Brett Kavanaugh Fans Try to Attack His Accuser, Go After the Wrong Christine Ford
The perils of poorly sourced stories
Christine Ford, a woman from Judge Brett Kavanaugh's past, has made serious accusations of sexual assault against the Supreme Court nominee. Ford is a professor, so some of Kavanaugh's online defenders decided to dig up student reviews of her classes. They got a little confused, though, and they went after the wrong Christine Ford.
Several conservative personalities and websites, including Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and The Drudge Report, eagerly shared negative reviews of one Christine A. Ford of California State University–Fullerton. ("I feel like she has something wrong with her," said one, "and I am surprised no one has caught this.") But the woman accusing Kavanaugh is Christine B. Ford of Palo Alto University. Different professor.
The mistaken identity was apparently first made in an anonymously authored article for GrabieNews, which several pundits then shared on (and subsequently deleted from) their social media accounts. The article has since been retracted with the following editor's note:
We apologize for the error, but we've since learned there are two Christine Fords working in clinical psychology in California and we wrote this report about the wrong Christine Ford. We regret not going to greater lengths to ensure this was indeed the same Christine Ford. Please do not share this article with anyone (and if you have, delete it/withdraw it); we are only leaving the page up so you can see this important update.
As we saw in the Great Imaginary Willie Nelson Boycott of 2018, unverified single-source reporting leads to misleading news narratives. This is especially true when the alleged news would produce a political "win" for the people sharing the story.
Bonus link: In another recently poorly sourced story, parents were warned that neo-Nazis are using Fortnite to recruit their impressionable children.