“It diluted Dr. Ford, whatever you might think,” Todd said. “Something about Michael Avenatti might have cheapened the whole thing.”

“It was also the Deborah Ramirez allegation,” added panelist Sara Fagen, former political director in the George W. Bush White House. “By her own account, [she] wasn’t initially certain it was Brett … decided it was Brett after thinking about it. The New York Times, to their credit, wouldn’t publish it.”

Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale University. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

“Twenty years ago, no major news publications would have even published … the second allegation or the third allegation,” Fagen said, referring to Ramirez and Swetnick’s accusations, respectively. “We are now in a different place in this country, where the message out of #MeToo, which has a very important message for society, has become conflated with politics, which is that ‘by any means necessary we can score a political win.'”