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Washington Post issues correction after false claim about Republican congresswoman

By Savannah Hamilton
|
February 12, 2023

The Washington Post published a correction on Friday on a profile written about Representative Anna Paulina Luna (FL-13). The Post claimed that Luna was a former Democrat in error, based on her 2017 voter registration in Washington State. 

The correction read, “A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Anna Paulina Luna was registered as a Democrat in Washington state in 2017 based on an erroneous voter registration database. Washington state only requires voters to declare their party affiliation when they cast a ballot in a presidential primary.”

The profile was not written with Luna’s consent, as her team refused to respond to questions from the publication due to suspicion of a vendetta.

The correction was issued quickly after Luna ripped the outlet for promoting false information but did not address other problems with the piece. 

Upset, Luna tweeted, “Holy sh*t the Washington post just tried to claim my dad was never incarcerated, left out comments from my mom, said I was a registered Democrat, and did not report a convo they had with a former roommate, and interviewed ‘family’ I don’t talk to. This is comical.”

Luna criticized the article for trying to “discredit” her, particularly because “anyone who is a conservative minority is a threat to Leftist control.”

Luna’s False Heritage

Elected recently in November, Luna is the first Mexican-American woman to represent Florida in Congress. At only 33 years of age, she has a respectable biography which includes serving in the U.S. Air Force. 

The Post, however, made her seem less than honorable and even suggested a comparison to Rep. George Santos (NY-03) who is known for exaggerating his personal background.

Some of the claims made in the article include that Luna used her mixed heritage to her advantage. For example, during her time serving at the Whiteman Air Force Base, she was constantly ambiguous about her race, claiming to be either “middle eastern”, “Jewish” or “eastern European,” depending on what was fitting in a situation. 

The Post also added that she started identifying as Hispanic only recently as a means of political gain.

"Luna’s sharp turn to the right, her account of an isolated and impoverished childhood, and her embrace of her Hispanic heritage have come as a surprise to some friends and family who knew her before her ascent to the U.S. House this year," the article read.

Luna accused the publication of being "incredibly racist," citing that there were many other problems with the piece including their sources.

Incorrect Information 

The congresswoman expressed dismay that The Post interviewed friends and family with whom she had no recent contact, claiming it was done in an effort to discredit her personal history.

Edie Heipel, Luna’s communications director, issued a statement saying, “We find it interesting that the Post decided to source its claims from distant relatives who have also made very anti-gay and conspiracy comments on their social media and do not associate with Rep. Luna or her family.”

Heipel also agreed with Luna on the racist aspect of the piece, stating, “Absolutely no conservative outlet would stand a chance if they dared say someone wasn’t ‘Hispanic enough,’ yet this is the main narrative WAPO is trying to spin.”

In addition, Luna pointed out that a lot of information, including comments from her mother and former roommate, was left out of the WAPO article.

Some of Luna’s biography that was questioned included a burglary she survived and her father’s incarceration. 

A Personal Vendetta

Luna’s mother confirmed that the stories questioned were indeed accurate and documented evidence was provided to show that all of the events were factual. However, no additional correction or apology was issued by the outlet.

Martina Michelle, a colleague of Luna’s, believes this is because there is a targeted campaign against the Republican representative.

Surprisingly, a similar profile was in the works by The New York Times. Heipel pointed out that the “bizarre questions [asked by The Post] seem nearly identical to the same bizarre questions the New York Times sent us last week.”

The Times piece, however, was never published. Heipel believes this proves there was no solid truth to The Post’s claims.