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Whoa: Text Messages Reveal NYT Reporter Told Kavanaugh Source What To Say

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

A Senate Judiciary Committee report revealed that New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin coached sources on what to say and how to respond to her questions based on information she obtained, The Federalist reported. Her motive was to shape a false narrative against now-sitting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and allegations of sexual misconduct. Pogrebin is one of the co-authors of the anti-Kavanaugh book whose chapter was featured in the New York Times last week. 

The newspaper was forced to issue a correction for failing to include exculpatory evidence about the accuser. Earlier this week, Pogrebin said Kavanaugh wanted her to lie about what took place. 

Pogrebin, who went to Yale, used her connections to call up old classmates to get dirt on Kavanaugh. The problem, however, is she never revealed that she worked for the Times. Pogrebin and her co-author, Kate Kelly, have made it sound as though these revelations were a result of an "object investigation" into Kavanaugh. 

From The Federalist (emphasis mine):

Pogrebin made a bizarre and unsupported claim this week that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had told her to lie. It turned out Pogrebin had mischaracterized discussions with the Supreme Court’s public information officer, not Kavanaugh, who had merely explained the terms of an off-the-record interview that was being sought and never obtained. Despite the many errors and false claims Pogrebin and her co-author Kate Kelly made, corporate media picked up on this false statement as if it were true.

A 2018 text exchange between Karen Yarasavage and Kerry Berchem shows them discussing Deborah Ramirez’s claim against Kavanaugh. Yarasavage was extremely close to Ramirez — having asked Ramirez to be a godmother to one of her children — and knew Kavanaugh well, too. Berchem was younger and not at Yale when the alleged incident was said to have taken place. While in reality, the text exchanges show Berchem trying to get Yarasavage to say something supportive of Ramirez’s claim, even though Yarasavage said she’d never even heard of any such incident and felt confident she would have if it had happened, the media characterized the discussions as evidence of Kavanaugh’s guilt.

In their book, Pogrebin and Kelly continue the media narrative that the exchanges were the opposite of what they were. They write that discussions of media inquiries to find anti-Kavanaugh dirt in the summer instead “raised questions as to whether Kavanaugh and his friends or representatives had been trying to influence events as far back as July.” The exchanges “had started with seemingly innocent social contacts, but — in the context of the Ford and Ramirez allegations — they had taken on importance as potentially relevant material to show the FBI.”


Pogrebin and Kelly quote many snippets of the texts without revealing what the women said about Pogrebin herself. Pogrebin briefly discloses that she went to Yale University with Kavanaugh and Ramirez. She used those connections to call up old classmates and sell a book, although she and her co-author now are trying to present themselves as objective reporters.

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist obtained copies of the text messages:

The text messages and the reporters' cherrypicking reveal the one thing conservatives have said all along: the mainstream media had it out from Kavanaugh from the get go. This wasn't about getting to the truth or being objective. This was about tearing down one man, his reputation and his livelihood. 

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