Accuracy in Media

The New York Times published a major correction admitting the alleged victim refused to be interviewed and said she didn’t remember the explosive allegation the Times published anyway — a new, uncorroborated claim that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to the woman as an undergraduate student at Yale University.

Writing in the Times “Sunday Review,” Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly cited the allegation from their new book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.” Their reporting about the allegation was made from thirdhand sourcing–the allegation was by the woman’s former classmate named Max Stier — but the Times didn’t even speak with Stier.

“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. 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,” wrote Pogrebin and Kelly.

Their story was later updated with the following correction:

“An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.”

National Review correspondent John McCormack described the Times’ omission as one of the “worst cases of journalistic malpractice that I can recall.”

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