How Did The New York Times Botch the Brett Kavanaugh Story?
Plus: Attacks on Saudi Arabia unlikely to raise U.S. oil prices
Criticism of The New York Times' botched story on a previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh prompted the paper to answer questions about the editorial process—though not the most important one.
James Dao, deputy editorial page editor, said the story—an excerpt from Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly's new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation—appeared in the Sunday Review section (part of the Opinion pages) rather than the news section because "The Sunday Review is the Opinion section's platform for longer essays as well as excerpts or adaptations from books. Sometimes those books are by Times writers, whose submissions go through the same review process as outside writers. In recent months, the Review has published essays adapted from books by Times news writers like Carl Hulse and Jason DeParle, and opinion writers like Bari Weiss and Binyamin Appelbaum."
Vanity Fair reports that news editors did consider writing about the new details uncovered by Pogrebin and Kelly, but ultimately decided "there wasn't enough juice to warrant a story there, let alone a big page-one treatment."
Dao described the book as "the fruit of nearly a year of research by the authors, [exploring] in a nuanced way the social and cultural forces that shaped Justice Kavanaugh." He said it was important to include details of the latest allegation, which are similar to what Kavanaugh's Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez allegedly experienced. According to Pogrebin and Kelly, Max Stier—a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's and now president of the Partnership for Public Service—told the FBI he recalled seeing Kavanaugh with his pants down, and that friends pushed his penis toward a woman. Neither Stier nor the women would agree to speak with Pogrebin and Kelly, and the woman's friends told the authors she did not recall it. This important fact appears in the book but was somehow omitted from The Times' version.
Dao did not explain how this happened. On MSNBC last night, Pogrebin and Kelly blamed their editors, saying that the sentence was in the draft they submitted but then disappeared.
Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly claim that the qualifier about the other alleged Kavanaugh accuser not remembering an incident at Yale was included in the initial NYT draft but removed. pic.twitter.com/p9wUTnFyM1
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) September 17, 2019
In any case, while several Democratic presidential candidates have called for Kavanaugh to be impeached, House Democratic leadership seems unlikely to move in that direction. "The same Senate that confirmed Kavanaugh is unlikely to remove him," Sen. Chris Coons (D–Del.) told BuzzFeed.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D–N.Y.) said on Monday, "Frankly, we are concentrating our resources on whether to impeach the president."
Speaking of terrible New York Times articles, this one is a doozy: The paper of record trashed presidential contender Andrew Yang for daring to mildly dissent from cancel culture regarding SNL's firing of comedian Shane Gillis for making offensive jokes:
But as many "S.N.L." viewers and others across the country clamored for Mr. Gillis to be fired, believing his jokes to be beyond excusable, Mr. Yang's response unnerved those hoping for a more forceful condemnation from him. Perhaps the most pointed criticism has come from the Asian-American community itself, where some have expressed a mix of incredulity and weighty disappointment at the way Mr. Yang has talked about race throughout his campaign.
Mr. Yang took "a position that's very much at odds with the Asian-American community," said Jenn Fang, the creator of a long-running Asian-American advocacy blog, Reappropriate, who tweeted over the weekend about Mr. Yang's comments. "He's trying to let Shane Gillis off the hook so he can cater to other voters that he needs to get to the White House."
Mr. Yang also received significant blowback from people within and outside Asian-American communities for appearing to draw a comparison between how society treats anti-Asian racism and anti-black racism.
It's very easy to find three woke scolds on Twitter and pretend that their complaints about Yang not towing the militant far-left line are somehow representative of the Asian-American community, which is precisely what the Times did here.
The weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields will probably not raise oil prices for Americans. According to The Washington Post:
That's because if necessary, both Saudi Arabia and the United States could tap their strategic reserves, assuring they continue to meet demand for weeks. And the U.S. is hardly captive to foreign supplies, as it was during the 1970s oil shocks, since it has emerged over the last decade as the world's largest oil producer.
- Controversial political advocates Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland have resigned from the board of the Women's March. Both were accused of making alliances with anti-Semitic groups like the Nation of Islam, whose leader Louis Farrakhan once compared Jewish people to termites.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.) warned against U.S. intervention on behalf of Saudi Arabia, saying that she did not automatically trust the Trump administration to tell the truth about Iran's involvement.
- E-cigarette company Juul is hoping a ballot initiative will thwart San Francisco's nanny state tendencies.
- New York public school children have received official permission to skip school in order to protest government inaction on climate change.
- The horror. The horror.
— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) September 17, 2019