There are many ways to spread falsehoods, and Republicans are showing their continued zeal for pursuing them. Even though over 100 days have passed since the Prevaricator-in-Chief was declawed, the GOP is still Donald Trump’s party. While outright lying continues, an indirect approach to promoting misinformation remains a favorite arrow in the Republicans’ morally corrupt quiver.
A case in point is the recent fiasco at the New York Post, in which a reporter, Laura Italiano, resigned after claiming on Tuesday that the publication “ordered” her to write “an incorrect story” accusing the Vice President of the United States of exploiting immigration. The fake story, which appeared on the front page last Saturday, claimed that Kamala Harris’ children’s book, “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” was being gifted to migrant children at a California shelter as part of “welcome kits.”
According to Associated Press fact-checking, children at the facility don’t receive books or welcome kits — only clothing and hygiene items. A single copy of Harris’ book appeared in a Reuters photograph near a child’s cot only because it was one of thousands of books donated to the facility by the local community.
There is no indication that GOP leaders were behind the Post’s actions and it’s also not surprising that top Republicans, including Sen. Tom Cotton, Chair Ronna McDaniel, and Reps. Lauren Boebert, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and Fred Keller, rushed to promote the story on Twitter. However, the GOP culpability lies in the aftermath of Italiano’s revelation and continues growing each day.
Once Italiano revealed that the story was a deliberate attempt to misinform the public (and not a regrettable instance of journalistic negligence), Republicans had their first chance to correct or remove their gloating tweets. However, they took no action to stop pushing the story that was revealed to be fake.
The Post then deleted the story and later reposted a rewrite 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.” This was another cue to Republicans that it’s high time to remove those faux-outraged tweets.
However, on Wednesday, HuffPost reported that none of the six prominent Republicans have corrected or removed their tweets about the fake story. Two lesser-known Republicans—Reps. Debbie Lesko and Ken Buck—deleted their tweets about the story, but they get no points for this because it was only in response to HuffPost’s inquiry.
Mediaite then published a brief statement on Friday from the Post, curiously claiming it “does not order reporters to deliberately publish factually inaccurate information.” However, the Post admitted that “[i]n this case, the story was amended as soon as it came to the editors’ attention that it was inaccurate.”
Despite these unequivocal developments, Cotton, McDaniel, Boebert, Scalise, Jordan, and Keller are still letting their tweets stand as I write this, further amplifying a fake story under cover of equally fake ignorance. This is today’s Republican Party.