Turley: The tragic irony of the New York state lawsuit against the NRA
Latest Brett Kavanaugh media 'report' is pure partisan malice
Mistakes happen in all fields but in the corridors of elite journalism, certain types of mistakes have become all too common and even predictable. Otherwise fastidious news outlets keep making unthinkable blunders, and their one common denominator is that they always involve attacks against President Trump or conservatives.
The pattern is clear. An attack on the right target is too alluring for journalists to get bogged down in fairness, fact checking, or decency. The latest New York Times debacle is a prime example of this journalistic phenomenon. Under the title "Brett Kavanaugh fit in with the privileged kids. She did not," the paper printed an essay adapted from a forthcoming book on the vicious Kavanaugh confirmation battle.
Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, two New York Times reporters and authors of the essay and the forthcoming book, claim they discovered a new allegation about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from his college days. The authors write that Max Stier, a classmate of Kavanaugh, witnessed a genitalia in hand incident more than 30 years ago that is eerily similar to what another classmate and accuser, Deborah Ramirez, claimed only "after six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney" that Kavanaugh did to her.
The New York Times essay is a thinly disguised screed against Kavanaugh that fails on every level. It is a baseless smear, wrapped entirely in partisan misdirection, topped off with a wildly irresponsible omission of fact. The "new information" about the Ramirez allegations is not really new, and the information about another incident is certainly not fit to be published in anything resembling a reputable paper.
In what may be the most egregious reporting blunder of the Kavanaugh saga, The New York Times issued a correction: "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."
So the woman whom Stier alleges Kavanaugh assaulted with his genitals does not remember the incident, according to her friends. Stier, who was on the defense team for President Clinton during his proven sexual misconduct debacles in the 1990s, does apparently remember the incident. How could this detail, that the victim has no memory of, have been left off the essay? How could any honest observer think that the victim not recalling the incident is anything other than a disqualifier of this obvious smear against Kavanaugh?
But for the broader purpose of the essay, this enormously consequential omission makes perfect sense. What the Times published was always an exercise in narrative creation meant to bolster an ongoing character assassination against a Supreme Court justice that the left believes is a threat to abortion rights. Against that hyperpartisan backdrop, none of the overtly propagandistic editorial decisions in the essay are surprising.
No amount of "new reporting" from partisans on the left can change the basic facts about Kavanaugh. Christine Blasey Ford had so many holes in her Senate testimony that Rachel Mitchell, a career sex crimes prosecutor, found her claims weak, with zero corroboration. Deborah Ramirez apparently remembered a genitals in the face incident from decades ago only after plenty of pressure and assistance from liberals frothing at the mouth to stop the Kavanaugh nomination.
Democrats in Congress, not to be troubled with the facts, are calling for his impeachment. This is, and always was, about bare knuckles partisan politics for them. The ritualized humiliation and torture session of Kavanaugh on national television was unfortunate to Democrats only in that it ultimately was unsuccessful. If they could give it another try, they would, and the liberal activists posing as members of the mainstream media enabled them all along.
Nothing has changed. James Dao, deputy editorial page editor for The New York Times, said in a statement about the Pogrebin and Kelly essay that it was "a well reported and newsworthy account that sheds new light on a matter that provoked significant national debate." Pravda would be proud. Justice Kavanaugh is a manifestly innocent man. The only debate now is whether The New York Times, among other supposed journalistic enterprises, will make any effort to hold on to their last shreds of professional integrity before the 2020 election.
Buck Sexton is the host of "The Buck Sexton Show" on radio and podcast. He is a former officer at the Central Intelligence Agency and former analyst at the New York City Police Department. Find him on Twitter @BuckSexton.