The New York Times editorial page on Friday joined the paper's news pages in criticizing Brett Kavanaugh’s “angry” tone in defending himself against uncorroborated assault allegations during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony on Thursday.
Before the hearing, the paper filed a piece from old colleague Jill Abramson, who was executive editor for the paper before being abruptly fired in May 2014. Abramson’s claim of expertise on the subject rests with her book, written with liberal investigative journalist Jane Mayer, of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” a 1994 book hostile and misleading on its subject and the unproven allegations made by Hill against him.
The headline to Abramson’s piece says it all: “This Hearing Is Stacked Against Christine Blasey Ford.” Abramson is unclear on the definition of “corroborating evidence,” while pushing untrustworthy accuser Julie Swetnick, a client of obnoxious lawyer Michael Avenatti:
Dr. Blasey is not a lone accuser. Since her account was first published by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, considerable corroborating evidence has emerged, but none of it will be properly examined at Thursday’s hearing. Besides Julie Swetnick, Deborah Ramirez has accused Judge Kavanaugh of exposing himself and touching her while they were both students at Yale....
This was her “corroborating evidence,” which doesn’t actually corroborate the sexual assault at all, given that none of the four people witnessed such an assault:
This week four people who know Dr. Blasey, including her husband, signed affidavits and submitted them to the Judiciary Committee saying she told them about being sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh before he was nominated by President Trump. Their statements provide important corroboration, and if the Senate was really interested in learning the truth, these people would be called to testify....
That was a lead-in to Friday’s full-page editorial after the testimony from Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, “Why Mr. Kavanaugh Wasn’t Believable.”
What a study in contrasts: Where Christine Blasey Ford was calm and dignified, Brett Kavanaugh was volatile and belligerent; where she was eager to respond fully to every questioner, and kept worrying whether she was being “helpful” enough, he was openly contemptuous of several senators; most important, where she was credible and unshakable at every point in her testimony, he was at some points evasive, and some of his answers strained credulity.
Indeed, Dr. Blasey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was devastating.
Judge Kavanaugh, when it was his turn, was not laughing. He was yelling. He spent more than half an hour raging against Senate Democrats and the “Left” for “totally and permanently” destroying his name, his career, his family, his life. He called his confirmation process a “national disgrace.”
Judge Kavanaugh’s defiant fury might be understandable coming from someone who believes himself innocent of the grotesque charges he’s facing. Yet it was also evidence of an unsettling temperament in a man trying to persuade the nation of his judicial demeanor.
Over a quarter century ago, the Times editorial page demonstrated that same chutzpah in its outraged editorial after Anita Hill’s testimony following her dubious allegations of sexual harassment, claiming Thomas displayed improper “judicial temperament” by daring to get angry over charges of sexual harassment:
Judge Thomas, in evident pain, responded with flat denials and an overheated cry of "lynching" that invoked centuries of murderous racial injustice. In one telling moment, he strained both credulity and judicial temperament. How did he respond to Anita Hill's various accusations? He couldn't say; he had refused to watch her televised testimony.