Friday, October 05, 2018
When a third woman came forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during 1980s house parties in Maryland, some in the mainstream media kept their distance. NBC News made a different decision.
MSNBC aired a 10-minute story Monday about reporter Kate Snow's interview with Julie Swetnick, with an excerpt on NBC's "Nightly News." During the interview, Snow highlighted inconsistencies between what Swetnick wrote in a sworn affidavit and what she told her. Attempts to reach people who could corroborate her story were unsuccessful. Swetnick changed significant aspects of her story and walked back others. Dispatches from other news organizations have questioned Swetnick's credibility, including an Associated Press story that detailed her extensive history of legal disputes.
Those are normal signals for news organizations to apply the brakes: NBC, however, went all in, even with overwhelming inconsistencies in Ms. Swetnick's story.
Hours after it aired, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called NBC News a "co-conspirator" in Kavanaugh's destruction. He said NBC News would never have done the story if the nominee were a Democrat.
"Their journalistic integrity has been destroyed over this case," Graham said.
The area of sexual misconduct is fraught at NBC News, where the network was criticized for letting Ronan Farrow take his investigation into Harvey Weinstein's actions to The New Yorker magazine, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. NBC also fired "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer because of sexual misconduct.
When the Swetnick allegations initially emerged, editors at The Associated Press decided against reporting about her specific accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior allegedly engaged in by Kavanaugh and others because of an absence of corroborating information, said John Daniszewski, the AP's standards editor.
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