It really is wacky how readers overreacted to a new claim in the country’s most respected paper that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman while in college — after the story neglected to mention that the supposed victim doesn’t remember it happening.
I grudgingly admire the sheer balls it takes for these two to blame readers for flying off the handle about a piece which they and their editors at the Times presented in the worst possible light for their subject. And not just with the new assault allegation. Remember, they grossly oversold how much corroboration there was for Deborah Ramirez’s original claim of an assault by Kavanaugh. And they neglected to showcase the bombshell detail that Ford’s friend, Leland Keyser, doesn’t believe Ford’s story to this day but felt threatened if she didn’t say otherwise.
If you weren’t feeling up to drink on a Friday night, you will soon.
“It’s dismaying to see the rush to judgment,” said Kate Kelly, a New York Times reporter and co-author of “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,” in an interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”
“We definitely have been grappling with it for sure,” said co-author and fellow Times reporter Robin Pogrebin when asked about the firestorm the initial accounts of their book triggered. “There was a sense going into this that nuance doesn’t make headlines, … that people were going to pull stuff out. … People saw what they wanted to see before learning any of the facts, or didn’t even make much of an effort to pay attention to the facts.”
Omit the key facts, then scold readers for not paying attention to them. It’s like a “Where’s Waldo?” book where the authors forgot to include Waldo.
Here’s something else about Kavanaugh that might have helped restrain the “rush to judgment” if it had been given a more prominent place in the Times piece:
The authors also noted that they had found no evidence of Kavanaugh mistreating women as an adult — to the contrary, he had heavily promoted and mentored them — and that the image of him in some circles as a hard-right conservative was off. “This is a jurist who is known for his thoughtfulness, who’s known for pragmatism, and less kind of predictably ideological,” said Kelly.
In other words, basically the exact opposite of the type of guy you would think he was from the new — unsupported — sexual assault allegation.
Maybe there’ll be a little justice, though. Not now, not soon, but next fall in the form of a backlash to the smear campaign at the polls. Harry Enten argues that Kavanaugh politics are bad politics for Democrats:
Indeed, the 2018 exit polls suggest that Kavanaugh was a net negative for Democrats across the Senate landscape. One question on some state exit polls asked voters whether a senator’s Kavanaugh nomination vote was important to them. In every state but one (Florida) where the Republican senator voted for Kavanaugh or the Democratic senator voted against him, it was a net negative for the Democratic Senate nominee.
In these seven states (all but one carried by Trump in 2016), those who said a senator’s Kavanaugh vote was important to their choice for Senate were far more likely to vote Republican for Senate. In these states, the Republican Senate candidates won by an average of 18 points among those who said a senator’s Kavanaugh vote was important to them. Among those who said the Kavanaugh vote wasn’t important, the Democratic Senate candidate won by an average of 7 points.
Democrats are going to need to win at least a couple of seats in red states next year in order to take back a Senate majority. Did the “rush to judgment” this past week make that easier for them or harder?
Even so, they’ll never stop targeting him, writes Peggy Noonan. Exit quotation: “[P]rogressives have to prove they were right to advance the sexual-assault accusations of Christine Blasey Ford. They lost that battle; Justice Kavanaugh sits on the court. They won’t stop the assault until they can prove they were right to launch it.”