeh Richardson
Before you attempt to “slay” a person, you may need to check your receipts a couple of times. One New York Post reporter learned that the hard way and has now resigned after a false, salacious report aimed at the vice president of the United States.
The reporter, Laura Italiano, is claiming she was forced to write the story.
“Today I handed in my resignation to my editors at the New York Post. 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 said. “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.”
So, how did this all begin? Well, let’s revisit.
Kamala Harris published a 40-page picture book in 2019 for children titled “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” which encourages children to help others in need and follows Harris’ life experiences. The book is for children ages 3 to 7 and was illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe.
Days after Harris announced her 2020 presidential campaign, the book accelerated to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for children’s books.
With a stream of migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration has hurriedly put together facilities to house the minors.
One such facility is located in Long Beach, a port city in California that began housing immigrant children in its convention center. The makeshift shelter is being funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The shelter is able to house up to 1,000 children and is reserved for girls up to age 17 and boys up to age 12.
With the arrival of almost 100 children recently, interest from Long Beach residents in volunteering and donating to the shelter has increased, according to Long Beach city officials.
Aid approved by Health and Human Services include meals, education, entertainment, language translation, religious services, etc.
A photographer for the Southern California News Group went to the Long Beach convention center and captured a photo of Harris’ book leaning against a backpack.
The photo made the front page of the New York Post with a story that incorrectly claimed that the migrant children residing at the Long Beach shelter were to be given a copy of “Superheroes Are Everywhere” in their welcome kits. The article, which was published on April 23, had no evidence for the claim and Italiano gave no response as she was emailed about how she came to the conclusion stated in the article.
The next day, Fox News published an article authored by Italiano and reporter Morgan Phillips that repeated the false information that Harris’ picture book was distributed to the migrant children at Long Beach. The tabloidish headline “KAM ON IN” was front page news. But…too bad for them…it was ALL WRONG.
The false information was even amplified by Republicans on Twitter:
“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?” — McDaniel, Ronna (@GOPChairwoman) April 26, 2021
“The Biden administration’s weakness caused a surge of illegal immigration. Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?”– Cotton, Tom (@TomCottonAR)
A Long Beach official told The Fact Checker that only one copy was donated to the shelter by a member of the community.
“The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a citywide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter,” said city spokesman Kevin Lee. “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.”
Let this be a cautionary tale. If you are going to “come for” a history-making, Converse wearing, glass-ceiling breaking, second-in-command leader of the free world, you may want to make sure you have your facts straight, and your integrity in check.