Newsweek Editors Apologize for ‘Birther’ Op-ed, Claiming They ‘Failed to Anticipate’ Its Effects

Newsweek Editors Apologize for ‘Birther’ Op-ed, Claiming They ‘Failed to Anticipate’ Its Effects

Editors at Newsweek have apologized for an op-ed that questioned whether Kamala Harris is eligible to serve as vice president since her parents are immigrants.

The op-ed, by law professor John Eastman, was widely criticized, prompting editors Nancy Cooper and Josh Hammer to defend its publication. The piece had “nothing to do with racist birtherism,” they claimed, even though President Trump cited the piece while questioning Harris’ eligibility during a press conference Thursday. Trump, of course, also questioned President Barack Obama’s birthplace.

On Friday, the editors added a note to the top of the op-ed.

“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize,” they wrote. “We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized.”

But Cooper and Hammer resisted calls the take down the piece, saying they “believe in being transparent.” Newsweek instead published a counter-argument to Eastman’s piece by Eugene Volokh, another law professor.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.