NYT’s Kantor: No ‘Presumption of Innocence for the Man’ in Hearing

Appearing on Thursday’s CBS This Morning ahead of the Senate hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor claimed that Ford’s unsubstantiated claims were “growing stronger” and touted how there was no longer a “presumption of innocence for the man” in such cases.

At the top of the 8:00 a.m. ET hour segment, co-host Gayle King proclaimed: “A new poll finds that 42% of Americans are not sure who to believe ahead of this morning’s testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Now, that is in stark contrast to 1991, when a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found a majority believed Supreme Court Clarence Thomas over his accuser Anita hill.”

 

 

Of course King never explained that poll was taken after the hearing in which both Hill and Thomas testified, whereas Ford and Kavanaugh have yet to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

Remarking that it was going to be a “drama-filled day,” King asked Kantor: “...looking at the testimony, what are you looking for today?” Kantor replied: “Well, remember that we don’t even know what Dr. Ford looks like....And so, this woman who really deliberated over whether she wanted to tell this story at all, who is very private, comes off as a very serious person...”

Fellow co-host John Dickerson wondered: “You have been in the business of very carefully talking to people who have made allegations and doing what you’re supposed to do, which is press them and make sure they’re right and be very skeptical about them....how does one walk the line from being skeptical and not also suggesting that you don’t believe that this can happen, that this happens to women and that broader point?”

Kantor dismissed any journalistic skepticism of Ford’s allegations:

Well, remember that when we look at Dr. Ford’s allegations, they have become – her memories are very clear. She always had some corroboration in the form of therapist’s notes. She’s actually gotten more and more. Yesterday we found out that she had remembered that she told people that she wasn’t sure exactly who. And so then her team came up with documents essentially saying these friends have specific memories of her telling them about this. And so, her story appears to be growing stronger. On the – or gathering stronger support and more evidence.

Despite asserting that Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh were only “growing stronger,” Kantor then briefly acknowledged that two men had anonymously come forward to the Senate Judiciary to confess to being those who assaulted Ford, not Kavanaugh or his classmate Mark Judge. Kantor characterized that potential exculpatory evidence as part of “a rush of very confusing, hard-to-understand allegations kind of on both sides in the last 24 hours.”

Moments later, Kantor admitted: “It is very – journalists haven’t really had time to do their jobs in terms of carefully looking at these allegation, interviewing everybody, finding support.... So there is a bit of chaos going into today’s hearing.”

King chimed in: “It is chaotic and also very – it’s very eerily deja-vu to Anita Hill, except back then, Anita Hill was not believed, even after her testimony, the poll’s show she was not believed. Do you think it’s different for Christine Blasey Ford today?” Kantor proclaimed: “Absolutely. If you look back at the headlines and the historical records from the Clarence Thomas hearing, one the of the striking things is that the country was on his side. And I don’t think we can say the same is true today.”

It is patently absurd for Kantor to claim that “the country was on his side.” The media savaged Thomas at the time and hailed Hill.

Kantor continued, and cheered the fact that Ford has “been greeted with enormous sympathy. The activism and show of support you’re gonna see from many women and men are see in the country today – ” King interjected: “He’s got support though, too, Jodi. Judge Kavanaugh.” Kantor brushed that aside: “He does, but I think the sort of presumption of innocence for the man who’s being accused, the idea that, you know, a meddlesome woman is interfering with his life and trying to bring him down has greatly change from the Anita Hill era.”

So after Clarence Thomas was presumed guilty by the liberal media, now Kavanaugh will receive no “presumption of innocence” by the same press.  

Earlier in the week, Kantor appeared on the CBS morning show to predict that Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee would “look like clueless and insensitive men, grilling a woman” during Thursday’s hearing, no matter what happened.

Here is a full transcript of the September 27 segment:

8:15 AM ET

GAYLE KING: A new poll finds that 42% of Americans are not sure who to believe ahead of this morning’s testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Now, that is in stark contrast to 1991, when a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found a majority believed Supreme Court Clarence Thomas over his accuser Anita hill.

CBS News Contributor Jodi Kantor is an investigative reporter for The New York Times, she co-wrote the very first story on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations. The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on that story. And Jodi joins us at the table.

What a moment for us all to be here. It’s such a drama-filled day, Jodi. And I think that when you’re sitting and looking at the testimony, what are you looking for today?

JODI KANTOR [NEW YORK TIMES]: Well, remember that we don’t even know what Dr. Ford looks like. There are very few pictures of her on –  

KING: We have those pictures in the sunglasses.

KANTOR: On the internet, but she’s wearing sunglasses. And so, this woman who really deliberated over whether she wanted to tell this story at all, who is very private, comes off as a very serious person, is going to be walking in front of the American public and essentially sharing one of her worst memories with the entire nation for judgment. For judgment by everybody and for judgment by this group of senators.

KING: And she’s already said she’s terrified about coming forward.

KANTOR: But she – but also her – she has one job, which is just to relate the memory of what happened. And I think we’re gonna see her stick to that very, very closely.

JOHN DICKERSON: You have been in the business of very carefully talking to people who have made allegations and doing what you’re supposed to do, which is press them and make sure they’re right and be very skeptical about them. And you must have had an experience where – or let me ask you this way – in public this is going to be happening, how does one walk the line from being skeptical and not also suggesting that you don’t believe that this can happen, that this happens to women and that broader point?

KANTOR: Well, remember that when we look at Dr. Ford’s allegations, they have become – her memories are very clear. She always had some corroboration in the form of therapist’s notes. She’s actually gotten more and more. Yesterday we found out that she had remembered that she told people that she wasn’t sure exactly who. And so then her team came up with documents essentially saying these friends have specific memories of her telling them about this. And so, her story appears to be growing stronger. On the – or gathering stronger support and more evidence.

On the other hand, there’s been a rush of very confusing, hard-to-understand allegations kind of on both sides in the last 24 hours. More women potentially saying that they had really difficult experiences with Kavanaugh. But also men saying that they think they might have been the ones.

KING: That they’re the ones responsible, yeah.

KANTOR: It is very – journalists haven’t really had time to do their jobs in terms of carefully looking at these allegation, interviewing everybody, finding support. I mean, when we did the Harvey Weinstein story, it took us months and months to review everything and saying, “Here are the facts that we can really support, here’s the evidence, here’s the proof.” So there is a bit of chaos going into today’s hearing.

KING: It is chaotic and also very – it’s very eerily deja-vu to Anita Hill, except back then, Anita Hill was not believed, even after her testimony, the poll’s show she was not believed. Do you think it’s different for Christine Blasey Ford today?

KANTOR: Absolutely. If you look back at the headlines and the historical records from the Clarence Thomas hearing, one the of the striking things is that the country was on his side. And I don’t think we can say the same is true today. She’s been greeted with enormous sympathy. The activism and show of support you’re gonna see from many women and men are see in the country today –  

KING: He’s got support though, too, Jodi. Judge Kavanaugh.

KANTOR: He does, but I think the sort of presumption of innocence for the man who’s being accused, the idea that, you know, a meddlesome woman is interfering with his life and trying to bring him down has greatly change from the Anita Hill era.  

DICKERSON: Okay, thanks so much, Jodi.

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