NY Times Updates New Brett Kavanaugh Story, Yale Classmate ‘Does Not Recall Incident’ Others Say They Observed

The Times was already facing criticism over other elements of the piece’s rollout

Last Updated: September 16, 2019 @ 7:58 AM

On Sunday, the New York Times added an editor’s note to a Saturday story detailing witness recollection of another purported incident of drunken sexual misconduct from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his college days.

The update, which says the woman at the center of the story “does not recall the incident,” is the latest element of the piece’s publication to draw criticism.

Read the full editor’s note below:

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,” says the new note at the bottom of the piece, which appeared in the Times’ Sunday Review section and has been widely panned for only mentioning the new accusations in the 11th paragraph, rather than leading with them.

The original article published in the Times on Saturday stated, “A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.

“Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the FBI about this account, but the FBI did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly.”

However, in the new amendment a line reading: “the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode,” now appears at the end of that paragraph.

As reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote, the story “echoes” that of Deborah Ramirez, a former college classmate of Kavanaugh’s who publicly accused him of sexual misconduct when he was nominated to his position by President Trump.

Reactions to the piece’s content were notable, especially from elected officials like Senator Mazie Hirono, who wrote: “Brett Kavanaugh should never have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. It was plain to me and many others at the time that the FBI ‘investigation’ into the serious, corroborated allegations of sexual assault by Justice Kavanaugh was a sham.”

Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on the House Judiciary Committee to “immediately begin an impeachment inquiry to determine whether Justice Kavanaugh lied to Congress and why the FBI wasn’t permitted to investigate all credible allegations against him.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, called Kavanaugh’s confirmation process “a sham” and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, also running for president, tweeted, “It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached. And Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter.”

On Twitter Monday morning, Trump highlighted the coverage the article update was receiving on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” writing, “The one who is actually being assaulted is Justice Kavanaugh – Assaulted by lies and Fake News! This is all about the LameStream Media working with their partner, the Dems.”

Elsewhere, on the more left-leaning MSNBC, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough, too, chastised the Times for their “glaring omission.”

Not only did the newspaper get condemnation from the left and right regarding the update to the piece, but its rollout altogether earned the Times significant critique all weekend.

“For some reason the Times took what appears to be a deeply researched investigative piece and ran it in the opinion section, filed as a ‘news analysis,’ burying the lede as they went,” wrote the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham. “As a reader I have no idea what I’m supposed to make of that.”

In a statement posted to Twitter, the Times explained why the piece appeared in the Sunday Review: “The book, ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation’ by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, is a well-reported and newsworthy account that reveals new details and sheds new light on a matter of significant national interest. The excerpt of the book was published in the Sunday Review, a section that includes both news analysis and opinion pieces. The section frequently runs excerpts of books produced by Times reporters.”

That same thread included an apology for a now-deleted Saturday tweet from the Opinion section’s official account, which began, “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…”
That, like the recollection appearing in the piece’s 11th paragraph or the update about the women in question not recalling the incident, earned the Times significant scorn.
A representative for the Times did not immediately return request for comment.

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