Tuesday’s New York Times featured co-lead stories on the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson reported on the top of Tuesday’s edition, “Trump’s Nominee Vows To Stand Up Against ‘Smears’”:
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, facing new allegations of sexual impropriety and growing doubts over his confirmation to the Supreme Court, mounted an aggressive defense of himself on Monday, vowing to fight the “smears” and declaring that he will not withdraw his nomination.
With President Trump publicly backing him, and senior Senate Republicans closing ranks around him, Judge Kavanaugh -- joined by his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh -- gave an extraordinary interview to Fox News that aired Monday evening....
The Times reveled in the unsubstantiated left-wing sliming of Kavanaugh’s “clean-cut” image:
But even as Judge Kavanaugh was defending his integrity, the hits on his once clean-cut image kept coming. The New York Times published an account of him and some of his high school football teammates boasting in their yearbooks about exploits with a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school, boasts the woman recently called “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”
Even before that account was published, Washington was reeling from a rat-a-tat spate of other accusations against him. The New Yorker magazine published an account from a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale University with Judge Kavanaugh and said he exposed himself to her during a drunken dormitory party. And the lawyer Michael Avenatti posted additional salacious allegations on Twitter.
After initially suggesting the New Yorker story was unsubstantiated, the paper gave itself a convenient escape route on Tuesday, while keeping Republicans on the defensive:
For Republicans, the hearing and the women’s accusations are fraught with political dangers. In the #MeToo era, Republicans cannot afford to attack Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers. So they have instead trained their fire on Senate Democrats, accusing them of waging a campaign of character assassination, and on the news media -- in particular The New Yorker. Many cited a Times article that said The Times had conducted numerous interviews but was unable to corroborate Ms. Ramirez’s story.
But The Times did not rebut her account and, unlike The New Yorker, was not able to obtain an interview with Ms. Ramirez.
A conservative label pile-up happened near the end:
Republicans find themselves caught between the growing anger of many female voters over the Kavanaugh allegations and the demands of core conservative voters infuriated by what they see as a Democratic plot. Religious conservatives have doubled down on their support for Judge Kavanaugh, arguing that the developments are a last-ditch effort by Democrats to derail the conservative judicial agenda that Mr. Trump promised them in 2016.
And conservative judicial activists are keeping up the pressure on Republicans to plow forward.
More dubiously sourced “innuendo” against Kavanaugh appeared in Kate Kelly and David Enrich’s co-lead story, “Yearbook ’83: Football, Kegs And Innuendo”:
Brett Kavanaugh’s page in his high school yearbook offers a glimpse of the teenage years of the man who is now President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: lots of football, plenty of drinking, parties at the beach. Among the reminiscences about sports and booze is a mysterious entry: “Renate Alumnius.”
The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.” It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school.
Two of Judge Kavanaugh’s classmates say the mentions of Renate were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.
If they can’t get to Kavanaugh, they can point to the school’s “culture,” a conveniently fuzzy and liberal-stereotyped target:
Judge Kavanaugh’s peers have given different accounts of what he was like. But his yearbook provides a contemporaneous glimpse of the elite Catholic school’s hard-drinking atmosphere -- Judge Kavanaugh’s personal page boasts, “100 kegs or bust” -- and a culture that some describe as disrespectful to women....Judge Kavanaugh, a member of the football team and the captain of the basketball team, played a prominent role in Georgetown Prep’s firmament in the early 1980s. The school’s culture was one of heavy drinking and at times insensitivity....Some of Judge Kavanaugh’s high school peers said there was a widespread culture at the time of objectifying women.
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway noted the paper deleted the story’s initial sourcing, from a Maryland Democratic politician virulently hostile to Trump.
Also in Tuesday’s edition: “#BelieveWomen: Support For Kavanaugh’s Accusers” and “After Trump Tweet, Women Share Stories of Assault.” Yikes.