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Was Politico’s ‘leak’ of Biden’s VP pick an accident? Conspiracy theorists don’t think so

Politico revealed Kamala Harris as the pick about two weeks ago.

Aug 11, 2020, 7:04 pm



Eilish O'Sullivan

While presumptive Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate as on Tuesday, Politico revealed the pick about two weeks ago.

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Politico reported via a graphic on its “running-mate tracker” that Biden picked Harris on Aug. 1. Only, the graphic in question was posted two days prior, on July 29, and Biden didn’t publicly announce his decision until Aug. 11.

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“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 graphic’s text read, along with a photo of Harris.

Politico quickly took down the graphic and added an editor’s note. “Due to a technical error, an earlier version of the graphic mistakenly reported that Biden had made his VP selection. We regret that mistake,” it read.

While it’s common for news outlets to pre-write announcements such as this, the date and apparent quote from Biden had people questioning if Politico was tipped off to the decision and accidentally leaked the pick. A Politico spokesperson addressed the inclusion of the quote in a statement to CNN.

“Our standard practice is to use ‘lorem ipsum’ as placeholder text, which in this instance obviously did not happen. We regret the error and any confusion that it caused,” the spokesperson said at the time.

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Now that Biden has announced Harris as his running mate, people are revisiting the “leak,” and some are now convinced it was no accident.

“If there had been more backlash from some circles we would be talking a different VP pick today. The leak served its purpose. It wasn’t an accident,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Meh, I still think that ‘leak’ by Politico was meant to gauge how much outrage on the left that pick would generate. Meaning, the decision was still not quite finalized at that point,” another said.

Conspiracy theorists are suggesting the leak was ultimately a vibe check to see how the public would react to Harris being the pick.

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*First Published: Aug 11, 2020, 7:04 pm