USA Today deleted a post on Twitter that promoted an article it published that said that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should “stay off basketball courts when kids are around” and not coach girls’ basketball teams because a sexual assault imputed to him by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh has vehemently and repeatedly denied the accusations. USA Today, after receiving considerable comment on social media, also retracted the portion of the article containing that statement. On Saturday evening, the newspaper noted on Twitter, “A previous tweet contained a statement that has since been edited out of a sports column. That tweet has been deleted.”
“The U.S. Senate may yet confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but he should stay off basketball courts for now when kids are around,” wrote sports columnist Erik Brady.
A previous tweet contained a statement that has since been edited out of a sports column. That tweet has been deleted. The updated opinion column and editor’s clarification are here: https://t.co/zhFOWMIjCb— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 29, 2018
A short note from the editor now appears at the beginning of the sports column “clarifying” the the article, stating that it was “the writer’s opinion”:
“Editor’s note: Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee he loves coaching his daughters’ girls basketball teams, but said in testimony Thursday “thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.” The intent of this commentary was to address that question. The column was re-edited to more closely reflect that intent and labeled to reflect it as the writer’s opinion.”
Thousands of tweets denounced USA Today for what some regarded as “disgraceful” journalism. One Twitter user wrote: “USATODAY deleted the original tweet about this shameful piece because it got ratio'd into oblivion, not because they are trying to correct their disgusting take. They obviously make no apologies for their gross implication against Judge Kavanaugh and are doubling down.”
Kavanaugh called the Democrat’s belated tactic of leaking Ford’s private letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in which she accused him of sexual assault, and then a hearing in which they impugned his character, as an example of “search and destroy” that replaced the Senate’s role of “advise and consent” in the confirmation of Supreme Court justices. Kavanaugh said that his family has been subjected to vile threats as a result of the accusations and that Democrats have ruined his reputation.
While she is not a member of the Senate, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) -- a progressive firebrand and severe critic of President Trump -- tweeted over the weekend what may be a change in Democrats’ tactics in tacking down Kavanaugh. She tweeted: “Kavanaugh, so many have come forward describing your abuse of alcohol. I think it is important that the American people know if you have ever sought treatment for alcohol abuse.”
Kavanaugh, so many have come forward describing your abuse of alcohol. I think it is important that the American people know if you have ever sought treatment for alcohol abuse.— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) September 30, 2018