Gone from Times Sept 24 article: “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.”
On Sunday night, September 23, 2018, The New Yorker published an article about accusations by Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The authors were Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer.
The New Yorker article noted, deep into the article, that Ramirez’s accusations were not corroborated by any witnesses with first hand knowledge, and that Ramirez herself had gaps in memory that were cleared up only after 6 days of thinking about it and consulting with lawyers.
The NY Times covered the story, and had language in its September 23 about Ford testifying that was extremely helpful to Kavanaugh’s defense. The language was added in an evening edit.
Specifically that the Times could not corroborate the story AND that Ramirez had been calling people telling them she was uncertain Kavanaugh was involved in the alleged incident (emphasis added):
“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.”
This language was repeated in a September 24 article at the Times, but has been removed (see below). Now the NY Times has rewritten the September 24 story to take out that language, and to explicitly argue that the information does not rebut Ramirez’s claim.
Michael Smerconish tweeted about it:
“Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the episode and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.” Why is this sentence now gone from this @nytimes story? https://t.co/ufSehglkTm
— Michael Smerconish (@smerconish) September 25, 2018
I confirmed it on NewsDiff, a website that tracks changes in major newspaper articles.
The full NewDiff page for the September 24 article is here.
The edit appears to have been made last night, after a back and forth between the Times and the New Yorker reporters.
Some trying to distract from Ramirez charge by trying to pit @NewYorker v. @NYTimes but here's what NYTEditor Dean Baquet said, “I gather some people thought we were trying to knock down her (Ramirez') account, but that’s not what we were doing.I’m not questioning their story."
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) September 24, 2018
The article was rewritten including a headline change:
Here is a screenshot of the removed language in question:
The New York Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate Ms. Ramirez’s story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the episode and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.
Here is a screenshot of what replace it — basically NY Times making a political argument in what is supposed to be a news article.
For Republicans, the hearing and the women’s accusations are fraught with political dangers. In the #MeToo era, Republicans cannot afford to attack Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers. So they have instead trained their fire on Senate Democrats, accusing them of waging a campaign of character assassination, and on the news media — in particular The New Yorker. Many cited a Times article that said The Times had conducted numerous interviews but was unable to corroborate Ms. Ramirez’s story.
But The Times did not rebut her account and, unlike The New Yorker, was not able to obtain an interview with Ms. Ramirez.
The language in question does remain in a original article at The Times:
A tweet to the original author, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, has not been responded to:
.@SherylNYT Why did you change the language in the Kavanaugh article, removing the sentence that Ramirez told others she was uncertain, and making an argument (in a news article) that NYT reporting "did not rebut her account"? https://t.co/3meDuyXOs3 pic.twitter.com/cvhfd7EbQx
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) September 25, 2018
Jane Meyer is quite happy with the change:
Thank you @NYTimes for today’s clarification: “The Times did not rebut her(Ramirez’s) account, and unlike the New Yorker, was unable to obtain an interview with Ms. Ramirez.”
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) September 25, 2018
(added) Sean Davis points out why the change is significant:
The original September 23 paragraph was in an article about Ford testifying. The September 24 article, from which the paragraph was removed, is specifically about the accusations against Kavanaugh. And the substituted language injected an editorial opinion — that the Times reporting “did not rebut” Ramirez’s story — in place of the fact reporting harmful to that story.
[Note: This post has been updated to clarify the difference between the September 23 and September 24 NYT articles]DONATE
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