Tuesday afternoon the Washington Post published a story titled “Brett Kavanaugh worried that scandal would end his coaching days. Now the Supreme Court justice is back on the basketball court.” The story itself was a relatively anodyne reminder that Kavanaugh’s coaching had been a high-profile part of his confirmation hearing:
The Supreme Court’s newest justice was back in action over the Thanksgiving holiday leading his younger daughter’s team to the championship game of a tournament in the Washington suburbs.
In one of the more contentious moments of his bruising confirmation battle, Kavanaugh lamented that sexual assault allegations against him might mean he would have to give up coaching.
“I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life,” Kavanaugh said during the Senate hearing in which he angrily denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
What struck many people as outrageous was that the story was published under the Post’s “Public Safety” vertical along with other stories about violent crime:
yes truly this is where a story about a local youth basketball coach belongs pic.twitter.com/SSepTvi80q
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) November 27, 2018
How did this happen? The Hill spoke to the Post about the placement of the story and was told it was all a big mistake:
A spokesperson for The Washington Post said stories written by the author of the piece on Kavanaugh automatically default to the public safety category. The spokesperson said the story on Kavanaugh should not have been and that it would no longer appear under that category.
Talking Points Memo posted the full clarification it was sent by the Post:
“Legal affairs stories written by that author automatically default to the public safety category,” Post spokesperson Kris Coratti Kelly told TPM in an email Wednesday. “Obviously, this one shouldn’t have been there and once we caught the error we corrected it.”
Could this have been an error? Sure. Do I believe it was? No, not really. Maybe the author’s material does default to that category but I think it’s likely someone thought this was amusing and that’s why it happened. It would be more believable if this sort of thing occasionally happened in a way that seemed to (unintentionally of course) embarrass Democrats. But the errors always seem to run in one direction.