The New York Times had (through Wednesday morning) refrained from full-court partisanship in its coverage of last-minute sexual assault allegations concerning Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
But the paper’s editorial page went full blast against Kavanaugh, devoting lead editorials on Tuesday and Wednesday to anti-Kavanaugh and anti-Republican sliming, beginning with the tasteless headline Tuesday, “#Brett Too?” Only that thin, cowardly question mark separating it from an utterly wretched smear. The online headline was more sedate: “Why America Needs to Hear Brett Kavanaugh’s Accuser”:
What happened between two teenagers at a suburban Maryland house party on a night more than three decades ago? Since one of them has been identified by the other as Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge who is now up for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, the Senate correctly decided to hear from Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser next week before proceeding with his confirmation.
The accusations are detailed and appalling....
The editorialists rigged the game so Kavanaugh can only lose it and be smeared as an attempted rapist, while lumping him in with Trump:
Judge Kavanaugh has flatly denied any wrongdoing. “I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” he said in a statement.
This is the sort of denial that an innocent man would offer. It is also increasingly the modus operandi in the age of Donald Trump, regardless of the accusations at hand: Don’t engage with the specifics, just deny, deny, deny.
This game plan flows directly from the top, where President Trump has consistently met a growing list of allegations of sexual misconduct with combative denials....
The paper claimed that “there is no upside for women who come forward with stories of sexual harassment or assault, especially when the accused is a famous or powerful man....”
Judge Kavanaugh’s defenders have already launched a fusillade of victim-blaming counterattacks, from the predictable to the preposterous: “She’s making it up. (If so, she doesn’t fit the profile of a false accuser.)”
But according to the left, there are no such things as false accusers!
The bottom line is that Brett Kavanaugh is up for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, and there is now a credible accusation of sexual assault against him.
The editorial page wasn’t overly concerned with niceties like due process, concerned solely with getting a “guilty” verdict for Trump’s choice.
Twenty-seven years later, Clarence Thomas remains on the court and the Republican side of the Judiciary Committee remains all male. But this time, almost a year into the #MeToo era, a lot more Americans may be ready to believe the woman.
Wednesday’s editorial at first sounded like a walk-back in its plea for bipartisanship: “Sexual Abuse Isn’t Partisan.” It is a fine thought, but that conceit ends up being a sneaky way for the paper to aruge Republicans don’t take sex abuse seriously. The text box read: “Yet the response usually is. Republican leader can’t seem to take the problem seriously.”
It began with this willfully ahistorical whopper:
Republicans seem determined to brand themselves the party of sexual harassment and abuse.
This is not to pass judgment on whether the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school, as she has said. That has yet to be investigated.
Neither is this to suggest that Republican and conservative men are more inclined to behave like entitled pigs than are Democrats and liberals. Abuse of power is nonpartisan. Roughly, for every Blake Farenthold there is a John Conyers Jr.; for every Roger Ailes, a Harvey Weinstein.
But when you look beyond the individual bad actors to the way the political teams are responding to episodes of abuse and harassment in the #MeToo era, the contrast is stark. Last year, Al Franken, a Democrat, was run out of the Senate by members of his own conference over behavior that, while stupid and offensive, was bush league compared with the accusations leveled at the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama....
To some degree, the moral high ground on this issue is beyond the party’s reach. It picked a leader accused of a laundry list of sexual misconduct -- and who has been caught on tape bragging about his predation....
Speaking of a political party not taking sexual charges seriously...DNC co-chair Keith Ellison was accused of domestic abuse by Karen Monahan, who recently complained that the Democratic Party has threatened her for speaking out.
In 2018, Bill Clinton remains a Democratic party fixture years after several "credible accusations" (to coin a phrase) of sexual harassment and rape, even though The Times wouldn't dare characterize them that way. Even studious Al Gore was the subject of a police investigation in 2006 in Portland, Oregon, after being accused of “unwanted sexual contact” by a female message therapist, an allegation that surfaced in 2010 (and which was barely if ever covered by The Times).