A year after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford in an obvious political ploy to try to stop his confirmation, The New York Times continued to smear him based on reporting from a book written by two of its “reporters.” The new story – just like past “bombshells” on Kavanaugh – have collapsed.
“We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation,” Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly said in a Sunday opinion piece. “A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly.”
Pogrebin and Kelly authored The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, and when the above excerpt was printed, re-opened the national debate surrounding Kavanaugh, even causing some Democrats to call for his impeachment. Their “bombshell” story claimed that there was a new victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Kavanaugh from his time at Yale University.
But the “bombshell” quickly fell apart, causing The Times to retreat as it did after its original report in September of 2018, when it reported that Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge told the House Judiciary Committee he had witnessed the alleged sexual assault on Ford during their high school days. In reality, he told the Committee the exact opposite.
The first sign that the story was crumbling was when The Times updated Pogrebin and Kelly’s Sunday story to reflect the not-so-minor detail that the female Yale student who was allegedly forced into sexual contact with Kavanaugh did not recall the incident.
“The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident,” a correction to the original story said.
That means that The New York Times printed a story in which the subject of the story does not recall being part of the story, or the story ever happening.
But it got worse from there. Vanity Fair reported that Pogrebin and Kelly “initially pitched their reporting to the news side, but top editors ultimately felt that there wasn’t enough juice to warrant a story there—punting the scoop to the Sunday Review section.”
Even the news editors at The Times agreed that the story was not really news. The paper ended up running anyway, just in a different format. Incredible.
But there’s more. The Times also failed to report a new element to the Kavanaugh ordeal uncovered by Pogrebin and Kelly in their book – that the credibility of Ford’s original story was called into question by her friend and supposed witness to the high school sexual assault, Leland Keyser.
“We spoke multiple times to Keyser, who also said that she didn’t recall that get-together or any others like it. In fact, she challenged Ford’s accuracy. ‘I don’t have any confidence in the story,'” the book reportedly said.
All that to say, it appears Pogrebin and Kelly uncovered more exculpatory evidence than they did inculpatory evidence against Kavanaugh. But The Times managed to twist the story into a smear of Kavanaugh.
President Donald J. Trump weighed in on Twitter.
“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!” he said.
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