The Washington Post said “nuh uh.” NBC News took a look and said, “Thanks but no thanks.” The New York Times even worked the story for a week before giving up.
Long before The New Yorker published the story on Sunday in which a former Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, claimed classmate Brett Kavanaugh sexually accosted her at a drunken party 35 years ago, news organizations had heard of — and looked into — the rumors.
On Sunday, in a story headlined “Christine Blasey Ford Reaches Deal to Testify at Kavanaugh Hearing” — about another accuser who claims Kavanaugh held her down at a drunken high school party — The New York Times buried this paragraph about Ramirez:
“The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”
So the Times passed, as did the others, according to reports.
Journalist Yashar Ali also said on Twitter:
“The Ramirez accusation has been floating around several news outlets in the past week, including NBC, NYer, New York Times, & the Washington Post per five sources. Some reporters felt uneasy with it, but it apparently passed the rigorous fact-checking standards of the NYer.”
But he later wrote:
“One point of clarification, I understand, per two sources, that Ramirez declined to speak to the New York Times and the Washington Post, about her allegations. So while the accusations were floating around – she only shared her story directly with the New Yorker.”
He deleted both tweets and posted this:
But that didn’t stop all the news orgs from running the Ford story, based solely on what Sen. Diane Feinstein, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Ford had told her in a letter.
On Monday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos sounded skeptical when he interviewed one of the authors of The New Yorker story, Ronan Farrow.
And CBS’s Norah O’Donnell grilled Jane Mayer, the co-author of the Ramirez piece, over the lack of eyewitnesses.