The internet rumor mill was sent into overdrive after Politico published, and then swiftly deleted, a story announcing Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate, prompting speculation the outlet was privy to an insider leak.
For a brief time on Tuesday, a Politico story running down a list of likely VP picks for the Democratic nominee reported that Biden had chosen Harris, writing that the announcement came on August 1 – some five days after the article was originally published.
“In his announcement, Biden called Harris ‘a worthy opponent and a worthy running mate,’ alluding to the pair’s rivalry during the earlier stages of the Democratic primary,” the story said, mysteriously quoting from a campaign statement dated in the future.
Politico published an article claiming Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, and announced it August 1. It’s since been changed, and scrubbed from the piece.
Original on the left. Current version on the right.
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) July 28, 2020
While the story was quickly changed, replacing the text about Harris with a generic bio, and an editor’s note was added to the piece noting that a “technical error” caused the inaccurate reporting, the incident has sparked a wave of competing theories on social media.
Politico has issued an editor’s note, but doesn’t address the quote from Biden: pic.twitter.com/k0RuDxeHSj
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) July 28, 2020
Many rushed to speculate the story was merely a draft template written ahead of time in the event Harris is announced as Biden’s running mate, a common practice in newsrooms intended to speed up the reporting process. The draft was merely published on accident, some theorized.
Most likely this was a draft story that was accidentally “made live”…
News orgs do this stuff all the time. Usually with obits.
— Homunculus Phil the Philly Fan in Milwaukee (@TasticFlap) July 28, 2020
They write em up and have em ready. Bet they got same thing on Rice and whoever the other one is.
— PRAYING MOUSE🙏🏻 (@mouse458) July 28, 2020
it’s like writing eulogies for famous people who are ‘of age’. just in case.
— Rani ~~ ~ Last of the Red Hot Boomers 🧨 (@MilitaryRosary) July 28, 2020
That answer was not satisfying for some, however, as netizens pointed out the Politico piece included specific information, such as a quote and date, suggesting the publication may have aired an insider campaign leak prematurely.
“Why would they have a quote from Biden calling Kamala Harris a ‘worthy opponent and a worthy running mate’? Unless Politico is in the businesses of faking quotes, this is real,” one user said. “It’s probably a press release from the Biden campaign that was embargoed but leaked.”
They write quotes also?
— Jmajic (@Jmajic1) July 28, 2020
Normally when they have a date and a quote, I would assume they know who he’s picking. Because literally nothing else makes sense. Any other excuse is gaslighting.
— Aphid Twin (@AphidTwin) July 28, 2020
What makes it weird is that they added quotes from a statement on a decision made four days from now. It could be a leak, but I don’t know yet.
— Joe Cunningham (@JoePCunningham) July 28, 2020
Yet others pushed back, elaborating on the ‘draft’ theory to argue that Politico may have placed “filler that they’re going to replace with the actual facts” once Biden’s announcement actually comes.
As someone else pointed out, though, August 1 is a Saturday and it doesn’t make sense to announce that over the weekend. So maybe they just made up some filler that they’re going to replace with the actual facts if Biden actually picks her. I dunno.
— Stuart de Stael (@StuartdeStael) July 28, 2020
While the mystery has yet to be solved, with Politico’s brief editor’s note doing little to quell the confusion, some netizens couldn’t help but to have fun with the anomaly, musing that the outlet may have figured out the secret to time travel.
If it turns out to be true in a few days, 1) time travel is real. 2) If Biden wins, Kamala Harris will be our president after he steps down due to his cognitive decline. https://t.co/oV7GM7yAbP
— Hqmmer 🔨🇺🇸🏴🇨🇿 (@theonetonhammer) July 28, 2020
So this happened. Politico ran this graphic of Kamala stating Joe Biden announced her as his VP on the future date of August 1. Somehow they were also able to reach into the future and pull a quote about the selection from Biden as well. 🤦♂️😂🤔 https://t.co/P6dmv1ZZgN
— Super Journalist (Retired) – JOURN-AL of Skrypton (@Magnum_CK) July 28, 2020
— Cody Bidlow (@CodyBidlow) July 28, 2020
Someone is doing time travel!! Politico publishes a bio of Kamala Harris that says VP Biden chose Harris on August 1. Mitch McConnell publicity Aide says HUH!!!?? pic.twitter.com/ItixMrN2QL
— Jim and Chuck 🏳️🌈 👬🐻🌪🌊🌎 (@fireman452a) July 28, 2020
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