The Washington Post attempted to throw an embarrassing story about now-Vice President Kamala Harris down the memory hole but reversed course after Reason and others exposed the paper’s attempt to become Kamala Harris’ personal Pravda. How embarrassing.
Back on July 23, 2019, when Harris was a lowly senator from California and one of the many 2020 Democratic candidates for president, the Post dared to run quotes from an unflattering interview. How impertinent!
In the original version of the article, Harris compared life amid the rigors of the campaign trail to living behind bars and pleading for food and water.
Here are the first seven paragraphs of the original article, written by Ben Terris and preserved by Reason‘s Eric Boehm:
It was the Fourth of July, Independence Day, and Kamala Harris was explaining to her sister, Maya, that campaigns are like prisons.
She’d been recounting how in the days before the Democratic debate in Miami life had actually slowed down to a manageable pace. Kamala, Maya and the rest of the team had spent three days prepping for that contest in a beach-facing hotel suite, where they closed the curtains to blot out the fun. But for all the hours of studying policy and practicing the zingers that would supercharge her candidacy, the trip allowed for a break in an otherwise all-encompassing schedule.
“I actually got sleep,” Kamala said, sitting in a Hilton conference room, beside her sister, and smiling as she recalled walks on the beach with her husband and that one morning SoulCycle class she was able to take.
“That kind of stuff,” Kamala said between sips of iced tea, “which was about bringing a little normal to the days, that was a treat for me.”
“I mean, in some ways it was a treat,” Maya said. “But not really.”
“It’s a treat that a prisoner gets when they ask for, ‘A morsel of food please,’ ” Kamala said shoving her hands forward as if clutching a metal plate, her voice now trembling like an old British man locked in a Dickensian jail cell. “‘And water! I just want wahtahhh….’Your standards really go out the f–ing window.”
Kamala burst into laughter.
This is exactly the kind of cringe-worthy non-comparison that caused Democratic voters to sour on Kamala Harris. Obviously, campaigning to become the most powerful person in the world is nothing like starving behind bars. It was particularly disgusting for Harris — a career prosecutor who put non-violent drug offenders behind bars — to joke about prisoners dying of thirst. As Boehm noted, Harris’ “track record includes defending dirty cops and laughing off criticism of her history of throwing poor parents in jail when their kids missed school.”
This brief section of text showed, rather than telling, a key aspect of Kamala Harris’s character — and it wasn’t pretty.
Yet that particularly revealing profile disappeared from The Washington Post website sometime after Harris took the oath of office to become vice president. The rest of the profile remained, but the embarrassing story had disappeared, replaced with a new opening anecdote, likely authored by political reporter Chelsea Janes, whose byline had been added to the old article.
Reason asked The Washington Post why it had altered the Kamala Harris profile from more than a year in the past. Molly Gannon Conway, the paper’s communications manager, explained that as part of an online series before Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Post “repurposed and updated some of our strong biographical pieces about both political figures. The profile of Maya Harris was updated with new reporting, as noted online, using the existing URL. The original story remains available in print.”
Conway did not include other examples of updates and she did not respond to Reason‘s question about whether Kamala Harris’s staff had requested the change. The vice president’s office did not comment on the matter.
Not long after Reason‘s report, the Post appears to have had a change of heart. Roughly three hours after the story broke, the Post updated the website and URLs to restore the original version of the Kamala Harris profile.
“We should have kept both versions of the story on the Post’s site (the original and updated one), rather than redirecting to the updated version,” Kris Coratti, the Post’s vice president for communications, told Reason in a statement. “We have now done that, and you will see the link to the original at the top of the updated version.”
When Joe Biden took the oath of office, the legacy media flipped on a dime. After four years of demonizing the sitting president and finding any excuse to twist the truth and put Donald Trump in a negative light, many outlets seemed to go limp. When Biden himself violated his own mask mandate mere hours after he imposed it, the legacy media apparently couldn’t be bothered. If Trump had done such a thing, it would have been headline news for days.
Yet even by the legacy media’s standards, this Kamala Harris episode sets a high bar for hypocrisy. The Washington Post took all the trouble to remove an unflattering report from July 2019, and “update” it with flattering text. The paper did not reveal whether or not Kamala Harris’ staff requested the change, but either way, this reflects horribly on the news outlet.