*The Washington Post removed an anecdote about prisoners from a 2019 feature on Vice President Kamala Harris. The publication explained that the story was “repurposed and updated” ahead of the inauguration.
Reason reporter Eric Boehm noticed the edit and quickly called out the Post over its updated write-up about Harris. The original Post included a tale Harris told to her sister, Maya, in which she compared campaigns to prisoners seeking food and water.
According to reports, one paragraph from the story detailed the conversation, in part, like this:
“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.”
I asked the Post why the Harris feature was updated to remove quotes that showed the VP in an unflattering light.
The answer? “We repurposed and updated some of our strong biographical pieces about both political figures….The original story remains available in print.”
— Eric Boehm (@EricBoehm87) January 22, 2021
As of January 11, however, that anecdote no longer appears in the profile, with the online version noting that “[t]his story has been updated from an earlier published version.”
“When The Washington Post published a 2019 campaign trail feature about then-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris’ close relationship with her sister, it opened with a memorable anecdote in which Harris bizarrely compared the rigors of the campaign trail to…life behind bars. And then proceeded to laugh—at the idea of an inmate begging for a sip of water,” Boehm wrote, calling it “an extremely cringeworthy moment” that painted Harris in a negative light.
“But now that Harris is vice president, that awful moment has seemingly vanished from the Post’s website after the paper ‘updated’ the piece earlier this month,” Boehm added.
“It should go without saying that choosing to run for the most powerful political office in the world is absolutely nothing like being behind bars—and getting to squeeze in a morning SoulCycle session before sitting down for an interview with a national newspaper is not remotely the same as dying of thirst. None of this is funny,” he continued.
The Post’s communications manager told Reason that “we repurposed and updated some of our strong biographical pieces about both political figures” in the buildup to the Biden-Harris inauguration, and that the “original story remains available in print.”
Harris was heavily criticized during the Democratic primary over her background as a prosecutor.
“Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors,” California law professor Lara Bazelon wrote in the New York Times in January 2019.