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Republican politicians are furious over a story that a shelter for immigrant children gave the kids copies of a book by Kamala Harris.
There’s just one problem: The story isn’t true.
According to a fact-checking report by The Washington Post, only a single copy of Ms Harris’ children’s book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, made its way to a migrant shelter in Long Beach, California, and that was as a one-time donation during a charity drive – not, as some have suggested, as part of an official supply package handed out to every child.
But that hasn’t stopped conservative news outlets from running with it.
“Unaccompanied migrant kids brought from the US-Mexico border to a new shelter in Long Beach, Calif., will be given a copy of her 2019 children’s book, ‘Superheroes are Everywhere,’ in their welcome kits,” the New York Post reported on 23 April.
“Harris’s children’s bookSuperheroes Are Everywhere is included in welcome packs for migrant children arriving at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, a recently converted influx facility,” Fox News echoed two days later.
Soon prominent GOP officials were repeating the story.
“After learning officials are handing out Kamala Harris’ book to migrants in facilities at the border, it’s worth asking… Was Harris paid for these books? Is she profiting from Biden’s border crisis?” tweeted Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
“The Biden administration’s weakness caused a surge of illegal immigration. Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?” Senator Tom Cotton fumed on Twitter.
But according to the city where the shelter is located, no one is “handing out” the books.
“The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a citywide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the US Department of Health and Human Services shelter,” Kevin Lee, a spokesperson for the city, told The Washington Post.
“The book you reference is one of hundreds of books that have already been donated. The book was not purchased by HHS or the City.”
Ms Harris’ office said roughly the same thing.
“A citywide donation for books and toys was organized by the community to donate to children being housed at migrant facilities,” Sabrina Singh, a spokesperson for the vice president, told theWashington Post. “The Office of the Vice President was not aware that her children’s book was donated.”
Both news organizations that reported the story, Fox News and the New York Post, are owned by the conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family.
Neither news organization has yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment.
However, the New York Post on Tuesday added an editor’s note to two of its stories about the books.
“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,” the note said.