As allegations multiply and hearings are scheduled around federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, many in the media have already reached a verdict for the Supreme Court nominee: guilty.
Thursday marks the day Professor Christine Blasey Ford will testify after accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her as a teenager. The news comes as other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick (with the latter represented by attorney Michael Avenatti), also make accusations. Their word, many in the media argue, should automatically trump Kavanaugh’s.
Yes, women and their accusations should be heard and considered – and #MeToo has rightfully emboldened many women to speak up. But media figures, from The View to HuffPost, are going one step farther in giving sentences before there’s due process. They’ve completely forgotten the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”
On Sept. 19, The View co-host Joy Behar became a part of the trend when she slammed “old,” “white men” in Congress for “not protecting women.”
“They’re protecting a man who is probably guilty,” Behar said of congressmen and Kavanaugh. “If you’re not, Judge Kavanaugh, take the lie detector test.”
She wasn’t alone. On Twitter, ABC News Chief Political Analyst Matthew Dowd decided Sept. 17, “Enough with the ‘he said, she said’ storyline. If this is he said, she said, then let’s believe the she in these scenarios.” After another Twitter user challenged him for evidence, Dowd retorted Sept. 23 that, “Ford is the evidence.”
HuffPost editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile added Sept. 24 that:
“If Kavanaugh weren’t guilty he’d say: Yeah, I partied. A mischievous crowd. We drank, we did things we shouldn’t , but this — THIS — is way beyond anything I could even imagine. It’s horrible. It’s despicable.
Instead, he went choir boy, defying on-record sources about him.”
Except, not quite. During his interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Sept. 24, “Yes, there were parties, and the drinking age was 18. And yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and, people generally in high school,” he said. “But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about sexual assault.”
Which, he says, he never did. But not according to the media. TV networks, like CNN and MSNBC allowed Kavanaugh comparisons into the conversation about convicted sexual predator Bill Cosby. Cosby, by the way, was accused by more than 60 women – and found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hollywood had a similar response to media figures online.
Before Kavanaugh was even named as President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, the media and Hollywood panicked over the next judge. But the media’s treatment of him took a turn for the (much) worse here. A new Media Research Center study shows that the broadcast networks spent nearly six hours on the allegations against Kavanaugh during news shows, with a “measly eight percent” given to his “denials and the lack of corroboration for his accusers’ accounts.”