NBC’s Soboroff Declares Ford ‘An American Hero’ After Hearing

Appearing on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today Friday morning, correspondent Jacob Soboroff made it clear where he stood on Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, declaring Ford to be “an American hero.” Thankfully, host Megyn Kelly was quick to rein in his enthusiastic support for Kavanaugh’s accuser.

After rightfully labeling the entire Senate spectacle “a mess,” Soboroff proclaimed: “And the only good thing, literally, the only good thing that I can see coming out of this, is that Dr. Ford becomes an American hero.” He explained his reasoning this way: “Yesterday, RAINN, the Rape and Incest Survivors Network, had 147% increase in people calling to tell their stories yesterday because they felt empowered by Dr. Ford stepping up. And to me, that’s the one silver lining of all of this yesterday.”

 

 

While Kelly agreed that it was certainly good that victims were reaching out to share their experiences of abuse, she cautioned:

But the truth is, we don’t know. We don’t know what happened in this case. And so, I’m sure that there are some Kavanaugh defenders who do not want to see Dr. Ford become a national hero. Because they believe she’s told something that either isn’t true or is severely mistaken, at a great cost to Judge Kavanaugh and his family.

Noting that it was likely that “we’ll never know” what really happened 36 years ago, Kelly pointed out: “Kavanaugh’s led an exemplary life. There isn’t a single thing anybody’s been able to point to during the modern era, in the past 20-plus years, that would mar his character as a man.”

During live coverage of Thursday's hearing, Kelly correctly observed: "The media is not exactly in Kavanaugh’s corner."

Earlier in the panel discussion, Kelly called Kavanaugh’s fiery testimony before the committee “extremely powerful.” Even correspondent Stephanie Gosk begrudgingly admitted that “You can’t help but feel for the guy.” However, she immediately slammed him for daring to criticize Democrats: “And then suddenly it swings to, ‘And this was all orchestrated by the Clintons.’ It just was a pivot that didn’t make sense to me and I think undermined the powerful moment that he had to top it off.”

Minutes later, after Kelly touted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham having “his own Howard Beale moment” in denouncing the entire process, Gosk eagerly offered the Democratic response:

But here is my question for him. When he says – and he says, “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics.” But what if that vote no is instead, “I believe her.” What if that vote no is, “Actually, it wasn’t fair to her, either, and this process didn't work and we need look at it again”? [Applause] And that is why it is fine to be upset about the politics. But Lindsey Graham, does it matter? Does what she is alleging matter? Do we need to get at the bottom of it?

Soboroff piled on: “What I don’t get, just watching from the outside, is how can you say there is no proof? You had a chance for an FBI investigation and we would have done an FBI investigation. And today, there’s no proof.”

Still referring to Graham’s comments, Gosk ranted:

But you can’t say that and then say, “Oh, and by the way, I really care about what she’s alleging.” Because you can’t say, “My punishment for you now, because of the way you guys handled this, is we’re gonna ram this through regardless, and it doesn’t matter about this allegation and whether it’s played out fairly.”

Earlier on the Today show, Gosk fretted that the Senate hearing may be a “dramatic display of how little things have changed” and a setback for the #MeToo movement.

Here are excerpts of the September 28 panel discussion on Megyn Kelly Today:

9:04 AM ET

(...)

MEGYN KELLY: Can I just tell you, so we were on the air all day yesterday talking about this. And when Kavanaugh came out, we didn’t know what to expect. You know, all we’d seen of him publicly was sort of this stilted, stiff judge. I mean, that’s what we’re used to from judges, they don’t show emotion. And didn’t know what to expect. And when he launched into that opening statement, which was not the prepared opening statement. He had rewritten it himself, to express how he was actually feeling. All of us, all of the NBC talent we were standing. We got up from the anchor desk, we were all standing, each in front of a monitor, you know, underneath the cameras there are monitors. Just watching, stunned.

I've never seen anything like that in all my lovin’ life. And it was extremely powerful. And just at the moment when you thought nothing could be more powerful than Christine Ford, he came out and then Lindsey Graham came out. And probably changed the balance because it sounds like Kavanaugh is in a much better position right now than he was 24 hours ago. What do you think?

STEPHANIE GOSK: Well, it’s worth pointing out the arc of his opening statement, right? He comes out and it’s this personal moment. And he cries and talks about his daughter. And you can’t help but be touched by that moment. His daughter is upset for her family and for this woman, as he refers to her. And you feel for the guy. You can’t help but feel for the guy. And then suddenly it swings to, “And this was all orchestrated by the Clintons.” It just was a pivot that didn’t make sense to me and I think undermined the powerful moment that he had to top it off.

JACOB SOBOROFF: It was just so jaw-dropping, to watch that all play out. And you know, I know when our viewers at home watch, they can’t hear the audience’s reaction to the spot that was just played with Peter Alexander. And after the President came out and tweeted, everybody here laughed because it was almost like, that’s exactly what was expected. And for me, I felt like we went into it, we had these extraordinarily powerful moments, an opportunity to get deeper, to get somewhere. But at the end of all of it, there’s that tweet from the President, we were back to square one, where we thought we would be, or where we were when we went into it all. And that’s why I think people here were laughing.

(...)

9:07 AM ET

NOAH ROTHMAN [MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR]: I don’t know if this is the precedent we want to establish, moving forward, to confirm Supreme Court judges. One of the things that we hear is, this is just a job interview, right? It’s just a job interview, the stakes are only that this guy gets a Supreme Court justice. If not, you know, he goes back to being the D.C. court. That’s inoperative anymore. This is the guy’s life. His judgeship is in the balance. He’s going to be facing disbarment, he’s going to be facing impeachment calls. He’s gonna be facing calls and efforts to get criminal charges against him. His family, his two daughters, his wife, are going to be facing political exile, perhaps ruined. So this is no longer about this court, this is about society broadly. So what kind of society do we want to live in? The kind of pain that we saw exhibited by Dr. Blasey Ford was real and it deserves to be honored, and it deserves justice. And so, too, does the Judge.

(...)
    
9:10 AM ET

SOBOROFF: If anything became clear yesterday, it was that, that process – this process was a mess. You shouldn’t have a trial, or a show trial, at a venue that’s not a court of law. And the only good thing, literally, the only good thing that I can see coming out of this, is that Dr. Ford becomes an American hero. Yesterday, RAINN, the Rape and Incest Survivors Network, had 147% increase in people calling to tell their stories yesterday because they felt empowered by Dr. Ford stepping up. And to me, that’s the one silver lining of all of this yesterday. Otherwise, it was just terribly, terribly disappointing for all of us.

KELLY: I mean, of course, that’s a good thing, that more survivors are calling in to RAINN. And to the extent any woman coming forward with her testimonial encourages another to come forward, it’s good. But the truth is, we don’t know. We don’t know what happened in this case. And so, I’m sure that there are some Kavanaugh defenders who do not want to see Dr. Ford become a national hero. Because they believe she’s told something that either isn’t true or is severely mistaken, at a great cost to Judge Kavanaugh and his family.

And the truth is, whatever happened back in high school between those two, and we’ll never know what it was or wasn’t, Kavanaugh’s led an exemplary life. There isn’t a single thing anybody’s been able to point to during the modern era, in the past 20-plus years, that would mar his character as a man. And so, you’ve got this woman who’s incredibly credible and sympathetic, telling her own story. And then you’ve got this judge with an exemplary service record who could have been making millions in private practice, but instead, went to the bench, where he doesn’t make anything close to that. And no professional scars on him, none.

(...)        

9:16 AM ET

KELLY: So the – after Kavanaugh’s testimony, the biggest moment yesterday – and Dr. Ford’s testimony – was Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham got out there had his own Howard Beale moment of, “I’m disgusted. I’m disgusted by the process.” And just keep in mind, we’re going to play you the soundbite, it used to be in this country, when you nominated a Supreme Court justice, everyone would vote for the Supreme Court justice, as long as they appeared to be qualified in terms of their credentials as a lawyer.

And just to give you an example, Justice Stevens, one of the most liberal justices ever on the Supreme Court, was confirmed 98 to 0.  Scalia, one of the most conservative, confirmed 98 to 0. Justice Ginsburg, you know, she was general counsel of the ACLU. The Republicans knew they weren’t going to like her, she was confirmed 96 to 3. This is how it used to be in our country. Now, it’s far more partisan. And this is one of the things that Senator Graham was trying to raise in his rant yesterday. Watch.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM [R-SC]: If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You said that! Not me.

You’ve nothing to apologize for! When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello. Because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy. [Applause]

KELLY: And now, a lot of Republicans are calling that the speech of his life.

GOSK: And people are clapping here. And I understand why you’re clapping. And quite frankly, you can be clapping regardless of your political stripes. Because what Lindsey Graham is talking about, is this politicized process and how awful it is.

But here is my question for him. When he says – and he says, “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics.” But what if that vote no is instead, “I believe her.” What if that vote no is, “Actually, it wasn’t fair to her, either, and this process didn't work and we need look at it again”? [Applause] And that is why it is fine to be upset about the politics. But Lindsey Graham, does it matter? Does what she is alleging matter? Do we need to get at the bottom of it?

KELLY: He feels they did. He made the point repeatedly yesterday, “There is no proof. And with all due respect to Dr. Ford, it’s been 36 years, she has major gaps in her memory, and I’m not prepared to ruin a man’s chances on the Supreme Court based on that.”

SOBOROFF: What I don’t get, just watching from the outside, is how can you say there is no proof? You had a chance for an FBI investigation and we would have done an FBI investigation. And today, there’s no proof. If you were open to the FBI investigation then, and you’re closed to it now, how can you so definitively say there is no proof?

KELLY: Can I tell you, I thought his answer on why shouldn’t there be an FBI investigation, or do you support one, was one of his weakest answers. And if I had been Judge Kavanaugh and somebody had said to me, “Won’t you call for an FBI investigation?” I would have said, “You know what, Senator, I won’t. I would have been in favor of it 10 days ago or 30 days ago. But you have gone out there publicly and said I’m evil. You have gone out there publicly and said I’m a liar and you believe her. So I don’t believe you have an earnest desire to search for the truth, I believe what you want is delay. And do I want another 10, 6, 2, 20 days of you guys attacking me and looking for more women to accuse me of outrageous things, only to have some of the allegations retracted in recent days? No, I don’t want that.”  

GOSK: That’s fine, Megyn. But you can’t say that and then say, “Oh, and by the way, I really care about what she’s alleging.” Because you can’t say, “My punishment for you now, because of the way you guys handled this, is we’re gonna ram this through regardless, and it doesn’t matter about this allegation and whether it’s played out fairly.”

(...)

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