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NYT Reporter Blames Editors for Removing Exculpatory Information from Kavanaugh Story

The New York Times office in New York City, November 22, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

New York Times reporter on Monday blamed editors at the paper for removing critical information from an article on an alleged incident of sexual misconduct involving Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The article was widely pilloried for relating details of the incident, in which Kavanaugh allegedly opened his pants at a party in college while a friend pushed his penis into the hand of a woman also present, without mentioning that the woman has no recollection of the incident and had declined to be interviewed.

An editor’s note containing the exculpatory information was added to the article in a later version.

Reporter Robin Pogrebin addressed the issue in an MSNBC interview along with her coauthor Kate Kelly, saying that the information was originally in the article, but that it was removed during the editing process.

“I think what happened was that…we had [the woman’s] name, and the Times doesn’t usually include the name of the victim, and so in this case I think the editors felt like maybe it was better to remove it, and in removing her name, they removed the other reference to the fact that she didn’t remember [the incident],” said Pogrebin. She continued that she thought the removal was done “in the haste of the editing process.”

It was also reported in Politico that Pogrebin wrote a controversial tweet for the Times advertising the article, which the paper subsequently deleted. The tweet read, “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun. But when Brett Kavanaugh did it to her, Deborah Ramirez says, it confirmed that she didn’t belong at Yale in the first place.” The tweet referred to a separate incident from the one disclosed in the Sunday Times article.

Pogrebin later asserted in an interview with the “Mornings on the Mall” radio show that the tweet should have been edited: “The social media team decides whether to send them out, they usually edit them or change them.”

She also said of the alleged, unnamed victim, “She was incredibly drunk at that party… memory here is really a questionable issue.”

 

 

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