Washington Post Backpedals After Removing ‘Prisoner’ Anecdote From Kamala Harris Profile

An updated version of the already-updated story now redirects readers to the original article published in 2019

Last Updated: January 22, 2021 @ 11:35 AM

The Washington Post on Friday responded to criticism stemming from the removal of an unflattering anecdote from a 2019 profile of then-Sen. Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya Harris.

The paper, which republished an edited version of the story on Jan. 11, has now added a link to the original 2019 version, which opened with an anecdote in which Kamala Harris compared her presidential campaign to the life of a prisoner begging for food and water.

“As part of our Transfer of Power coverage and special sections produced on Biden and Harris, we repurposed and updated some of our strong biographical pieces about both political figures,” a spokesperson for the Post told TheWrap on Friday. “The profile of Maya Harris was updated with new reporting, and while the original story remained available on The Lily (a separate section of The Post), 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. We have now done that, and you will see the link to the original at the top of the updated version.”

Here is the updated story, which now links to this, the old story.

Looking at both links, the omission is clear: The original piece in 2019, which focused on Harris’ close connection to her sister and how that relationship affected her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, featured the now-vice president comparing the rigors of campaigning to life in prison — and how even a short break from the campaign offers a welcome respite.

As Post reporter Ben Terris recounted: “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.”

The updated version omitted that comparison and was subsequently called out for it in a Reason article that said the Post “memory-holed” some unflattering reporting on Harris.