Despite these facts, The New York Post initially repeated the falsehoods in a follow-up article falsely claiming that “thousands” of copies of Ms. Harris’s book had been distributed at migrant shelters.
The rise and collapse of the tabloid’s false accusations about the vice president illustrated the speed at which political misinformation can be weaponized in the modern media environment. The Post later issued brief corrections, but only after its falsehoods had been amplified at face value by leading Republican lawmakers and cable news stars.
“Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, wrote on Twitter on Sunday, adding a link to the Post story; Mr. Cotton’s tweet was later deleted.
On Tuesday, the author of the original Post article, Laura Italiano, wrote on Twitter that she had resigned from the paper, describing the Harris article as “an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against.” She added, “I’m sad to leave.”
Ms. Italiano, a veteran Post journalist and longtime chronicler of the New York City courts, is a well-liked figure in the paper’s newsroom. She did not respond to inquiries about her resignation or how the Harris article came to be. Representatives for The Post did not respond to calls and emails on Tuesday night.