How Left-Wing Media Turned on Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris has faced a string of negative headlines in recent weeks with reports of dysfunction in her office, a potential rift with President Joe Biden and resignations from high-profile staff.

The damaging stories have come from news outlets, some of which can be viewed as left-leaning and are not considered part of the conservative press. This may add weight to concerns about Harris' performance since becoming vice president on January 20.

CNN, Politico and The Washington Post have all published articles over the past few weeks citing anonymous sources such as aides and Democratic officials who have described apparent chaos in Harris' office.

Those three news outlets are all considered liberal in media bias ratings provided by AllSides, which rates more than 800 outlets and writers. The AllSides Media Bias Chart rates CNN as "left" and The Washington Post and Politico as "lean left."

Harris has frequently been a target of criticism from conservatives, particularly for her role in dealing with immigration and the southern border, but it now appears that left-leaning news sources are painting a picture of a struggling vice president.

Less than a year since being sworn in, Harris is also dealing with a stubbornly low approval rating and recent announcements of departures from her office in what seems like an exodus of staff.

In November, CNN reported on "exasperation and dysfunction" in the vice president's office.

The network spoke to almost three dozen people, including current and former aides and administration officials, many of whom told CNN that Harris was frustrated and felt "constrained" in what she could do politically over the first 10 months of the administration.

CNN also reported that Harris was "wary" about hinting at her own potential presidential ambitions because President Joe Biden's team was concerned about disloyalty.

The network also reported that some of Harris' staff believed she was not being adequately prepared for the job, while those on Biden's team felt there were more important priorities than righting the vice president's ship.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki moved to tamp down rumors of a rift between Biden and Harris following the CNN report.

"The president selected the vice president to serve as his running mate because he felt she was exactly the person he wanted to have by his side to govern the country," Psaki said. "She is a key partner. She's a bold leader. She is somebody who has taken on incredibly important assignments."

Since CNN's initial report, Harris' office has seen the resignations of communications director Ashley Etienne and chief spokesperson and senior adviser Symone Sanders, while director of press operations Peter Velz and deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Vince Evans are also set to leave.

CNN was not the only news outlet reporting on apparent tensions in the administration, with a Politico story on November 14 cited more than a dozen Democratic officials as saying Harris "isn't scaring off anyone" in a potential primary to succeed Biden in 2024, if the president chooses not to run again.

On November 24, Politico also reported that some in the West Wing were contemplating a presidential run for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to the consternation of some staffers of color who felt such speculation was disrespectful to Harris.

On December 4, The Washington Post cited a former staffer, who worked with Harris before she became vice president, who said Harris did not read briefing materials and then became angry at staff when she appeared unprepared.

"It's clear that you're not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work," the newspaper quoted the staffer as saying. "With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you're constantly sort of propping up a bully and it's not really clear why."

The Post, which is often described as part of the liberal media, spoke to 18 people connected to Harris and while she had both critics and defenders, the newspaper reported a general concern about her ability to keep staff.

Politico received significant criticism this week for a report in its "West Wing Playbook" where it called Harris "Bluetooth-phobic"—a reference to her aversion to Bluetooth technology and reported concern about the tech's security.

Though these reports have come thick and fast over the past month, they are not necessarily new. An Axios—which AllSides rates as "center"—report in July quoted an unnamed Democratic official saying many people thought "Oh, she's f***ing up, maybe she shouldn't be the heir apparent.'"

The recent potentially damaging reporting comes as Harris has an approval rating of 40.6 percent, according to analysis by poll tracker FiveThirtyEight. Her disapproval rating stands at 52.8 percent as of December 7.

It remains to be seen if further reports will emerge about apparent tensions in the vice president's office.

Kamala Harris Delivers a Speech
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 78th Annual Convention, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Harris has been the subject of a series of damaging news reports. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images