That would be a more useful rule, of course, if there were any trustworthy newspapers.
The most recent Ethics Alarms filing under “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!” appeared yesterday. A story headlined Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not appeared in the Sunday Times, with the sub-head, “Deborah Ramirez’s Yale experience says much about the college’s efforts to diversify its student body in the 1980s.” And why were Yale’s efforts to diversify in the Eighties suddenly worthy of a Times feature in September, 2019? Because the real purpose of the article was not to talk about Yale, but to smear Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh —again.
Ramirez was Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate who had told The New Yorker last year during the justice’s confirmation hearings that she’d been severely inebriated at a party at Yale in her freshman year when “something” had happened. She said that “a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction” and a “third male then exposed himself to her.” The assumption is that the flasher was Kavanaugh, though Ramirez never directly named him. New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly tried to verify the story, and could not. Never mind: they wrote a book anyway.
In “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” they quoted the same individuals the New Yorker had tracked down who said that they “heard about” the incident, as well as Ramirez’s mother, who says—now this is a smoking gun if there ever was one—that she was told at the time that “something happened” at Yale.
Nevertheless, the Times reporters are convinced that Ramirez’s claim is correct. They wrote,
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.
Not “fit to print,” apparently, was the that Stier was not only a non-profit executive but also had served as one of Bill Clinton’s defense attorneys. Heck, why should that be relevant to his credibility? But I digress…
The story was all over the web and social media yesterday, with the “resistance” and the pro-abortion activists treating it as if this was devastating new evidence, and conservative commentators expressing nausea and contempt, and justly so, at this revived attempt at character assassination. The Times even tweeted this…
…only to take it down, and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin sunk low even for him with this revolting tweet…
Toobin’s 40% is, of course, the two justices who were ambushed by contrived and unverified accusations at their confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas and Kavanaugh. “Credibly” means that people who wanted to keep conservative justices off the Court chose to believe accusers over two judges with unblemished personal and professional reputations. How can anyone regard Toobin as an objective commentator—or, frankly, a respectable legal analyst—if he would post something this indefensible?
Of course, CNN isn’t interested in objective commentators, so I guess it’s a moot point.
Like other readers, however, Toobin was fooled by the Times. For the Times story omitted the key detail revealed in the reporters’ own book that the alleged female victim in Stier’s account can’t recall the incident in which she was the alleged victim. That mean old conservative media tracked that little detail down, and the Times had to publish this, late last night:
Editors’ Note: Sept. 15, 2019
An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.
Oh. Never mind.
But the Times correction didn’t occur until after the paper reported this:
Several Democratic presidential candidates called for the impeachment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on Sunday after The New York Times published new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him, while Republican leaders condemned the reporting as irresponsible and defended him….
“These newest revelations are disturbing,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter about The Times essay. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment.
“He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice,” she wrote.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called the revelations “profoundly troubling” but stopped short of calling for Justice Kavanaugh’s impeachment. In a statement on Twitter, he called for an investigation into “whether the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans pressured the F.B.I. to ignore evidence.”…Julián Castro, who was housing secretary under President Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, also called for the justice’s impeachment.
I’m awaiting the apologies from Castro, Biden, Warren, and Harris.
We should be prepared for more contrived anti-conservative, anti-Republican, anti-Trump, anti-fact abuse of the First Amendment by the nation’s “paper of record” and lesser outlets, accelerating as the election approaches. Episodes like these also present integrity tests for your friends, colleagues and family members. Are they capable of seeing, or admitting, that a national news media capable of a reporting fiasco like this one cannot be trusted to fairly report on a political campaign?
CORRECTION NOTE: I got confused in the various accounts, and originally assumed that Clinton’s lawyer’s story was another “confirmation” of Ramirez’s vague recollection. But no–as reader Davel helped me puzzle out, there is a second alleged victim, and Kavanaugh is now alleged to be a serial penis flopper, or something, except Victim Two can’t recall the incident? Got that?