After the New York Times published an excerpt from “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation," a book co-written by Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, a vile tweet was published on the Times' Opinion Twitter feed to promote the piece.
"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun. But when Brett Kavanaugh did it to her, Deborah Ramirez says, it confirmed to her that she didn't belong at Yale in the first place," the now-deleted tweet read.
The Times deleted the tweet once they began receiving flak for what was said.
What are they thinking at the New York Times? 1) It's a discredited allegation. 2) If it had happened, such things are 'harmless fun'? pic.twitter.com/zBUmj0Ghqq— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 15, 2019
Things that are never as much fun as they seem like they’re going to be:— Sam Baker (@sam_baker) September 15, 2019
- the Super Bowl
- having a penis thrust in your face
- wait, what?
- tweeting pic.twitter.com/MG54V5Aj2t
This headline was written by the lone person in the country that thinks having a penis thrust in your face at a party is harmless fun. pic.twitter.com/mujLmkBTHy— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 15, 2019
When the Times' public relations department decided to "clarify" what happened, they apologized for the tweet and said they would investigate.
Also, a tweet that went out from the @NYTOpinion account yesterday was clearly inappropriate and offensive. We apologize for it and are reviewing the decision-making with those involved.— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) September 15, 2019
According to POLITICO, one of the book's co-authors, Robin Pogrebin, drafted and sent the now-deleted tweet.
According to a Times insider familiar with the matter, Pogrebin wrote the offensive tweet, which should have been vetted before it was posted.
“It was really neglectful,” the insider said of the paper’s overall handling. “There were serious errors made along the way.”
The Times’s PR team also responded to questions about why a piece featuring new reporting about a controversial, national issue didn’t run as a news story, but rather a “news analysis.” The Sunday Review section, the Times said, “frequently runs excerpts of books produced by Times reporters.”
The new accuser, Max Stier, is a Democratic attorney and someone who has had a long and contentious history with Kavanaugh.
From Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist (emphasis mine):
The only supposedly new claim made in the book isn’t new and comes from Democrat attorney Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s with whom he has a long and contentious history. In the words of the Yale Daily News, they were “pitted” against each other during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s when Kavanaugh worked for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Stier defended President Bill Clinton, whose legal troubles began when a woman accused him of exposing himself to her in hotel room she had been brought to. Clinton later settled with the woman for $850,000 and, due to a contempt of court citation for misleading testimony, ended up losing his law license for five years. Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.
In any case, Stier’s claim, which even two Democratic senators’ offices didn’t find particularly worthwhile, was that he had seen an inebriated Kavanaugh, pants-down, at a freshman-year party. Stier’s claim to the staffers, we’re told, was that other people at the party put Kavanaugh’s genitalia into the hands of a classmate. Another unnamed person alleged said that he or she might have remembered hearing that the female student had transferred out of her college because of Kavanaugh, “though exactly why was unclear.”
The reporters, who describe Democrats in glowing terms and Republicans otherwise, say that Stier is a “respected thought leader” in the defense of the federal bureaucracy. They don’t mention his history of working for the Clintons. As for the victim? They say she “has refused to discuss the incident, though several of her friends said she does not recall it.”
To repeat: Several of her friends said she does not recall it.
Pogrebin retweeted New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, who defended Stier, his resume and him being a credible witness:
And Max Stier is no slouch of a witness- he is a Rhodes Scholar, Stanford Law grad, fmr. Supreme Court Clerk, runs a bipartisan center for public service and is the star of Michael Lewis’ last book. https://t.co/UZYKtUNBEQ— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) September 15, 2019
But she didn't retweet the corrected info on Stier:
Evidently Max Stier was in Kavanaugh’s class at Yale, clerked for Justice David Souter but isn’t a Rhodes Scholar, so correcting and updating.— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) September 15, 2019
Talk about a clear indication that the authors had a smear campaign against Kavanaugh, despite them saying they tried to "put themselves in his shoes."