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NY Times’ new allegations against Brett Kavanaugh left out key detail



A weekend report from The New York Times containing a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh originally left out a key piece of information.

Adapted from a forthcoming book on Kavanaugh from two Times reporters, the essay outlined an allegation that former Kavanaugh college classmate Max Stier, who said he saw the future Supreme Court justice at a rowdy dorm party “with his pants down” and “friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student,” the Times reported.

Stier contacted senators about the incident and reported it to the FBI, but it did not investigate the allegation.

Read more: A former classmate of Brett Kavanaugh reportedly tipped off the FBI and senators to another allegation of sexual misconduct

On Sunday evening, the Times added an “editor’s note” with more information behind the charge.

The note explained that friends of the female student had said she couldn’t recall the incident, and that the same student declined to be interviewed for the book.

Normally, such a bombshell would be near the top of the article given its newsworthiness, and critics pounced on the paper for presenting the revelation 11 paragraphs into the essay, as well as for its framing.

Journalist Laura Rozen said it appeared the Times had sought to “diminish” its reporting with “soft cultural context.”

Critics and defenders of Kavanaugh are using the Times’ reporting as ammo in a renewed battle over whether Kavanaugh is fit to serve on the Supreme Court.

He faced several allegations of sexual misconduct during his controversial nomination for the high court late last year — and was narrowly confirmed despite emotional testimony from Stanford University professor Christine Blasey Ford alleging Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him.

Read more: Democrats are demanding Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment over a new sexual misconduct allegation

President Donald Trump on Monday tore into the paper’s reporting on Kavanaugh with a barrage of tweets defending him.

“The one who is actually being assaulted is Justice Kavanaugh – Assaulted by lies and Fake News!” Trump tweeted.

Other Republicans also leapt to his defense. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said on ABC on Sunday that last year’s Senate hearings had already reviewed the allegations against Kavanaugh. Cruz also accused Democrats of trying to smear him again.

Democrats, however, latched onto the new revelations to push for Kavanaugh’s removal from the Supreme Court. A flurry of 2020 Democratic candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke, called for his impeachment over the weekend.

The New York Times faced mounting scrutiny over its handling of the latest allegation against Kavanaugh as well. The paper had already apologized for its opinion department tweeting out the story with a description that partially read, “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun.”

“This is…. such a profound lapse in judgment and common sense,” said author Roxane Gay shortly after the controversial tweet. “What the hell is going on at the NYT?”

But its done little to quell the blowback The Times was getting and the paper’s official communications account later tweeted an explanation for the book’s reporting process.

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