by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The New York Times had a significant story to tell about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s this: In a new book, the Times reporters produced new evidence that profoundly undermined the central claims against Kavanaugh. Leland Keyser — Christine Blasey Ford’s friend and the person Ford herself testified was also at the party where Ford claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her — has stated on the record that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in Ford’s story.
Not only does she not recall the specific party at issue, she doesn’t recall “any others like it.” Moreover, Keyser maintains this recollection in spite of a determined effort by old friends to get her to change her testimony — a pressure campaign that Keyser admirably resisted.
But that’s not the story the New York Times chose to tell. Instead, this weekend it ran an extended piece that breathlessly asserts that there exists a new claim against Kavanaugh. The original story reported that a man named Max Stier alleged that “friends” pushed Kavanaugh’s penis into the hand of a female student. Hours later — only after Democrats issued furious denunciations of Kavanaugh — did the Times add a rather significant editor’s note. The female student “declined to be interviewed,” and her “friends say that she does not recall the incident.”
In other words, “Never mind.” But even that editor’s note is incomplete. It turns out that Max Stier served as one of Bill Clinton’s lawyers during the Starr investigation, a fact that’s at least relevant to the existence of partisan bias.
The New York Times’s disgraceful weekend performance is a reminder that the media performed abysmally during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.