Interviewers respond to Republicans who decry the defamation and innuendo being brought to bear on Kavanaugh by asking, essentially, “Didn’t Republicans start this by blocking Merrick Garland?” As a stand-alone question, this is defensible — barely. But while I have heard this question asked over and over again, I’ve yet to hear anyone ask a Democrat, “Isn’t what Mitch McConnell did to Merrick Garland very different from what you have done to Kavanaugh?” Republicans didn’t try to destroy Garland personally and professionally. Denying a nominee a hearing isn’t akin to fomenting a witch-hunt or having Chuck Schumer say that the presumption of innocence was an irrelevant standard (it’s actually entirely within the Senate’s constitutional authority). It might be irrelevant for partisan Democrats, but since when is the burden of proof irrelevant to journalists?
I could go on for pages about all of this, but here’s the point: On nearly every question and issue, the tenor of the press — shockingly — mirrors the tenor of the Democrats who insist that it falls to Kavanaugh to disprove these allegations. That is an understandable (albeit morally grotesque) position for partisan Democrats who’ve made it clear they will do whatever it takes, again, as Chuck Schumer admitted, to block Kavanaugh.
But that’s not your job, you supposedly objective journalists. You should care every bit as much about disproving the allegations of Swetnick, Ramirez, and — yes — Ford as proving them. Your job — as you’ve said countless times, preening in your heroic martyr status in the age of Trump — is to report the facts. If Swetnick is lying, you should want to report that every bit as much as you would if you could prove that Kavanaugh is. Because you’re not supposed to have a team. It’s fine if you support the #MeToo movement in your private time, but you’re not supposed to lend any movement aid and comfort, never mind air cover, in your reporting.