Posted by Curt on 31 October, 2018 at 12:36 pm. 3 comments already!


What happened to the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation battle? The claims ranged from Christine Blasey Ford’s remotely plausible if unsubstantiated allegation of a violent attempted rape to Michael Avenatti’s completely outlandish and also unsubstantiated allegation of hosting serial gang rape parties.

From September 12 to October 6, the claims absolutely dominated all major media. They ran on the front pages of all major newspapers and filled the hours on cable and network news. Magazine journalists at The New Yorker ran with the claims, despite massive corroboration problems.

The claims were taken so seriously by the media and some U.S. senators it led to serious delays of the confirmation voting process. A hearing was held during and after which all the talking heads on cable asserted Blasey Ford was completely “credible.” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, even maneuvered to reopen an FBI investigation to dig into the claims. Then they disappeared. Overnight.

The argument for delaying the confirmation process indefinitely was that everyone needed time to investigate the allegations. The argument underlying the media coverage was that these allegations were “credible” and needed to be investigated and reported on given the importance of the lifetime position for which Kavanaugh was nominated. The allegations were hitting in the midst of the Me Too movement, which claims to address sexual assault by powerful men. It should be noted that for a claim to be declared “credible,” it doesn’t need to be verified or have any substantiating evidence but merely that journalists and pundits “believe” it or find it possible.

If it was important to investigate the claims because Kavanaugh was up for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, it remains just as important to investigate it now that he’s been confirmed. This would be true even if impeachment were not an option if the allegations were ever substantiated. That impeachment is an option makes the October silence even weirder. Why did media outlets go from hourly updates on this story to dropping it like it’s hot?

Recent coverage is limited and devoted to political considerations of the allegations, but not the merit of them. If Kavanaugh had credible sexual assault allegations against him, as the media claimed, they should be fully investigated even after his confirmation, since he continues to work with and around women, and has children at home. Right? Why would his confirmation change anything about the tenacity with which the media covered this story? Is it less scandalous to have a “credibly accused” rapist on the Supreme Court than to have a “credibly accused” nominee to the court?

Many Americans did not find any of the accusations against Kavanaugh believable, but nearly every media figure and Democratic politician and seemed to swallow one or more of the claims whole. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., even read Avenatti’s client Julie Swetnick into the record. Swetnick claimed without evidence that Kavanaugh was the secret ringleader of a serial gang rape cartel in high school. She claimed that, as an adult, she attended 10 gang rape parties that he organized as a high school student. As recently as a few days ago, abortion corporation Planned Parenthood and abortion lobbying group NARAL said they “believe” Swetnick.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, by contrast, just made a criminal referral of Swetnick and Avenatti to the Department of Justice for making false claims. After each outlandish claim was made, the media would dutifully report that an “additional” claim had been made. One journalist admitted she’d reported on a story the claimant was unable to substantiate precisely because additional claims would make the first more believable.

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