NYT Rips GOP for Showing 'Contempt' for Blasey, Opposing 'Women's Right' to Abortion

September 23rd, 2018 3:21 PM

The New York Times’ co-lead story Sunday naturally dealt with the Kavanaugh controversy: “Nominee’s Fate Is Pivotal Point In U.S. Politics – An Apex in the Struggle Over Women’s Status.” Reporters Alexander Burns, Elizabeth Dias, and Susan Chira portrayed Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, and last-minute sexual-assault accusations, through the prism of Kavanaugh taking away women’s rights through gutting Roe v. Wade as a future member of the Supreme Court, and sexist male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee failing to believe a wronged woman:

In his first appearance before the nation, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh positioned himself as an ally of social change for women in America. Standing beside President Trump at the White House, Judge Kavanaugh spoke of being a father of daughters and a coach to a girls’ basketball team. He hailed his mother’s legal career. He boasted that most of his clerks had been women.

The paper frantically spun, making “social change for women” revolve solely around right to abortion, which they posed as a threat to “gender equality” -- although more female babies are aborted that male worldwide.

The paper placed its thumb on the scale, portraying Republican tactics as callous and sexist while ignoring the Democratic machinations and bizarre requests by Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team, like insisting that the accused, Brett Kavanaugh, testify first.

Abortion was seen as an unquestioned “woman’s right”:

Coming in the era of #MeToo and the Women’s March, of greater attention to wage inequality for women and campus sexual assaults, Judge Kavanaugh was trying to reassure the many women around the country who may have been assessing him, and the president beside him, warily. He was, after all, a 53-year-old jurist and ambitious veteran of Republican politics who would be a potentially decisive vote on litigation over women’s rights -- including the right to terminate a pregnancy.

But if Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was freighted with import for women, the battle over his confirmation has swelled into an event of titanic consequence in the country’s evolution on matters of gender and women’s equality. A judge who could well overturn Roe v. Wade -- handpicked by a president who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct ....

The reporters conveniently linked previous protests by liberal women against Trump to Blasey’s 36-year-old accusations of sexual assault:

The likely public testimony by Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh would be a wrenching apex in the decades-long struggle over the legal and social status of American women, unfolding in the shadow of a presidency that has profoundly alienated many women.


Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, said the Senate’s reaction to Dr. Blasey’s account had already exposed an enormous gulf between the country’s political institutions and the outlook of many American women. Ms. Graves warned that attacks on Dr. Blasey would leave a deep mark on the country.


With Dr. Blasey saying she wants to testify before the Senate, her appearance would represent a moment of extreme peril for Republicans who control the Judiciary Committee -- an all-male panel, on the Republican side, where most members have answered Dr. Blasey’s allegation with suspicion or resentment.

For someone who “wants to testify,” Blasey seems quite content to drag the process out.

The Times placed the onus not on the accuser to prove her case, but on Republicans who doubt her story:

Yet Republicans -- including conservative women -- have been deeply resistant to reconsidering Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Their determination to confirm him may put Republicans at odds with the clear tide in American politics since Mr. Trump’s election. The victory of a man captured on tape boasting about groping women, over a candidate who would have been the first female president, touched off an anguished backlash among women that has fueled mass marches and huge turnout among female voters as well as the record number of female candidates.


But it is the rhetoric around sexual assault, and Senate Republicans’ questionable openness to considering Dr. Blasey’s story, that appears most likely to make the ordinarily dry process of confirming a judge a source of lasting division and even trauma.

Several important Republican leaders, led by Mr. Trump, have spoken with open contempt about Dr. Blasey, who said in a Washington Post interview that Judge Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand and sought to remove her clothes by force during a party in high school.


And Republicans in the Senate, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, have largely vowed to confirm Judge Kavanaugh even as they offer Dr. Blasey a limited window to testify.

Tarana Burke, who created the #MeToo movement for survivors of sexual assault, said the response to Dr. Blasey from congressional Republicans represented a painful contrast with a larger cultural moment in which women have gained new confidence to confront harassment and abuse by men.