Plus, the Post and the Times get it wrong: All praise to the Washington Post's Joe Heim, who authored an outstanding report in Thursday's print editions.
In our view, it should have been an outstanding front-page report. Instead, it got pushed inside, to page A10, where it was an outstanding report about an appalling state of affairs.
Heim reported on the squalid culture which obtained at DC-area private schools in the 1980s, when Brett M. Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Prep. We think you should read every word.
Heim produced an outstanding report about an appalling state of affairs. This morning, the Post offers an outstanding front-page report about the drinking and debauchery, during that era, engaged in by Mark Judge, another victim of Georgetown Prep's appalling culture, and a likely victimizer to boot.
Parts of today's report are simply astounding. The report was written by Fisher and Stein. We think you should read every word, especially the part about former "Marriage and Sex teacher" Bernie Ward.
These were, and are, outstanding reports about a disgraceful state of affairs. That said, one day before Heim's report appeared, the Post offered a peculiar front-page report about Diane Feinstein—a puzzling report which the New York Times has finally matched, and has managed to top, on today's front page.
Let's focus on today's report in the Times. It was written by Nicholas Fandos, who's more than three years out of college. (Harvard, class of 2015.)
These high-flying kids today! Fandos seems troubled by the thought that Feinstein honored a pledge of confidentiality to Christine Blasey Ford, a constituent who says she was the victim of a sexual assault when she was just 15. On this basis, Fandos suggests, at several points, that Feinstein, who is 85, may have been slipping a bit in the noggin when she behaved in this manner—when she honored her pledge to Blasey Ford.
Absent the suggestions of senility, the Washington Post's Sean Sullivan authored an equally puzzling, front-page report on Wednesday. Which part of "I made a pledge of confidentiality" don't these scribes understand?
Reading these scribes' reports, we'll admit that we have no idea. But all week long, we've seen cable news hosts who seemed to be similarly challenged concerning this bone-simple ethical point.
Let's be fair! The idea that Feinstein should have broken her pledge seemed to gain wide purchase in the past week or so—and this wasn't simply a cable news talking-point of the right.
Some Democrats seemed to suggest that Feinstein should have outed Blasey Ford too. In this part of Sullivan's report, he blew right past an obvious irony as he described this state of affairs:
SULLIVAN (9/19/18): Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee were tepid about Feinstein. "She did her best," said Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii). "I can't fault her," said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.). "Extremely difficult circumstances," noted Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.)Based on that passage, some Democrats apparently felt that Feinstein should have broken her pledge to Blasey Ford. In a wonderful bit of unintentional irony, Sullivan attributes that report to "a Democrat with direct knowledge of internal Senate dynamics"—a Democrat who spoke to Sullivan on the basis of a pledge of confidentiality!
Privately, some Democratic senators wished that Feinstein had come to them sooner with the allegation, according to a Democrat with direct knowledge of internal Senate dynamics. The Democrat spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
It was late July when Feinstein received the letter from Ford detailing the allegations from decades ago against Kavanaugh. Ford is a constituent of Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), who relayed the letter to Feinstein.
Ford was insistent on confidentiality. It was not until a private meeting last Wednesday, after a report by the Intercept, that Feinstein revealed the letter to her Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. In a Washington Post article published Sunday, Ford told her story publicly for the first time.
Such highly principled people! Later in his report, Sullivan quoted a few of the three million Republicans who have pretended that they never heard about Feinstein's pledge to Blasey Ford. That said, a range of highly principled Democrats also seem to have wandered onto the list of those who favor breaking such a pledge concerning a report of a sexual assault:
SULLIVAN: Feinstein's decision to keep the accusation away from her own party, at a moment when liberals were applying immense pressure to defeat Kavanaugh and moderate Democratic senators were debating whether to support him, has triggered second-guessing among Democrats. Now, some lawmakers simply want to turn the page.Running to Feinstein's left, de Leon thinks a senator should break a pledge of confidentiality to a person like Blasey Ford. In other words, Feinstein should have "outed" Blasey Ford. Just as "Father" once famously did, we lefties now know best!
"I'm not going to go back and revisit that," said Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who represents a Republican state and is up for reelection in 2020. "I just think we need to deal with where we are now, not where we might have been."
Feinstein's challenger this November is Kevin de León, a state lawmaker running to her left who finished a distant second in California's all-party primary. He slammed Feinstein last week for "failure of leadership" and questioned why she waited to give information about the accusation to the FBI.
On the brighter side, Sullivan (like his editor) seems to be ready for a cable news hosting spot. As he records all these criticisms, he challenges no one to reconcile their criticism with the ethics of Feinstein's pledge. But so it went, again and again, on cable news this week.
On cable news this week, somnolent hosts like Anderson Cooper repeatedly let hard-bitten pseudo-conservatives play dumb about the circumstances surrounding Feinstein's behavior. Why didn't she bring it up earlier, these con men kept asking, skipping right past the fact of her pledge with their host's acquiescence.
On Wednesday morning, Sullivan adopted this stance. Today, Fandos takes us one step farther, suggesting that Feinstein honored her pledge because she's getting soft in the head—because she seems to be senile.
This is how Aristotle's "rational animals" will behave when Plato's "guardians" abandon their posts. When our logicians devote their lives to pondering 2 + 2 = 4, children all over the newsosphere are going to reason this way.
Next week: The guardians file
One more example: Last weekend, on AM Joy, Joy Reid and Zerlina Maxwell criticized Feinstein's behavior. They failed to discuss the ethics of breaking a pledge of confidentiality concerning a sexual assault.
Can they explain why Feinstein should have broken her pledge? If so, they didn't bother.
You can see their exchange in the first two minutes of this tape. We no longer expect much better from Reid. We do expect better from Maxwell.