If you opened Twitter on Sunday morning, you were likely greeted with the bombshell headline of the top trending news story: “NYT reporters’ book details new sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.”
The allegation, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly write in a New York Times story adapted from their forthcoming anti-Kavanaugh book, is this: “We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”
Wait a second. Who did what to whom?
Kavanaugh’s “friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student”?
Can someone explain the logistics of the allegation here? Was Kavanaugh allegedly walking around naked when his friends pushed him into the female student?
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No, if I’m reading Pogrebin and Kelly right, the friends didn’t push Kavanaugh in the back. Rather, the “friends pushed his penis.”
What? How does that happen? Who are the friends? Who is the female student? Were there any witnesses besides Stier?
All that the authors write in the New York Times essay about corroborating the story is this: “Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)”
So they corroborated the fact that Stier made the allegation to the FBI, but the authors give no indication that they have corroborated any details of the alleged incident.
The book isn’t released until Tuesday, but Mollie Hemingway got a copy, and she writes on Twitter: “The book notes, quietly, that the woman Max Stier named as having been supposedly victimized by Kavanaugh and friends denies any memory of the alleged event.” Omitting this fact from the New York Times story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory.