Why did the Kavanaugh excerpt end up in the Review? People familiar with how things went down told me that Kelly and Pogrebin initially pitched their scoop to the news side, but the top editors ultimately felt that there wasn’t enough juice to warrant a story there, let alone a big page-one treatment (the type many lefties would have been salivating for). Instead, Pogrebin and Kelly were told that they could pitch the Review, which is entirely independent of the News department. I asked for clarification as to what about the story wasn’t News-pages-worthy, but the Times declined to comment, as did Kelly and Pogrebin. (A Times spokesperson did, however, point out that “it’s not unusual for Opinion or Sunday Review pieces to break news.”)

I got mixed reactions from insiders as to whether the Times made the right call. Some agree that the new material, as presented in the book, wasn’t earth-shattering, especially since the anonymous woman at the center of the alleged penis-thrusting incident claims to not remember it. (In a related story, the Washington Post revealed on Monday that it “did not publish a story” about the incident last year “in part because the intermediaries declined to identify the alleged witness and because the woman who was said to be involved declined to comment.”) Others feel that if a piece of reporting meets the standards of the Review, then it should meet the standards of the News department, and vice versa. Still others find it surprising that newsroom brass didn’t want what Pogrebin and Kelly were offering. Summing up the internal vibe on this overall, one source said, “The most charitable read is that the Times sometimes twists itself in knots with weird internal rules and traditions.”