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From ‘The View’ To CBS, Media Give Christine Blasey Ford Even More Time To Smear Brett Kavanaugh

The press is once again treating Christine Blasey Ford with little journalistic skepticism as they promote her splashy new memoir.

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“The media coverage of this has been so one-sided, it’s been so biased. There’s been this presumption from the beginning that every allegation made against the judge was true.” So said Joe Scarborough on a fall morning in 2018, referring to the flood of bizarre sexual abuse claims made against Brett Kavanaugh.

At the time, Scarborough relayed an observation from social events he attended over the weekend. “Quite a few people that we talked to, who I think a lot of them were registered Democrats, raised questions about Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford’s story,” he said. Scarborough opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court but at least conceded the obvious: The media favored Blasey Ford, despite some reasonable concerns about her credibility.

Coverage of Blasey Ford’s allegations was so clearly slanted that even Jeff Greenfield criticized CNN on “Reliable Sources.”

“There is an overwhelming perception as a viewer … that CNN in effect or most of its people have taken a stand about this president and about this nomination,” he told Brian Stelter.

Later on the same edition of Stelter’s show, Trump opponent David Gergen expressed concerns about the coverage too. “We have to be very, very careful in how we report and not to go overboard, not to get hysterical and to show both sides,” he warned. (The Onion mocked the media’s smear campaign with the headline: “Kavanaugh Nomination Falters After Washington Post Publishes Shocking Editorial Claiming He Forgot Daughter’s Piano Recital.”)

Fast forward six years, and the press is once again treating Christine Blasey Ford with little journalistic skepticism, allowing her to insist Kavanaugh is guilty of teenage sexual assault while promoting her splashy new memoir. I’d compare Blasey Ford’s experience to a walk in the park, but on “CBS Sunday Morning,” that’s quite literally what happened.

“She knows just what it takes to summon up courage and hurl yourself off a cliff,” Tracy Smith gushed this week, describing Blasey Ford’s experience as “deeply traumatizing” over footage of the pair walking along the sunny coast of Santa Cruz.

To the extent Smith pushed Blasey Ford on her allegations, it was by saying that Kavanaugh’s “supporters” wonder why “no one can recall that night in the way you recall it.” In a follow-up, Smith asked if that “lends weight to his side of the story” and “bolsters his side of the story.” Blasey Ford said no. The exchange took up about one minute of an eight-minute package.

An Atlantic writer generously remembered, “Ford’s own story, in many ways, was an exception to #MeToo’s rule. She was listened to. She was, to a lesser extent, heard,” laughably claiming, “She came forward as a scientist.”

Over at “The View,” hosts called the book “fantastic” and said, “Thank you for what you did, speaking truth to power.”

“I know that it will help people,” Sunny Hostin offered Blasey Ford, assuring, “We’re not going to rehash the details of the alleged attack.”

That assurance proved correct. “Even today some people remain skeptical of your story,” marveled Sara Haines.

Ever the scientist, Blasey Ford said she just wanted to “share the data” back in 2018.

Media’s partisan treatment of sexual abuse accusers is not new or surprising, as Clarence Thomas and Juanita Broaddrick can explain. Since Blasey Ford’s dubious allegation against Kavanaugh first surfaced, though, serious reporting has cast her claims in even worse light.

The Federalist’s Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway, along with Carrie Severino, published a bestselling book that broke down errors and biases in the media coverage of Blasey Ford. As Hemingway reminded readers back in 2020:

While Blasey Ford’s claim was the least insane one put forth by activists and other Kavanaugh opponents, there were other problems with it beyond her failure to produce evidence she had ever met him. Her four named witnesses to the event all denied knowledge of it, some vociferously so.

Even her lifelong friend Leland Keyser, who worked very hard to come up with anything, came to doubt her friend’s story entirely. And when she refused to say otherwise, mutual acquaintances tried to get her to change her story. Some U.S. senators thought the witness tampering so egregious that it should be prosecuted.

With no evidence beyond her own hazy memory, Blasey Ford accused a father of sexual assault in the highest-profile venue imaginable. Amid Kavanaugh’s denials, she then accused him of lying about sexual assault. Democrats used Blasey Ford in the service of a vicious political smear campaign. The accomplice media took up their cause and joined in, dispensing with traditional standards of journalistic rigor to unfairly malign Kavanaugh’s character. They then ignored an assassination attempt on Kavanaugh, to the point where even Bill Maher took notice.

The media’s failure was so egregious that some of the justice’s opponents reluctantly acknowledged that at the time. Ronna McDaniel even told The Federalist a year after Kavanaugh’s confirmation that “Kavanaugh brought people back to the Republican Party.”

“I know it did. It’s the first time in my time as chair where I had people call and say ‘I’m going to join you today. And I haven’t been taking your calls for two years and I’m writing you a check right now,'” she remembered, adding, “They felt like it was such an overreach, that it was character assassination, that this was a good, honest, decent guy who was being just railroaded.”

Claire McCaskill partially blamed the loss of her Senate seat on the “very real perception that this was an 11th-hour attempt to gut a guy.”

Journalists have had many opportunities to course-correct since missing Donald Trump’s rise but have basically continued sprinting in the opposite direction. Just last year, trust in media dipped back to a record low. You’ll hardly get a better illustration of why than Blasey Ford’s book tour.


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