Accuracy in Media


It is hard to tell from what we know now whether Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, is guilty of assaulting Christine Blasey Ford at an alcohol-fueled teen party in the early 1980s.

But it is not hard to tell where the mainstream media comes down on this controversy.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post offered the following headlines:

“Kavanaugh accuser seeks FBI investigation before testifying to Senate; The demand from attorneys of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago, came as President Trump and Senate Republicans stepped up their defense of the Supreme Court nominee.”

“Anita Hill urges senators to ‘push the pause button,’ backs call for FBI probe.”

“‘Shut up and step up:’ Sen. Hirono’s message to men after allegation.”

“Feinstein under scrutiny for handling of letter.” Subhead: “Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) faces a legacy-defining moment from her chosen ground squarely in the middle of a cultural, political and social firestorm over the future of President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.”

“Kavanaugh’s accuser thought her life would be upended. She was right,” with a subhead that read: “Within hours of coming forward, Christine Blasey Ford faced multiple attacks on her privacy and credibility, confirming her fears about what would happen if she went public and echoing the backlash faced by other accusers in the #MeToo era.”

“The Fix: The worst is yet to come for accuser, sexual assault expert says.”

The New York Times’ website front offered the following headlines:

“Kavanaugh’s Accuser Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Before She Testifies,” with a subhead that read: “Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault, said an investigation should be a ‘first step’ before she testifies,” thus endorsing the Democrat senators’ delay tactics.

“A Changed America Debates an Explosive Charge,” with a subhead: “The accusations against Judge Kavanaugh are being assessed under different social conventions than when the episode allegedly occurred, a correspondent writes.”

“There is new attention on the judge’s previous remarks about drinking.”

The stories carried still more evidence of the media using wedge words to force its views into the conversation.

“The committee had invited Kavanaugh and Ford to testify at a public hearing Monday, but Ford’s response [that she would appear only after an FBI investigation; a move Republicans say was concocted by Democrats to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation] raises questions about whether the GOP will proceed with the session and ultimately the vote on Kavanaugh,” the Washington Post wrote in its lead story.

Citing anonymous sources characterized as Republicans, the Post wrote that officials “maintained Tuesday that such a hearing would be Kavanaugh’s best chance at preserving his nomination to the high court, since it would give the judge – who seems determined to fight the allegation – an opportunity to respond to the claims.”

The Post also says it is Democrats who have complained about the decision to limit the witnesses to just Ford and Kavanaugh, “saying it would turn the testimony into a ‘he said, she said’ spectacle.”




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