WaPo Insists Putting Kavanaugh Coaching Story Under ‘Public Safety’ Tag Was An Accident. It’s Still There.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published an article titled “Brett Kavanaugh worried that scandal would end his coaching days. Now the Supreme Court justice is back on the basketball court.”

The post itself, as The Daily Wire reported, was pretty bland, but the article was placed under the Post’s “Public Safety” tag, giving the impression that Kavanaugh coaching his daughter’s basketball team was somehow a threat to the public.

On Wednesday, The Hill’s Joe Concha reached out to the Post to ask about the tag, and wrote about the exchange:

A spokesperson for The Washington Post said stories written by the author of the piece on Kavanaugh automatically default to the public safety category. The spokesperson said the story on Kavanaugh should not have been and that it would no longer appear under that category.

Concha’s piece was posted at 10:07 a.m. EST and was updated at 12:33 p.m. EST. As of this writing, now more than two hours after Concha’s update and five hours after his original post, the Kavanaugh article still appears under the “Public Safety” tag.

The author of the Post article, Ann E. Marimow, covers “legal affairs,” according to her bio. It does appear that her articles all appear under the “Public Safety” tag, though none seem to warrant it, as recent posts are about gerrymandering and lawsuits, rather than actual danger.

This is not a criticism of Marimow. Her article didn’t insinuate anything about Kavanaugh.

The Post’s carelessness in posting the article under this tag calls to mind another media outlet’s suggestion that Kavanaugh was not only guilty of the things he was accused of — without evidence or corroboration — but also that accusations he sexually assaulted teenage women when he was a teenager somehow makes him a pedophile today. In September, as the outlandish accusations against Kavanaugh came rolling in, a USA Today columnist made that connection before his article was edited to remove such an insinuation. USA Today also deleted a tweet making the suggestion and added an editor’s note to the post.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee he loves coaching his daughters' girls basketball teams, but said in testimony Thursday “thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.” The intent of this commentary was to address that question. The column was re-edited to more closely reflect that intent and labeled to reflect it as the writer’s opinion.

We’ll keep checking to see if The Washington Post follows through on its claim that the Kavanaugh article would be removed from the “Public Safety” category.


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