NYT Reporters: It Wasn’t Us

Authors of new Kavanaugh book blame editors and social media team for mistakes

New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly defended themselves in a series of interviews during their promotion for their new book about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Over the weekend, the Times published an excerpt from their new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, which included a previously unreported sexual misconduct accusation against Kavanaugh. The allegation is from a Yale classmate who alleges he witnessed Kavanaugh expose himself at a dorm party and his penis was shoved into a woman's hands. The Times excerpt omitted a key detail: The alleged victim had no memory of the incident.

After backlash, the Times added an editor's note that said:

An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book's account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.

Pogrebin and Kelly claim the draft they sent to their editors included this detail but it was removed during the editing process.

"I think what happened actually was that we had her name, and the Times doesn't usually include the name of the victim, and so I think, in this case, the editors felt like it was probably better to remove it," Pogrebin said. "And in removing her name, they removed the other reference to the fact that she didn't remember."

Pogrebin also appeared to blame the New York Times social media team for sending out an offensive tweet in promoting the excerpt.

The now-deleted tweet said, "Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun. But when Brett Kavanaugh did it to her, Deborah Ramirez says, it confirmed that she didn't belong in Yale in the first place."

Pogrebin admitted to writing the tweet but insisted she thought the tweet would be changed or not used by the Times‘s social media team.

"It was a misworded tweet," Pogrebin responded. "But what happens at the Times is the reporters are asked to draft tweets, we're also asked to draft suggested headlines. They don't always get used, they don't always get sent out, they often don't."