A fake letter “signed” by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez praising President Barack Obama’s health care law has been widely circulated by the media—thanks to the Politico “scoop” that presented the document as real.
Politico first reported the unauthorized letter on Wednesday, which claimed that “a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, even if delayed, would considerably undermine the availability of affordable options for health care coverage.”
Only a day later, the site updated the article with Martinez’s disavowal. By then, however, the botched news report was picked up by other outlets and reported as a fact.
A spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. slammed the Politco, saying: “We wish the reporter would have done her due diligence and fact-checked before publishing what is very clearly a phony letter.”
The spokesperson also said that the governor has never seen the letter that had her name on it and it was drafted by staffer with New Mexico’s Health Insurance Exchange.
“She never saw the letter, doesn’t agree with it, and never would have signed it,” the spokesperson said. “Governor Martinez has made it crystal clear that she opposes Obamacare because it hurts small businesses and raises premiums on our families.”
According to Linda Wedeen, the health care exchange’s interim chief executive officer, the letter was only a draft put together by staff in response to a request from a top congressional Republican and wasn’t intended for publication.
“Both offices did not sign off on the draft because they were not even aware of its existence,” she added in a statement. “The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange regrets this draft letter was misconstrued as any kind of official or unofficial statement on behalf of the Governor’s Office.”