Signature Significance (Again) From the New York Times: A Trustworthy Newspaper Does Not Do This [CORRECTED]

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?

30 thoughts on “Signature Significance (Again) From the New York Times: A Trustworthy Newspaper Does Not Do This [CORRECTED]

  1. Ramirez can’t recall the incident in which she was the alleged victim

    I believe it was the victim in the incident related by Stier, which was a separate incident from Ramirez’s accusation, who could not remember it.

    • Fixed. I got confused, and didn’t realize that the Justice is supposed to have run around flopping his wang in multiple girls’s faces and hands, and that it hypnotized them or something and the can’t quite remember it. Thanks.

      This story is ridiculous.

    • I’m seeing conflicting reporting too. But regardless of what the exact accounts are, even giving them the benefit of the doubt and the most favorable interpretation, what all of these instances seem to have in common is that despite the alleged assaults happening in rooms full of people, between the “victims” and party-goers, no one seems to be able to wrangle a single corroborating witness to a victim that actually alleges a crime. No one seems to be able to remember anyone ever mentioning Kavanaugh’s name before 2016, when Trump floated him on his a of possible SCOTUS contenders. It’s almost like despite the relative desperation of progressives to interfere with Trump’s nominations, they’re having a hell of a time finding facts to fit their narrative.

      I’m mostly concerned with how dynamically “credibly accused” has shifted. Apparently, a credible accusation is now either “A thing that happened thirty years ago at a time and place that I cannot remember, where other people I remember being in the room do not recall the incident, and I had not mentioned before 2016 when the accused’s appeared in headlines” or “A thing that happened thirty years ago that I cannot remember, and despite happening in a room full of people, no one seems to have ever spoken of before.”.

      Look, there are people who will lie if it serves them politically. I can’t *tell* whether Ford or Stier are lying based on the facts in evidence, mainly because the facts are too vague to verify, and frankly I think that that was on purpose. But we do have evidence of #metoo stories made up from whole cloth. Patrick Brown, I think, remains the best example, when one of his accusers said that she was sexually assaulted in the second floor bedroom of his one-story house that I kind of doubt she even Google Street Viewed. I think it’s amazing that progressives can’t seem to even gather three people to credibly lie together.

  2. So it’s Groundhog Day in September, eh?

    The Times has become corrupt. Maybe Kavanaugh should sue them under civil RICO.

    Kidding, but just barely…

  3. Let me out bias them. From now on anyone who is a Democrat is a neo-communist and guilty of being an accomplice after the fact to over 100,000,000 deaths in the 20th century.

    I mean if I’m a racist, misogynist, binary genderist by association of being white, male and non-Democrat, then they are guilty of genocide, every damn one of them.

    These people are dooming our society.

    • There was a neat quote from a viewer that Liana Kerzner shared yesterday in relation to a viewer response letter she received which referenced GamerGate:

      “I went to sleep [The day before GamerGate broke] thinking that Kotaku’s reporting standards were shite, I woke up [the next day] and nothing i saw changed that impression, but that opinion suddenly made me into a misogynistic rape apologist.”

      I think I’d always recognized this innately as one of the serious disconnects I have with progressive press (the idea that there is no legitimate reason to believe a thing, even if you’ve believed it for a long time except for [insert bigotry here], which really only became [bigotry] because of a recent occurrence.), but as simple as this quote was, I’d never heard it put quite this way, and it crystallized the idea for me.

    • It’s damn scary. I was just telling my friend the other day: I NEVER identified as a white male, because I was taught to not look at the world that way. But the left is FORCING me into that corner, and I now find myself defending white men whenever I hear them being disparaged. Because they’re disparaging ME.

      Since I work in the field of journalism, as you can imagine, I hear jibes against “white males” all the time. And the older I get, the more I’m finding myself telling people “screw you. I’m a white male. My son is a white male. If you have a problem with white males, kiss my hairy white ass.” I literally have told fellow journalists this. They always say something like, “well, I didn’t mean to insult you personally,” and then they’ll prattle on about how white men have been in positions of privilege for so long, blah blah blah.

      My answer for that is always: “White privilege” is the exact same concept as Hitler’s “Jewish bankers.” Same thing: “Those people have been running things for eternity, and THEY’RE the reason for our troubles.”

      Listen, I don’t want to identify as a white male. I’m just me, and I dole out or withhold respect based on actions — not stupid immutable characteristics like skin color or genitalia.

      But damn it, I’m also not going to grin and nod and stare at my shoes while some idiot leftist insults me to my face. If you don’t like white males, then kiss my hairy white ass.

    • From now on anyone who is a Democrat is a neo-communist and guilty of being an accomplice after the fact to over 100,000,000 deaths in the 20th century.

      Since you missed the memo, jim, let me summarize for you: They don’t care. They are willfully ignorant (fingers in ears, yelling nananananana) to the facts, and if they KNOW this fact they are just peachy with breaking a few eggs in the name of the progressive power omelet.

  4. In addition to the fact that the evidence does not even provide probable cause, what about what you wrote regarding people who make accusations thirty years after the fact.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/09/28/ethics-morning-sickness-9-29-2018-the-ford-kavanaugh-hearing-hangover/

    Then they lose their chance. There are a lot of things in life like that. If I’m reluctant to speak up and challenge a mob harassing a US Senator while he’s dining with my family, I can’t wait 20 years and do it then, can I? If you are afraid to report a community criminal when you have evidence against him because you’re afraid to snitch, it’s no mitigation to report the evidence after more people have been hurt because of your delay. How about women who don’t stop their boyfriends from sexually molesting their children because they are afraid? Is it acceptable that they wait until the Statute of Limitations has run, the damage has been done, and the kids are grown and molesting children themselves before they speak up?

    You don’t have to remind me of the dilemma. I’m sorry, but I am really sick of this argument…It’s an excuse and a rationalization. It makes fairness and due process impossible, and it allows false accusers to manipulate others. Three decades? Holding a complaint until the exact moment when it can’t be defended against AND will do the most damage?

    It’s explainable, perhaps, but it isn’t ethically excusable.

    (emphasis added)

    There can be no ethical justification for considering an accusation of sexual misconduct published thirty years after the fact.

  5. It does not make sense. The very language of it is absurd. His friends pushed his penis into someone else’s hands?

    I do not know what they are even attempting to describe.

    Why were they pushing his penis?

    Was he unconscious?

    Where were her hands that they were in pushing range of his penis?

    Was it pushed toward her, or pulled?

    If they were pushing his penis toward her, why is he at fault when they assaulted her with his penis?

    I don’t know. This just sounds so goofy as to make no sense.

    -Jut

    • These are numinous mysteries that cannot be understood through conventional reasoning. I have modified CS Lewis* here:

      Suppose she were told there was a tiger in the next room: she would know that she was in danger and would probably feel fear. But if she were told “There is a penis in the next room,” and believed it, she would feel, indeed, what is often called fear, but of a different kind. It would not be based on the knowledge of danger, for no one is primarily afraid of what an unrestrained penis may do to her, but of the mere fact that it is a penis. It is “uncanny”, mysterious, awesome, rather than dangerous, and the special kind of fear it excites may be called Penile Dread. With the Uncanny one has reached the fringes of the Numinous. Now suppose that she were told simply “There is a MigHtY penis in the room,” and believed it. Her feelings would then be even less like the mere fear of danger: but the disturbance would be profound. She would feel wonder and a certain shrinking—a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant and of a combination of resentment-prostration before it—an emotion which might be expressed in Shakespeare’s words “Under it my genius is rebuked.” This feeling may be described as penis-awe, and the object which excites it as the Penile Numinous.

      ________________________

      *Lewis, C.S. (2001) [1940]. The Problem of Pain, pp. 5-6, Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Zondervan.

  6. I just consider all these as too incoherent to take seriously. If no one remembers clearly or can give a good description of a crime, how can it mean much more than an acid trip? Reauma does mess with memory, but someone could be traumatized by something harmless.

    I suppose all Hollywood needed PTSD therapy after that famous streaker went across the stage at the Oscars? Did they never go to a nude beach or go skinny dipping while young? If you don’t want drunken guys to display themselves, the simple thing is to leave before they get that drunk. Or go to the kitchen and be kind and do some dishes until they pass out. If majorly offended, open the door to the snowy outside. Acting like a horrified ninny decades later is giving away your own agency. The first party I was at that brought out the marijuana, I changed rooms for a while from the headache and poked out the sheet music on the piano. You can leave if you stop having fun, but they didn’t leave when they were offended. That means to me they probably were not that offended and it too thirty years of PC to wash away their own drunken giggling. Being offended does not make it a crime, or the woke should be locked up too.

  7. It’s sad that I keep saying this, but my profession, journalism, has dropped to yet another all-time low.

    No ethical newsroom would run that story. But they don’t even care at this point. I mean, ABC News has George Stephanopoulos as its political chief. The NYT hired a racist Asian woman and a reporter they KNEW was sleeping with one of the sources on her beat.

    Those two things alone used to be automatic disqualifiers, but the media’s bias is now out in the open, and they’re not even trying to hide it.

    Say what you will about Donald Trump, but he seems to have a knack for getting people to expose themselves for who they really are. And by “people,” I mean the DNC and their media acolytes.

    • ”the media’s bias is now out in the open, and they’re not even trying to hide it.”

      The inescapable underlining irony? The NYT, et al, see their following as a bunch of bespawling addlepates upon whom they may foist all manner of hysterically fanatical pap which will be embraced with glassy eyin’ lock-steppin’ unquestionin’ obsequiousness.

    • This is yet one more example of a major media outlet proclaiming something that besmirched a Republican/conservative/Trump/Trump supporter, and then later, issuing a weak or partial retraction. The false information, meanwhile, has been blasted throughout the universe and will stick in a lot of minds as if it were the truth. Hanlon’s razor tells us to lean toward stupidity as the reason the media do this, but I lean toward the (Les) Moonves Motivation, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS” (or NBC, OR NYT, or WAPO, or CNN or …).
      The competition for subscribers or clicks has grown fierce, and too often truth takes a back seat to the bottom line.

  8. I believe it has now been found that Miss Pogrebin was actually in the same year and class at Yale as Justice Kavanaugh and personally knew him. This was not disclosed in the article either, which is extremely alarming. It gives rise to questions about (obvious at this point) bias and a conflict of interest in the duo’s reporting. Even the appearance of such bias would be disqualifying in most settings. The article also was apparently shopped around to the Time’s news desk before being rejected as not fit to print. Though unluckily it found it’s way to the opinion section instead. The pot thickens yet the investigative ink runs thin at the Times.
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/nyt-reporter-behind-kavanaugh-article-knew-him-in-college-and-was-in-his-freshman-year-dorm

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