The Corner

Law & the Courts

The ‘Kavanaugh Denied Excessive Drinking’ Canard

I think Kavanaugh could have have had a more buttoned-up answer on his adolescent drinking, and he clearly tried to minimize it and change the subject when it came up (understandably, given the inquisitorial atmosphere). But he didn’t deny drinking or even drinking to excess. A New York Times story from over the weekend perfectly illustrated how the media and the Left are distorting what he said. Here is the passage in the Times story:

During Thursday’s hearing, he spoke of enjoying beer but said he did not drink to excess. “I drank beer with my friends,” he said. “Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out,” he said.

Here you have an assertion in a news report that is directly contradicted by the quote following. The Times says he denied drinking to excess, then quotes him saying, “Sometimes I had too many beers.” The suggestion that he was deceptive is just flat-out wrong and blatantly so, but such is the magnetic pull of the idea that he lied that the Times bows to it even when directly contradicted a few sentences later.

At least the sentence was eventually changed. Here’s the edit per NewsDiffs:

During Thursday’s hearing, he spoke of enjoying beer  but said he did not drink to excess. “I drank beer with my friends,” he said. “Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out,” he said.

The Times report is just one example. The charge that he lied about drinking is everywhere, even though the black-and-white of the transcript shows otherwise.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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