The Writer of That Made-Up Kamala Harris Book Story Has Resigned From the New York Post

Illustration for article titled The Writer of That Made-Up Kamala Harris Book Story Has Resigned From the New York Post
Graphic: Jezebel (Photo: New York Post)

Here’s a little update on the false story published by the New York Post that claimed the Biden administration was giving out copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’s book to migrant children held in federal shelters: the author of that story, Laura Italiano, has resigned, and claims she was “ordered to write” what she described as an “incorrect story.”

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On Tuesday, Italiano announced on Twitter that she had resigned from the Post, and added in a follow-up tweet, “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.” According to the New York Times, Italiano was “a veteran Post journalist and longtime chronicler of the New York City courts” and “a well-liked figure in the paper’s newsroom.”

But this isn’t really a story about Italiano—it’s a story about the Post, and what the fuck is happening with the top leadership of the Murdoch-owned tabloid. While the outlet is certainly not known for its journalistic integrity, there have been some pretty troubling instances lately of editors running roughshod over its reporters, all seemingly in the name of pursuing fake or poorly sourced stories whose main purpose is to score political hits against Democrats. Take the illuminating case of the Hunter Biden laptop story in the Post from last year, a story that few reporters at the Post wanted to touch. According to sources, it was, as the New York Times reported, “written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it,” because he “had concerns over the article’s credibility.”

It ended up having a double byline, including one reporter whose involvement was minimal and who seemingly wasn’t even told she would be credited as one of its authors before the story was published. More from the New York Times, emphasis my own:

As deadline approached, editors pressed staff members to add their bylines to the story — and at least one aside from Mr. Golding refused, two Post journalists said. A Post spokeswoman had no comment on how the article was written or edited.

Headlined “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” the article appeared Wednesday with two bylines: Emma-Jo Morris, a deputy politics editor who joined the paper after four years at the Murdoch-owned Fox News, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, a Post reporter since 2014.

Ms. Morris did not have a bylined article in The Post before Wednesday, a search of its website showed. She arrived at the tabloid in April after working as an associate producer on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her Instagram account, which was set to private on Wednesday, included photos of her posing with the former Trump administration members Mr. Bannon and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Roger J. Stone Jr., a friend and former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump. (In July, the president commuted the sentence of Mr. Stone on seven felonies.)

Ms. Fonrouge had little to do with the reporting or writing of the article, said three people with knowledge of how it was prepared. She learned that her byline was on the story only after it was published, the people said.

And it sure seems like the Post’s shoddy “journalism” is only going to get worse. The New York Times reports that there have been some recent changes in the Post’s newsroom:

Mr. Murdoch, who spoke frequently with Mr. Trump, installed a new editor at the tabloid last month, Keith Poole, who formerly served in a top position at Mr. Murdoch’s London paper The Sun. At least eight journalists at The Post have departed the paper recently, including a White House correspondent, Ebony Bowden.

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My advice: just read Page Six, and move on!

Senior reporter, Jezebel

DISCUSSION

I don’t want to hear anyone employed by the New York Post whining about how awful it is.

You know where you work. I appreciate that jobs at newspapers, etc are in a bad state right now, but IMO this is like resigning the Trump Administration and then wanting people to feel bad that he made you say some stupid shit.

No. You knew what you were getting into when you took the position. “I thought I could make a difference and help change him”. Fuck that. 

And since we know the Post makes reporters write bullshit, maybe they should tell people all the shit they printed about Hillary, Obama etc. that helped tip the election to Trump.