NBC News rushed to report on Wednesday that there was another complaint against Judge Brett Kavanaugh accusing him of assault.
A letter sent to Sen. Cory Gardner claimed that Kavanaugh had drunkenly shoved a woman in 1998. The source for this allegation was anonymous and gave absolutely zero details.
Here’s the letter to Cory Gardner that anonymously accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1998. Senate Judiciary Committe spokesperson said they have “no reason to assign the letter credibility.” pic.twitter.com/EZGfOuSk68
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 27, 2018
Nonetheless, NBC ran a big article on the so-called fourth allegation against Kavanaugh. NBC explained in the article, “The writer of the letter provided no names but said the alleged victim was still traumatized and had decided to remain anonymous herself.”
What exactly is the point of sending an allegation of assault without giving any possible details to investigate the claim? Well, it sure gave NBC and numerous other establishment news sites a good headline that could cite a “new” or “fourth” accusation.
In yet another time waster for Kavanaugh, he was asked about the accusation in an interview by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. He emphatically denied the allegation, as he has with every sexual misconduct allegation thrown at him.
“We’re dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend. It’s ridiculous. Total Twilight Zone. And no, I’ve never done anything like that,” he responded, according to the transcript by committee.
When the staffer asked him if he recalled ever being involved with a woman like the one described in the letter, he asked for a description of the woman. To this, the staffer responded, “No, it’s — all we have is what I read.”
“Well, then I don’t know what I’m responding to then,” Kavanaugh said.
Yet despite the lack of enough details to respond to, NBC reported that maybe Kavanaugh wasn’t questioned enough about it.
“A Democratic source said the minority wasn’t satisfied by the Republicans’ questions about the incident during the call, calling them cursory, and believed it should be investigated more deeply,” the NBC article read.
No whisper of evidence is needed now for anonymous accusations to be taken seriously. There doesn’t have to be any normal details one would put in the recounting of a story — names, dates, nothing.
The bar seems even lower for anonymous allegations against Kavanaugh than the anonymous gossip printed in celebrity news rags.
A spokesperson for Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley, said in a statement, according to the Daily Wire, “We have no reason to assign the letter credibility. And even if we did, we’d have no way to investigate the allegation as it was made anonymously and cannot be corroborated. The committee regularly receives anonymous letters, some of which are viewed with credibility, but many of which are not.”
Despite NBC appearing to take the claim seriously, most people did not. The allegation was mocked on Twitter, and people pointed out the insanity of it.
With good reason. This is the letter that spurred that NBC report. https://t.co/VpnEtD8wlv
— Philip Bump (@pbump) September 27, 2018
This would actually be MORE reliable if it was sent via fax. https://t.co/yTLjk6CQgw
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) September 27, 2018
Despite the letter’s lack of credibility, NBC still chose to report it as if it were something to be taken seriously. Either they are too sloppy to have any standards for trustworthiness, or they dishonestly wanted to create the appearance of more consequential assault claims.
Hopefully, the rightful backlash against the reporting will cause NBC to think more carefully about the weight of their words in the future.
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