Fact-checkers rush to defend Kamala Harris after VP's controversial 'equity' comments

Mainstream media fact-checkers are going to bat for Vice President Kamala Harris after her remarks about hurricane relief and climate change caused a widespread backlash. 

Last week when speaking at the Democratic National Committee's Women’s Leadership Forum, Harris said it's "our lowest income communities, and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions," when referring to hurricanes, on the heels of Ian. 

"We have to address this in a way that's about giving resources based on equity, understanding we fight for equality but we also need to fight for equity," she added.

The remarks drew swift criticism, as some believed Harris essentially stated aid would be distributed based on racial and economic "equity," but fact-checkers at the Associated Press, Reuters and PolitiFact have all rushed to her defense, saying she was talking more broadly about climate change. 

WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS KAMALA HARRIS' HURRICANE RELIEF 'EQUITY' REMARKS

The AP published a headline, "Harris comments on addressing climate inequity misrepresented," that noted the claim "Harris said that Hurricane Ian relief will be distributed based on race, with communities of color receiving aid first" was "false." 

"Harris spoke about distributing resources equitably to help vulnerable groups, such as low income communities and communities of color, recover from disasters related to climate change. She did not describe the structure that would be used to allocate aid to victims of the recent hurricane," AP news verification specialist Melissa Goldin wrote. 

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, widespread social media posts mischaracterized Harris’ comments, claiming that she said communities of color will be prioritized in the distribution of storm relief," Goldin continued, adding that Harris was responding to a "multipart question" about both Hurricane Ian aid and long-term efforts tied to climate change. 

"Harris, in response, mentioned Hurricane Ian in passing, but did not talk about specific relief efforts the federal government would undertake," Goldin wrote. "Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates told the AP that these claims about race-based aid are ‘inaccurate’ and that Harris was actually discussing long-term goals for addressing climate change that have bipartisan support." 

VP KAMALA HARRIS DODGES QUESTION ASKING ABOUT DISPERSING HURRICANE IAN RELIEF BASED ON 'EQUITY'

Reuters took a similar approach with a headline, "Fact Check-Clip of Kamala Harris on hurricane relief and equity taken out of context online."

The news-gathering service wrote that Harris’ quote "has been circulating online without full context" and the vice president didn’t truly say Hurricane Ian relief funds would be distributed based on "equity."

"The short clip cuts the full context of the comment, where Harris was asked about Hurricane Ian relief efforts as well as how the United States should respond to climate change impacts more broadly," Reuters wrote. "The specific comment Harris made about providing resources based on equity was in response to a lengthy question."

Reuters then examined the question asked by actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

"So, can you talk just a little bit about the relief efforts obviously of Hurricane Ian and what the administration has been doing to address the climate crisis in the States but, and just a little follow-up, because this is important to me, we consider the global implications of emissions, right? The poorest countries are affected the most," Chopra Jonas said. "They contribute the least and are affected the most. So, how should voters in the U.S. feel about the administration’s long-term goals when it comes to being the international influencer on this topic?" 

The viral clip of Harris’ response was "missing context," according to Reuters. 

"Harris was addressing a lengthy question about how to tackle extreme weather events broadly when commenting that resources should be distributed in a way that is equitable. The comment was not made specifically about relief post-Hurricane Ian," Reuters wrote. 

POLITIFACT FOCUSES FACT-CHECKS MORE ON BIDEN'S CRITICS THAN PRESIDENT HIMSELF, STUDY FINDS

PolitiFact also stuck up for Harris. 

PolitiFact wrote that the Vice President had been taken "out-of-context" in clips from the event on social media shared by conservatives and ruled "Harris did not say any particular race would be prioritized in relief efforts," quoting the White House to back up the fact-check. 

"The White House said her comments about equity were referring to long-term, bipartisan investments in underserved communities, not immediate hurricane relief," PolitiFact wrote. 

The fact-check specifically called out Florida Sen. Rick Scott's, R., claim that Harris had said "if you have a different skin color, you're going to get relief faster."

"Conservatives, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott, seized on a shortened, out-of-context clip of Harris’ answer to make it seem as if Harris said federal storm relief would be based solely on race and equity," the fact-check read.

"Harris said no such thing in a response to a question that touched on several topics, including Hurricane Ian, climate change policy and disparities in who is most harmed by climate change and extreme weather," PolitiFact wrote.

Factcheck.org also looked into the claim, although it concluded, "readers can judge for themselves what Harris meant to say," claiming also that Harris was broadly talking about the climate change fight.

Big Tech companies wanted to see the comments fact-checked as well. A Google search of the term "Kamala Harris equity" Thursday resulted in the four fact-checks appearing at the top of the page, and Twitter also promoted the fact-checks on behalf of Harris as an "event" on Wednesday.

Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report. 

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Mainstream media fact-checkers are going to bat for Vice President Kamala Harris after her remarks about hurricane relief and climate change caused a widespread backlash. 

Last week when speaking at the Democratic National Committee's Women’s Leadership Forum, Harris said it's "our lowest income communities, and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions," when referring to hurricanes, on the heels of Ian. 

"We have to address this in a way that's about giving resources based on equity, understanding we fight for equality but we also need to fight for equity," she added.

The remarks drew swift criticism, as some believed Harris essentially stated aid would be distributed based on racial and economic "equity," but fact-checkers at the Associated Press, Reuters and PolitiFact have all rushed to her defense, saying she was talking more broadly about climate change. 

WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS KAMALA HARRIS' HURRICANE RELIEF 'EQUITY' REMARKS

The AP published a headline, "Harris comments on addressing climate inequity misrepresented," that noted the claim "Harris said that Hurricane Ian relief will be distributed based on race, with communities of color receiving aid first" was "false." 

"Harris spoke about distributing resources equitably to help vulnerable groups, such as low income communities and communities of color, recover from disasters related to climate change. She did not describe the structure that would be used to allocate aid to victims of the recent hurricane," AP news verification specialist Melissa Goldin wrote. 

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, widespread social media posts mischaracterized Harris’ comments, claiming that she said communities of color will be prioritized in the distribution of storm relief," Goldin continued, adding that Harris was responding to a "multipart question" about both Hurricane Ian aid and long-term efforts tied to climate change. 

"Harris, in response, mentioned Hurricane Ian in passing, but did not talk about specific relief efforts the federal government would undertake," Goldin wrote. "Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates told the AP that these claims about race-based aid are ‘inaccurate’ and that Harris was actually discussing long-term goals for addressing climate change that have bipartisan support." 

VP KAMALA HARRIS DODGES QUESTION ASKING ABOUT DISPERSING HURRICANE IAN RELIEF BASED ON 'EQUITY'

Reuters took a similar approach with a headline, "Fact Check-Clip of Kamala Harris on hurricane relief and equity taken out of context online."

The news-gathering service wrote that Harris’ quote "has been circulating online without full context" and the vice president didn’t truly say Hurricane Ian relief funds would be distributed based on "equity."

"The short clip cuts the full context of the comment, where Harris was asked about Hurricane Ian relief efforts as well as how the United States should respond to climate change impacts more broadly," Reuters wrote. "The specific comment Harris made about providing resources based on equity was in response to a lengthy question."

Reuters then examined the question asked by actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

"So, can you talk just a little bit about the relief efforts obviously of Hurricane Ian and what the administration has been doing to address the climate crisis in the States but, and just a little follow-up, because this is important to me, we consider the global implications of emissions, right? The poorest countries are affected the most," Chopra Jonas said. "They contribute the least and are affected the most. So, how should voters in the U.S. feel about the administration’s long-term goals when it comes to being the international influencer on this topic?" 

The viral clip of Harris’ response was "missing context," according to Reuters. 

"Harris was addressing a lengthy question about how to tackle extreme weather events broadly when commenting that resources should be distributed in a way that is equitable. The comment was not made specifically about relief post-Hurricane Ian," Reuters wrote. 

POLITIFACT FOCUSES FACT-CHECKS MORE ON BIDEN'S CRITICS THAN PRESIDENT HIMSELF, STUDY FINDS

PolitiFact also stuck up for Harris. 

PolitiFact wrote that the Vice President had been taken "out-of-context" in clips from the event on social media shared by conservatives and ruled "Harris did not say any particular race would be prioritized in relief efforts," quoting the White House to back up the fact-check. 

"The White House said her comments about equity were referring to long-term, bipartisan investments in underserved communities, not immediate hurricane relief," PolitiFact wrote. 

The fact-check specifically called out Florida Sen. Rick Scott's, R., claim that Harris had said "if you have a different skin color, you're going to get relief faster."

"Conservatives, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott, seized on a shortened, out-of-context clip of Harris’ answer to make it seem as if Harris said federal storm relief would be based solely on race and equity," the fact-check read.

"Harris said no such thing in a response to a question that touched on several topics, including Hurricane Ian, climate change policy and disparities in who is most harmed by climate change and extreme weather," PolitiFact wrote.

Factcheck.org also looked into the claim, although it concluded, "readers can judge for themselves what Harris meant to say," claiming also that Harris was broadly talking about the climate change fight.

Big Tech companies wanted to see the comments fact-checked as well. A Google search of the term "Kamala Harris equity" Thursday resulted in the four fact-checks appearing at the top of the page, and Twitter also promoted the fact-checks on behalf of Harris as an "event" on Wednesday.

Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report. 

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