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Did the New York Times Screw Up?

The Primary: On Sunday, the New York Times published new information about alleged sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Now, the newspaper is the one facing scrutiny over information that was originally omitted from the article.

  • Who? What? Why?: The story, an adaption from a new book by two Times reporters on the Kavanaugh hearing published in the Times Sunday Review, revealed another alleged incident of sexual harassment by the Justice when he was at Yale and corroborated a previously reported sexual misconduct allegation. However, shortly after the story was published, the Times added this correction, noting it omitted key information about the new allegation: Editors’ Note: Sept. 15, 2019 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.​

  • The Baseline: Remember, this was not published as a news story, and that appears to have complicated things. The Times decided to publish this book excerpt in the Sunday Review. "There appears to be no hard and fast rule at the Times when it comes to its reporters’ books," reports Politico. The book authors blamed the NYT editors for botching the article. The information was omitted “just sort of. . . in the haste of the editing process,” said Robin Pogrebin, one of the reporters/authors. 

  • From a Media Critic: Oliver Darcy, the media critic for CNN, says the Kavanaugh story is the "latest in a series of high-profile blunders" for editor James Bennet since he took over the opinion section of the Times. 

  • From a Rival Paper: The Washington Post indicated it passed on this story last year during the heat of the Kavanaugh news coverage. Its explanation? "The Post did not publish a story in part because the intermediaries declined to identify the alleged witness and because the woman who was said to be involved declined to comment."

  • From the Right: "The revival of smears against Kavanaugh is part of a campaign," writes the WSJ editorial board. First, the New York Times "rewrote history" when they insinuated the Ramirez accusations were "credible and not thoroughly investigated." Second, we take this time to call out Democrats for launching the "most radical attack on the judiciary in decades." It's not just Kavanaugh, the Democrat assault on the Supreme Court is far-reaching, and it's all because their "agenda" depends on "favorable court rulings."

  • Go Deeper: As we reported on Monday, this wasn't the only thing the Times was criticized for. The New York Times also caught flack for how they tweeted out the Kavanaugh story. 

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