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If you’ve been on social media at all this past weekend, you know that Justice Kavanaugh’s name is trending all over again. The New York Times released new allegations except the thing is, they weren’t new allegations nor was it a corroborated account. In fact, the most important correction to the story didn’t come until much later.

Let’s start from the beginning.

A story, over the weekend, was published by the New York Times titled “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.” Let’s also note that this piece was in the news analysis section. The article makes it seem like this is a new allegation by another woman coming forward. It was not. This is one of the allegations that came from Deborah Ramirez last year during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. She alleges that while attending a party at Yale, Brett Kavanaugh allegedly waved his genitalia in her face. The article itself says that they were not able to corroborate the story because some people say it didn’t happen, they don’t remember the party, or they didn’t attend the party. A man did come forward to claim he saw this episode happen at a different party to an unidentified female, but the woman in question says she doesn’t recall that ever happening. In addition, Ramirez’s best friend at the time also doesn’t recall it ever being mentioned. It certainly seems like something she would’ve remembered. Upon meeting with the New Yorker last year, who initially ran the story on the allegations, Ramirez didn’t know if she was recalling the information correctly. She even said herself she wasn’t sure if it was Justice Kavanaugh who did the alleged act. She convened with her lawyer. Six days later, she came back to the New Yorker and claimed it was, in fact, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. These are all important details, but the most important detail wasn’t added until days later with an editor’s note saying:

An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.

Friends of the alleged victim have said that Ramirez doesn’t even recall the incident.

This isn’t some new development that the New York Times suddenly became aware of in the past 48 hours.

This is something the New York Times already knew.

They decided to print it anyway. Then, they decided to put an editor’s note in days later.

This was coordinated.

In fact, it was yellow journalism at its finest.

The kind of journalism is irresponsible. This is the age old “ask for an apology instead of permission” trope, except on a much grander scale. We are talking about life-long allegations. This will follow someone for the rest of their life because of an uncorroborated story published by a major news outlet. This is libel that is larger than life. 

This purposefully negligent kind of reporting is exactly why people don’t trust the media. People mocked President Trump for his “fake news” comments, but he isn’t wrong. In fact, the media proves his point day in and day out.

We have watched over the decades as media has moved from some sort of objectiveness to complete sensationalism and skewing stories to fit a narrative. 

This is irresponsible journalism. We shouldn’t allow this precedent to be set. We should demand better. 

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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