Accuracy in Media


Elizabeth Warren is trying to put accusations she lied about how she left a teaching job in the 1970s behind her, and Huffington Post is trying to help and willing to go to some deceptive lengths to do so.

In “Women on Twitter Share Pregnancy Discrimination Stories for Elizabeth Warren” – subhead: “In the wake of scrutiny over the presidential candidate’s own story of losing her job, the senator urged other women to come forward. So they did.” – reporter Josephine Harvey covered the controversy but from a distinctly pro-Warren side.

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is standing firm in the face of scrutiny, and so are her supporters, who are sharing their own stories on Twitter of when they faced discrimination because of pregnancy,” Harvey wrote.

“The 2020 presidential candidate tweeted Tuesday to reiterate that she had been edged out of her first teaching job when she became pregnant. She had been responding to unsubstantiated accusations that she had actually voluntarily resigned. ‘We can fight back by telling our stories. I tell mine on the campaign trail, and I hope to hear yours,’ she added.”

The accusations are substantiated by minutes from the April 21, 1971, meeting of the Riverdale Board of Education, which shows “that the board voted unanimously on a motion to extend Warren a ‘2nd year’ contract for a two-days-per-week teaching job,” the Free Beacon wrote. “That job is similar to the one she held the previous year, her first year of teaching.”

The record shows Warren was approved for 74 days teaching at $40.54 per day for a total of $3,000 and that it was carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Harvey then provides two tweets from Warren. “When I was 22 and finishing my first year of teaching, I had an experience millions of women will recognize. By June I was visibly pregnant – and the principal told me the job I’d already been promised for the next year would go to someone else,” read the first tweet.

“This was 1971, years before Congress outlawed pregnancy discrimination –but we know it still happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. We can fight back by telling your stories. I tell mine on the campaign trail, and I hope to hear yours,” read the second.

Harvey then acknowledged the Washington Free Beacon story on Monday that used minutes of an April 1971 meeting of the board of education where Warren worked in Riverdale, N.J., showing a unanimous vote to extend her teaching contract.

But she added: “This does not necessarily contradict Warren’s story, which is that her contract was renewed in April but that by June, when she was six months’ pregnant, the principal ‘showed her the door.’”

Harvey also points out the Free Beacon story “cast doubt on Warren’s account by noting she had once described her exit from the job differently in a 2007 interview, when she said, “I said, ‘I don’t think this is going to work out for me.’ I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years.”

But she accepted Warren’s explanation that “she wasn’t comfortable delving into the discrimination aspect publicly until later in her career.”

What Harvey never gets to is a third critical aspect of the story, in which the Free Beacon showed minutes from a school board meeting that summer that Warren wasn’t fired at all.

“Minutes from a board meeting held two months later, on June 16, 1971, indicate that Warren’s resignation was ‘accepted with regret,’” the Free Beacon wrote.

The piece closes with a tagline: “Do you have a similar story of job discrimination due to pregnancy? Get in touch with HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel.”




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