New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly appeared on “The View” Tuesday, the release date of their book about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, where they attempted to explain their reporting errors and why they are facing so much backlash.
When asked why they left out the crucial detail that an alleged victim of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh does not recall the alleged incident, Pogrebin and Kelly admitted there was an “oversight.” Host Meghan McCain called the controversy “ground zero for why so many people mistrust the media,” and she asked Pogrebin and Kelly, “Can you understand why so many people think this is a hatchet job?”
Pogrebin’s answer about what went wrong in the editing process differed from what she said the night before on an MSNBC appearance, in which the writers told Lawrence O’Donnell that the editor’s note was added in response to the public backlash. On “The View,” when asked if they read the final draft before it went to publication, Pogrebrin said, “We thought we had,” but “As soon as we realized this, we corrected it and they wrote an editor’s note.”
The excuses did not end there. Two times throughout the interview, Pogrebin said their reporting was being “seized” for political purposes, not because of its factual inaccuracy.
“It was used for political purposes at the time [last fall]. It’s being used again, for political purposes now,” Pogrebin said. “People have seized on details in our book. The reason we did this was to revisit these events with 10 months of reporting to give an in-depth portrait.”
Pogrebrin then went on to explain that after ten months of digging into Kavanaugh’s past, presumably looking high and low for more evidence to disqualify him, the reporters actually found the opposite.
“In the 36 years since, Brett Kavanaugh has been a better man. Whether he realized the error of his ways, and he consciously reformed himself, or he grew up and simply matured, he has been an exemplary judge,” Pogrebrin said. “Everyone we talked to couldn’t speak more highly of him on both sides of the aisle.”
But even within the reporter’s attempt to praise Kavanaugh, she included baseless smears. There has yet to be a credible witness or factual piece of evidence presented to corroborate any allegations against Kavanuagh as a high school or college student, so on what basis is Pogrebrin able to claim that Kavanaugh “realized the error of his ways”?
In fact, there is more substantial evidence to conclude that the opposite is true of Kavanaugh’s character as a teenager. Within hours of the first allegation that was made against Kavanaugh last fall, 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school testified to his good character in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee and spoke out on cable news shows in his defense.
Later in the show, Pogrebrin said as a reporter she “seeks the facts and puts them out there,” which is of course exactly the opposite of what happened with the concealed facts in her New York Times book excerpt.
Again, she complained that “people have seized on certain things and magnified them for their own purposes,” in response to the question of whether these allegations are an impeachable offense. “It’s fine to have a series of Democratic candidates calling for impeachment, but that was before the book came out,” she said.
Essentially, in a great twist of irony, the picture that Pogrebrin and Kelly begin to paint throughout the interview is that they are also victims of the political outrage mob. “It’s a rush to judgement and I feel like we are living out right here, right now at this table, a version of the kind of vortex and the problems that we are writing about,” Kelly said.
They argue that if only people would not “rush to judgement” “before the book [comes] out,” then they would have a better understanding of their work, or might not be calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Kelly compares sitting in “The View’s” hot seat under the scrutiny of their deceitfully inaccurate work to that of the unsubstantiated allegations made against Kavanaugh last fall that almost denied him a seat on the Supreme Court. Their confidence is admirable.
Madeline is a staff writer at the Federalist and the producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Follow her on Twitter.