The left was outraged yesterday when the Washington Post published a supportive piece written by a friend of Judge Kavanaugh. There’s no denying the piece qualified as a puff piece. It really doesn’t pretend to be anything else. But the Post has run similar pieces about previous nominees without creating a firestorm of outrage or questions about why the piece was published. Here’s a bit of the Post piece which is titled “I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy.”
Much has been written about Brett Kavanaugh as President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, but the discussion has focused on his record as a federal judge and in his legal career. I’d like to talk about him as Coach K. Like the one at Duke University, this Coach K also is a mentor to student-athletes who love basketball. But his players are sixth-grade girls.
Brett’s older daughter and mine have been classmates at Blessed Sacrament School, a small Catholic school in the District, for the past seven years. On evenings and weekends, you’re likely to find Brett at a local gym or athletic field, encouraging his players or watching games with his daughters and their friends. He coaches not one but two girls’ basketball teams. His positive attitude and calm demeanor make the game fun and allow each player to shine…
I’ll leave it to others to gauge Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court as a jurist. But as someone who would bring to his work the traits of personal kindness, leadership and willingness to help when called on, he would receive a unanimous verdict in his favor from those who know him.
The author isn’t claiming he’s a brilliant judge, just that he’s a nice guy and a good dad. Is there room for that sort of thing in a newspaper? Apparently not, because the left was shocked this piece was even published:
I legit can't believe this got published https://t.co/yxuBJMgaZr
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 10, 2018
For the second time in one day, the Washington Post appears to be fooled by a Clickhole parody. https://t.co/dGBdgQ1iFw
— Sam Rosenfeld (@sam_rosenfeld) July 10, 2018
How did this get published? https://t.co/84K1aH3SIC
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 11, 2018
Maybe I'm a clown, but I care more about Kavanaugh's stance on abortion than whether he's a good carpooler https://t.co/NUnuYHr3yD
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) July 10, 2018
am i crazy or is it not kind of crazy to publish something like this in a national newspaper https://t.co/bZJFs9Mp3O
— Naomi Fry (@frynaomifry) July 11, 2018
— Erica Sackin (@ericajanes) July 11, 2018
That’s really fairly tame stuff to what’s being said in the comments below the article itself. Here’s a sample:
- “Puleeze. Hitler loved his dogs and babies.”
- “I seem to recall that Adolph Hitler was kind to children, though only Caucasian children, loved dogs, and liked to paint pictures in his spare time.”
- “You know who else was a great carpool Dad? Hitler!!”
- “Hitler was a nice guy to his dog, until he needed to test his capsule in the bunker.”
Is anyone else sensing a theme? In any case, this isn’t the first time the Post has run a puff piece on a SCOTUS nominee. Here’s another example from March 2016:
Vernell Garvin wasn’t surprised that President Barack Obama tapped Merrick Garland to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. She already knew the judge was among the smartest people in the country.
Garland is, after all, really good at algebra. He’s even pretty strong at language arts.
“When I have problems with my math homework, he’ll help me with that,” said Vernell, a fifth grader at J.O. Wilson Elementary School in Northeast D.C. “He’s a very good person. He never does anything wrong. He deserves the job.”
Exactly the same sort of human interest piece. I didn’t go through all 300+ comments to that piece but in the 100 or so I did look over there were no mentions of Hitler. Here’s another example of the same sort of piece from 2009:
Last November, soon after Barack Obama was elected president, a close friend of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s was hospitalized on Long Island because of a series of strokes.
Speculation was already swirling that the new president might make Sotomayor his first pick should a vacancy open on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor also had a full caseload she was balancing as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan.
But three or four times a week, Sotomayor would leave work around 7 p.m. to visit her friend. Ever the urbanite, Sotomayor would pick up some chicken soup, get in her white Saab convertible and wind through rush-hour traffic to Long Island to sit by the bedside of a woman who was often unconscious and unaware that Sotomayor was there. Finally, the trips came to an end in April — not because of the pressures of the trip on her busy life, but because her friend died.
The Post has also done plenty of puff pieces on sitting Justices, like this one from 2015 comparing Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Madonna:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s photo for the “Time 100” is perfect. Wearing a glove, she holds her hand to her face with a slight smirk. The pose looks like something inspired by a rap album cover, and the glove evokes early Madonna. She looks like a justice, but she also looks like a rock star. It’s the ultimate visual representation of the meme that has become “The Notorious RBG.”
Ginsburg’s evolution into a progressive millennial icon has come thanks to her Supreme Court opinions and outspokenness. The “Notorious” Tumblr didn’t hurt either.
So the outraged progressives wondering how the “carpool dad” piece about Kavanaugh ever got published should check the archives. It got published because the Washington Post routinely runs positive human interest stories on Supreme Court nominees and sitting Justices. Get over it.