NYT Reporter Shares Vox Article Arguing Kavanaugh Story Wasn’t ‘Corrected’

Pogrebin previously admitted the piece was corrected

• September 18, 2019 1:05 pm

The New York Times reporter who coauthored a widely criticized article on a sexual misconduct accusation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh shared an article Wednesday accusing Fox News of twisting the story.

Reporter Robin Pogrebin tweeted a link to a story by left-wing Vox writer Aaron Rupar headlined, "How Fox News twisted the Kavanaugh scandal into a way to attack the New York Times." While the Vox article argued a piece she cowrote didn't need correcting, Pogrebin admitted in an interview this week it had to be "corrected."

Pogrebin and Kate Kelly cowrote an essay claiming Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh, told lawmakers he saw Kavanaugh exposing himself at a college dorm party and his friends shoving Kavanaugh's penis into a woman's hands. The essay omitted a crucial detail: The woman in question told friends she didn't remember it occurring. After online criticism, the Times corrected the story to note the woman didn't recall the alleged incident and declined to be interviewed. Stier didn't speak to Times reporters about the story either.

Rupar argued Fox News was wrong to call the change a "correction," publishing a montage of Fox personalities discussing the controversy. He based his article around this idea, saying there was nothing factually wrong with the original piece:

But there's just one problem — the Times did not, in fact, "correct" anything.

To make a "correction" to a story indicates something was factually wrong. The newspaper did not acknowledge anything of this sort. Instead, the Times story — based on a forthcoming book Pogrebin and Kelly are writing about the Kavanaugh allegations — was updated to say that friends of the student who may have been assaulted say she does not remember the alleged incident.

Pogrebin referred to the change as a correction in an interview Tuesday with The View. The reporters said the omission had been the result of an editorial oversight, noting the detail about the woman not remembering is in their new book.

"Did you read it right before it went to print?" cohost Sunny Hostin asked.

"We thought we had, yeah," Pogrebin said. "As soon as we realized this, we corrected it and they wrote an editor's note and they restored it."

"Didn't you realize it because Mollie Hemingway made the correction?" cohost Meghan McCain asked. "I just want to know blankly. Can you understand why so many people think this might be a hatchet job?"

"Meghan, that's a good point, because the reason we did this book in the first place was this was such an incredibly polarizing event in our country's history," Pogrebin said. "Everyone saw in it what they wanted to see. It was used for political purposes at the time. It's being used again for political purposes now."

Rupar's Vox piece says the change was a "revision," which is a synonym for "correction." New York magazine and the Hill both referred to the change as a correction as well.

Pogrebin and Kelly told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell they included the detail in their initial excerpt but it was removed during the editing process. Pogrebin said it was a mistake made in "haste."

The Federalist reported Pogrebin and Kelly omitted the detail about the woman not remembering the alleged incident in a Monday interview with NPR.

"In fact, the omission was so significant that [NPR host Terry] Gross recorded an update and inserted it into the show immediately thereafter, noting the omission and how it also had to be corrected at the New York Times," Mollie Hemingway reported.

Rupar complained the focus on the omission from media outlets obscured new evidence in the book about a previously made allegation by Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez. Ramirez, after needing nearly a week of "assessing her memories," told the New Yorker last year that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken party at Yale.

She had no corroborating witnesses to back her account, and she acknowledged her own memory of the incident was hazy. The new book said "seven people" now back up Ramirez's allegation, but the Washington Examiner reported only one of those people even heard Kavanaugh was involved, and that person heard it third-hand. One of the other six was Ramirez's mother.