Game-Changer: Journalist Uncovers Devastating Contradiction to WaPo's Ford Story


The controversy surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is exploding … but at the same time, details from his accuser are imploding.

At the center of the firestorm is a claim by University of Palo Alto Professor Christine Blasey Ford that the widely respected federal judge groped her at a drunken party nearly 40 years ago. Her memory of the alleged incident is hazy at best, and it looks increasingly unlikely that the incident happened as she said.

Still, The Washington Post knows a scoop when it sees one. Eager to jump on the story, the newspaper published an article on Sept. 16 that seemed to side with Ford, or at least treat her scandalous claim as credible.

On Saturday, however, well-known journalist Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal tore into The Post’s story. In a series of thought-provoking tweets on her Twitter account, Strassel pointed out a big problem with the anti-Kavanaugh story … and at the very least, it leaves serious questions for the newspaper to answer.

Strassel explained that The Washington Post story that torpedoed Kavanaugh’s confirmation has a major inaccuracy at its core, and that the newspaper’s explanation for this error makes no sense.

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In notes from the family therapist to whom Ford described the alleged assault in 2012, there are four boys mentioned as being involved in the incident, which, if true, happened when the Supreme Court nominee was just 17.

However, Ford claimed that those notes were actually wrong — which is exactly what The Post told its readers:

“The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room,” The Post reported.

However, Strassel reported that she’d obtained an email written by Emma Brown, the reporter who wrote the story, to alleged witness Mark Judge. The email was written the day The Post story appeared.

The email describes a different makeup of the party — it was not four boys, as The Post reported. It was three boys and two girls.

So, according to Strassel, what Brown wrote in an email to Judge was different from the account presented in The Post’s story. The Post reporter was writing one thing in an email, and something different in the newspaper for the public.

“Wait, say what?” declared Strassel on Twitter. “WaPo reports publicly that Ford says it was ‘four boys,’ even after WaPo reporter tells Judge that Ford had told her it was three boys and a girl.”

And that, Strassel wrote on Twitter, is a “huge problem” for Ford’s credbility, as well as the credibility of The Washington Post.

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“This was just a week ago, and we have Ford giving two different accounts of who was present,” Strassel continued. “Four boys. No, three boys, one girl. Either way, therapist notes from 2012 definitively say four boys, which Ford didn’t dispute. But now… a girl!”

She went on to point out that The Washington Post appeared to publish details of Ford’s claim that it knew were inaccurate.

“Reporter has for a week had the names of those Ford listed as present. One is a woman. Yet it writes a story saying FOUR BOYS. Why?” asked Strassel. “Maybe a mistake. But if so, why did WaPo never correct the narrative?”

Leland Keyser — the one woman who supposedly witnessed the decades-old alleged incident but was never identified, or even mentioned, in The Washington Post account — was also apparently never contacted by The Post until it quoted her for a story follow-up story a full week after its original story appeared. (While Keyser told The Post she believes Ford, it’s much more important to note that she also told the newspaper she doesn’t remember the party.)

“She has lived in the DC area a long time. The paper had no trouble tracking down the other two men (btw, who also denied such party). And why not publish Keyser’s name? It published the other men’s names,” Strassel pointed out.

Strassel quoted the update from The Post that contained another damning fact: “Before her name became public, Ford told The Post she did not think Keyser would remember the party because nothing remarkable had happened there, as far as Keyser was aware.”

And that is huge.

“That is WaPo admitting that it had the name, and had Ford’s response to what would clearly be a Keyser denial, but NEVER PUT IT OUT THERE,” posted Strassel. “Again, why? A lot of people have a lot questions to answer.”

Here’s the bottom line: Even if media outlets like The Washington Post weren’t tripping over themselves to bring down Kavanaugh without doing due diligence, the accuser’s claims contradict themselves, and the coverage of the story is not making that clear.

Do you think the Washington Post was deliberately dishonest in its coverage of this story?

The Washington Post story left out a female character its reporter was clearly aware of, according to the email to Judge.

That woman, now identified as Leland Keyser, has told The Post she doesn’t remember the party in question. All three boys who are now men have denied Ford’s story outright. If The Post had included Keyser in its initial story, it would have been clear just how shaky it really was.

The claim by Ford has been full of holes from the start, and now it looks like important pieces of the story are changing.

That doesn’t sound like it has the ring of truth. It sounds like someone mis-remembering or blatantly exaggerating a memory in order to derail a nominee they dislike, all at the very last minute.

And it looks like The Washington Post is doing its best to help.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.