"The real bombshell": CBS News hits NYT over Kavanaugh story to focus on witness tampering

Who would have expected the harshest media rebuke of the New York Times to come from the CBS Evening News? It starts off like a rehash of the NYT’s hit job on Brett Kavanaugh, but as correspondent Jan Crawford noted on Twitter, it takes a sharply critical turn at the end. Not only does Crawford note that every one of Christine Blasey Ford’s cited witnesses say the alleged high-school party with Kavanaugh never happened, Crawford uses the cutting-room floor clippings from the NYT’s story to focus on Leland Keyser’s claim of witness tampering.

Ouch. Very much ouch:

The details of Keyser’s experience with those who pressured her to change her story started coming out last October, but only now — buried at the back of the new book from two NYT reporters — do we have an outright dismissal of Blasey Ford’s claims from Keyser. Somehow the NYT’s editors thought rehashing old and utterly uncorroborated campus gossip from the Golden Girls era was bigger news than witness tampering by Blasey Ford’s allies. If you missed yesterday’s adventures in the collapse of credibility at the New York Times regarding Keyser, catch up here.

Crawford, one of CBS News’ more independent voices, sums up the situation well at the end of this report:

Now, all four people that Ford identified as being at that high school party in the summer of 1982 have all said that no such party occurred. And today, both the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee said they would not support impeaching Kavanaugh.

Case closed, right? Actually, maybe. Politico reported last night that senior Democrats have heard enough about Kavanaugh and want to end talk of impeachment, although they’re not exactly being gracious about it:

Senior Democrats are moving quickly to snuff out calls to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, arguing those tactics are unrealistic and politically harmful. …

“Get real,” as Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) put it Monday afternoon.

“We’ve got to get beyond this ‘impeachment is the answer to every problem.’ It’s not realistic,” Durbin said. “If that’s how we are identified in Congress, as the impeachment Congress, we run the risk that people will feel we’re ignoring the issues that mean a lot to them as families.”

Politico also reports that other Democrats are “livid” that the FBI didn’t check out the claim from a third party that Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a different party. Er, what exactly were they supposed to investigate? The informant wasn’t at the party, and the supposed victim doesn’t recall such an incident happening. The FBI has better things to do than to chase down 35-year-old campus rumors about rowdy parties with no complaining witnesses. Talk about not realistic.

No one expects the Democrats to admit that they participated in a witch hunt and character assassination, although such an admission would certainly be nice. But maybe, just maybe, they can shut the hell up about it and let us pretend they have some remorse over the Kavanaugh episode. Especially now that CBS’ Jan Crawford has boiled it down to its essence.