NYT Deputy Editor Admits Kavanaugh Tweet ‘Fell Well Below Our Standards’

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 08: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks at his ceremonial swearing in in the East Room of the White House October 08, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was confirmed i... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 08: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks at his ceremonial swearing in in the East Room of the White House October 08, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was confirmed in the Senate 50-48 after a contentious process that included several women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS

New York Times deputy editorial page editor James Dao said in an interview with his paper that a tweet accompanying the newest allegation against Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh — characterizing sexual assault as “harmless fun” — “fell well below our standards.”

“The department is reviewing with everyone involved — including me — what went wrong to determine how we can avoid similar mistakes,” he added.

According to Politico, reporter Robin Pogrebin, one of the authors of the excerpted book that first surfaced the allegation, wrote the tweet, which should have been vetted.

Dao conducted the interview to answer questions about the allegation that was published this weekend in the opinion section of the paper.

The combination of the tweet, a late-added editor’s note clarifying that the alleged victim does not recall the incident and its publication in the opinion, not news, section of the paper has whipped up criticism on both sides of the aisle.

The allegation, brought by a witness, depicts Kavanaugh thrusting his penis into the hand of a female Yale classmate at a party.

Despite the controversy around the Times’ handling of the accusation, the episode tracks closely enough to another brought by Yale alumna Deborah Ramirez as to incite renewed calls for scrutiny and even impeachment. Kavanaugh has also, most famously, been accused of attempted sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: