Washington Post Displays Glaring Double Standard When Reporting Sexual Assault Claims

Washington Post Displays Glaring Double Standard When Reporting Sexual Assault Claims

The Post's standards seem to change based on whether or not the alleged perpetrator is a Democrat or a Republican. This is bad for us all.

It is now apparent that The Washington Post’s standard for reporting on cases of sexual assault is dependent upon whether the accused is a political target of their choosing.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement Monday morning denying accusations of sexual assault from 2004. Fairfax said the allegations were investigated by The Washington Post last year, who found, “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation.” Now, The Washington Post is pushing back with a story of their own, revealing more details of the alleged incident and on their decision not to report the story when the victim first came forward.

“The Washington Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman’s account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story,” the newspaper reported on Monday.

This is quite the opposite of the standard the Post applied when reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year. The Washington Post reported Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh despite no evidence and no corroboration of Ford’s account. The Post claims the fact that Fairfax’s accuser, “had not told anyone what happened,” is a reason for not running the story — something that Ford did not do either until Kavanaugh was listed as a potential Supreme Court pick.

Fairfax’s accuser provided specific details to the Post, including a date, time, location, and details of a “sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken.” In the Post’s reporting on Kavanaugh, Ford was unable to recall or provide any similar details of her encounter with Kavanaugh, but that did not prevent them from publishing her accusations. Additionally, details of Ford’s testimony changed several times throughout the reports and hearings.

After interviewing contacts of both Fairfax’s and his accuser, The Washington Post was unable to corroborate either accounts of their sexual encounter. Through his lawyers, Fairfax admitted the encounter did happen but was consensual. In contrast, multiple friends and supposed witnesses of the Kavanaugh-Ford story, were indeed able to corroborate Kavanaugh’s version of events, but not not Ford’s.

As for Fairfax, he is fervently relying on The Washington Post’s decision not to run the story as evidence that the allegations are false. “The fact that they’d run a story on an uncorroborated allegation from 15 years ago tells you exactly what the smear is all about,” he said this morning. “This person, a year ago, came to the Washington Post with this very same allegation. They investigated it for several months, and they made the decision not to publish the story because it was not credible.”

Throughout the lengthy Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, and in the time since, media figures and celebrities alike have embraced the mantra, “Believe All Women.” The Post’s handling of the Fairfax allegations now reveals that it is in fact not about believing all women, just the women whose stories are politically expedient.

Madeline is a staff editor at the Federalist and the producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Follow her on Twitter.
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