This past weekend, a New York Post story—which has since been edited—sparked controversy when it claimed copies of Vice President Kamala Harris's children's book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, was being distributed to migrants in care packages.
Immediately, conservative media was up in arms over supposed taxpayer money being used to buy and distribute Harris' book to children who weren't U.S. citizens.
The outrage from the right was deafening, but there was just one problem.
Multiple fact-checks quickly proved the story to be false.
It turned out a single copy of Harris's book had been donated by a member of the public. In truth, there was no scandal at all.
But conservative media did a far worse job distributing the correction than they did spreading the false story to their many followers.
This story was all over right-wing media last week. Turns out exactly ONE copy of Harris's book was donated by a me… https://t.co/YCkXOwpqcn— Arieh Kovler (@Arieh Kovler) 1619531210.0
It was a single copy of Harris’s children book, donated by a community member, per city officials. The Murdochs mo… https://t.co/M9DQdRIFhK— Jan Wolfe (@Jan Wolfe) 1619527706.0
The NY Post story claiming Harris' book is being handed out to migrant children is ... completely false. But it's a… https://t.co/m9iADhWJoS— Eliza Relman (@Eliza Relman) 1619531547.0
On Tuesday April 27, Laura Italiano—the New York Post reporter who penned the false story—publicly resigned on Twitter, claiming she had been "ordered" to write it against her wishes.
An announcement: Today I handed in my resignation to my editors at the New York Post.— Laura Italiano (@Laura Italiano) 1619559868.0
The Kamala Harris story -- an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough ag… https://t.co/FW4TMd9zpd— Laura Italiano (@Laura Italiano) 1619560909.0
It's been a privilege to cover the City of New York for its liveliest, wittiest tabloid -- a paper filled with repo… https://t.co/pmBkyqsTPn— Laura Italiano (@Laura Italiano) 1619561514.0
There were some online who immediately extended their sympathies.
@Italiano_Laura Laura, I’m so sorry to hear it ended this way. Major props for publicly telling it like it is. That… https://t.co/SdvELUwqhp— Sara Dorn (@Sara Dorn) 1619568921.0
@Italiano_Laura Hey Laura please DM me when you can we’d like to interview you. Thanks.— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin) 1619567788.0
Others were more skeptical of her version of events.
They wondered who ordered her to write the false story and questioned why she went stood by it until the lies were exposed.
The New York Post reporter who wrote the BS story about the VP’s book says she was ordered to write the story.… https://t.co/nVToboOokJ— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘) 1619562915.0
Hey @Italiano_Laura - care to comment on your trash @nypost piece that launched another phony right-wing conspiracy… https://t.co/YVWb2Br4Se— Jon Favreau (@Jon Favreau) 1619530062.0
@CMargaronis @Italiano_Laura @GlennKesslerWP Italiano should apologize to the Vice President, name who “ordered” he… https://t.co/oQtHeRcC3x— (((anti-antisemite))) (@(((anti-antisemite)))) 1619564221.0
Whether or not one feels sympathy for Italiano, there's no denying the situation surrounding her false story demonstrates the power of misinformation in media.
@Italiano_Laura Yet you still wrote it, and translated a lie that millions of hypnotized MAGA are going to believe is true.— Jake Lobin (@Jake Lobin) 1619568425.0
An honest news organization would fire the editor(s) who ordered the false cover story, invite reporter… https://t.co/f4mLskou19— David Cay Johnston (@David Cay Johnston) 1619577681.0
It's only a matter of time before outlets like Fox News, NewsMax, OAN and the New York Post get their hands on another false exposé full of lies which manage to enrage their followers.