The objectivity of media reporting on the roiling controversy over sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been brought into question. Journalistic decisions by the New York Times are at issue.

On Tuesday, the New York Times admitted that it should not have assigned Emily Bazelton to report on a story that Kavanaugh, as a student at Yale University, was allegedly involved in a bar fight in 1985. The paper noted that Bazelon had criticized Kavanaugh on social media when President Trump nominated him in July to the Supreme Court. The White House questioned the New York Times’ for assigning Bazelon. 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted about Bazelon’s comment and wrote that it was part and parcel of Democrats’ tactics to frustrate the confirmation of Kavanaugh. “What motivated New York Times reporter to write this ridiculous story?” Sanders wrote. “Throwing ice 33 years ago, or her opinion of Judge Kavanaugh in July?” Raj Shah, White House deputy press secretary, tweeted that Bazelon was “trashing Judge Kavanaugh on purely ideological grounds, previewing her bias. This is supposed to be a straight news reporter.”

In addition to writing for the New York Times, Bazelon is an instructor at the Yale Law School, from which Kavanaugh graduated. Bazelon also writes  opinion pieces for the newspaper. She joined Ben Protess on the byline of the article. A spokesperson for the newspaper said that Baselon is not a news reporter, but did help her colleagues to gather documents in Connecticut, where Yale is located. The paper admitted that its editors should have relied on a newsroom reporter for the story. However, the paper is standing by the story, which it says is “straightforward and fact-based.” 

Bazelon tweeted in July that, as a graduate and lecturer at Yale Law School, “I strongly disassociate myself from tonight’s praise of Brett Kavanaugh. With respect, he’s a 5th vote for a hard-right turn on voting rights and so much more that will harm the democratic process & prevent a more equal society.”
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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