Accuracy in Media

Kate Snow of NBC News admitted Saturday that she published unverifiable and salacious claims about Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings to join the Supreme Court and withheld evidence that cast doubt on those claims.

Snow opened a series of eight tweets by saying she was adding “important context to my and [Anna Schecter’s] story regarding a second woman Michael Avenatti put forward to corroborate Julie Swetnick’s claims about Brett Kavanaugh.”

She admits in the next tweet she helped assemble a “13+ min piece” on Swetnick’s claims that Kavanaugh spiked the punch at high school parties in the early 1980s to make girls present more vulnerable to gang rapes, which he then participated in. Snow did so, she said, “to provide viewers the full context around her allegations and our reporting.”

“We also made clear – in the interest of full transparency – that NBC News had not been able to independently verify her claims,” she said in another tweet.

Snow said she stayed on Avenatti, a trial lawyer who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump and has himself hinted he might run for president in 2020, “for corroboration” after running the initial 13-minute story.

But “by the time we were able to find the woman independently from Mr. Avenatti, who declined to give us her full legal name and phone number, and fully report and vet her story, the Kavanaugh confirmation process was over and the value was limited.

“To be clear, we did NOT have enough reporting to publish the second woman’s account until after Justice Kavanaugh secured enough votes for confirmation.”

But when Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, outed the reporting lapse when speaking about having referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice for conspiracy, providing false statements to Congress and impeding a Senate investigation, among other charges, “the second woman’s story became newsworthy again, so we published right away.”

“We always want to be clear and fully transparent around our reporting, and that’s what we’re doing here.”

NBC News ran its 13-minute story on Oct. 1. The day before, Avenatti had arranged a conference call with the second woman, during which she said of the charges Kavanaugh spiked punch at parties so he and his friends could gang rape intoxicated girls at the parties, “I didn’t ever think it was Brett” and, when asked if Kavanaugh ever acted inappropriately toward women to her knowledge, said “no.”

By Oct. 3 – still three days before Kavanaugh was confirmed and while the vote was still in doubt – the woman was accusing Avenatti of “twisting” her words and said she had never seen Kavanaugh spike punch and “was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one” on that point.

She also told the NBC reporters, “I would not ever allow anyone to be abusive in my presence, male or female.”

NBC News mentioned none of this on the air until Oct. 25.

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