Anonymous no more
Rosalind Helderman is referring to the big story over the weekend, reported by Emma Brown of The Washington Post, California professor Christine Ford, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about sexual assault allegation (370,000+ shares). Brown “spent weeks talking and trying to confirm the claims of an author of a confidential letter that accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault,” Aaron C. Davis notes on Twitter, and, as Daniel Dale points out, “There’s a lot of new detail in this story. Among other things, Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, contacted the Washington Post and Feinstein in July, and took a polygraph in August, but then decided she didn’t want to come forward.” Adds Michael Luo, “Lots more here than just her word: therapist’s notes, polygraph, husband’s account.” Mark Harris’s take: “This is brave, and there is no reason to doubt her. Republicans will have to decide whether calling yet another woman a liar is worth this win for them. I fear we know the answer.”
This morning, The Post’s John Wagner and Seung Min Kim are reporting that Ford is willing to testify before the Senate committee, her lawyer says. Eli Watkins has the story at CNN, Lawyer: Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify publicly.
Earlier, POLITICO’s Burgess Everett had reported that Jeff Flake opposed a quick vote on Kavanaugh (54,000+ shares) and that Bob Corker was also urging the committee to postpone the vote. As for the White House’s view, Everett writes, “A lawyer close to the White House said the nomination will not be withdrawn. ‘No way, not even a hint of it.’”
In fact, Trump Believes There is a ‘Conspiracy’ to Submarine the Kavanaugh Nomination, according to the reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng, Gideon Resnick and Sam Stein of The Daily Beast. On that one, Scott Lemieux offers, “Kudos to the authors of the piece, though, because this is beautiful.” He highlights, “[Ralph Reed] did not specify how he determined [the allegations] were false (Ford reportedly passed a polygraph test and recounted the incident—though without naming Kavanaugh—to a therapist she and her husband were seeing in 2012).” The gist, though, as Kaili Gray puts it: “Even if he tried to rape a girl in high school, so what? That’s where republicans are today.”
POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson writes that Kavanaugh faces his #MeToo test to reach Supreme Court, and Carrie Budoff Brown says, “Always read @elianayjohnson.” In this piece, we also learn about what Emily Stephenson points out is a “Weird joke. ‘A person close to the Kavanaugh team said before Sunday’s news that it had ‘almost become a running joke’ among the team: ‘What allegation is gonna come up after the confirmation hearing?’”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Swan of Axios reports that the GOP plans to play hardball on Kavanaugh confirmation after sexual assault allegations, reporting, “A source close to the process said that if Democrats sink Kavanaugh ‘we’ll just bring in someone more conservative.’”
This fall’s must-have accessory for billionaires
There was some big media news this weekend, too. In case you missed it, Time magazine has been sold to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff for $190 million. Jeffrey Trachtenberg of The Wall Street Journal broke that story. Nine months after completing its purchase of Time, Inc., Meredith Corporation sold the magazine to Benioff and his wife, although Benioff says they won’t play a role in the day-to-day operations. “This fall’s must-have accessory for billionaires: An esteemed publication that‘s recently had a rough go of it,” tweets Laura J. Nelson. But Ernie Smith says, “I'm happy Time sold to someone with enough money and sense to leave it alone and let it do its thing.”
To all who care about a free press
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler writes about Myanmar’s Assault on a Truthful Press. Tweets Tom Bergin, “to all who care about a free press, pls read this editorial by our Editor-in-Chief about our imprisoned colleagues in the New York Times.” In it, Adler writes, “We must reject the cynical and dangerous idea that everyone is entitled to their own facts. We can see where this has gotten us in Myanmar and elsewhere. And we need to reaffirm the essential role of a free press in uncovering facts. Journalists, being people, are imperfect. But journalism, done right, serves a high public purpose.”
Meanwhile, this is “A very exciting + important moment for Philly journalism and our industry.” Stan Wischnowski links to the news that The Knight Foundation and the Philadelphia-based Lenfest Institute for Journalism have pledged $20 million for local journalism, $9 million for the arts in Philadelphia. Tricia L. Nadolny has those details at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Here for it
Hillary Clinton’s new afterword for “What Happened” has been excerpted in The Atlantic as American Democracy Is in Crisis (49,000+ shares), and Charles Clymer tweets, “Wow, Hillary Clinton is going off in a piece in The Atlantic, and I am absolutely here for it.” Among the revelations, she writes that “you won’t be surprised to hear that I passionately believe it’s time to abolish the Electoral College.” People are highlighting a variety of passages on Twitter, so read the essay to get the full effect.
Incredibly out of touch
At The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Sydney Ember write that Michael Bloomberg May Run for President as a Democrat. His Views on Policing and #MeToo Could Be a Problem. In that piece, “Michael Bloomberg defends his old buddy Charlie Rose, suggesting numerous women who accused him of being a creep might be lying. Also, stop and frisk. Incredibly out of touch,” says Lauren Tara LaCapra. Or as Cody Fenwick says, “This Bloomberg interview is devastating. He goes from defending Charlie Rose from being fired for sexual misconduct, arguing that he should be presumed innocent outside the court, to defending his discriminatory and unnecessary stop-and frisk policy.”
Speaking of #MeToo, After Decades of Silence, Soon-Yi Previn Speaks to Daphne Merkin for a profile in Vulture, and as E. Alex Jung tweets, “good luck to the internet this week.” For starters, “This is cringingly bad writing, more suited to US Weekly,” tweets William O'Sullivan, while Eli Valley suggests a “Fun game: guess which of these passages is from 2009 re. Bernie Madoff and which is from 2018 re. Woody Allen.” But just so we’re clear, “So... the person hired to write about Soon-Yi Previn — who is Mia Farrow’s daughter and Woody Allen’s wife — has been friends with him for more than 40 years?” asks Laura J. Nelson. Ayelet Waldman calls it “‘Journalism.’” Bottom line: “Nobody - not Woody Allen, not Mia Farrow, not Daphne Merkin, and not Soon-Yi - comes out of this article looking good,” tweets Rachel Hills.
Hurricane Florence’s staggering scope
In North Carolina, Florence continues to wreak havoc. ‘There is no access to Wilmington’ as Florence flooding overwhelms North Carolina, Jorge L. Ortiz and John Bacon report at USA Today, writing, “At least 17 people have died in the wreckage of the hurricane-turned-tropical depression that dumped 30 inches of rain in parts of the state since last week.”
Alan Blinder, David Zucchino and Jack Healy have been covering the storm for The New York Times. Their latest piece quotes North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who says the Storm ‘Has Never Been More Dangerous.’ Blinder sums it up this way: “Rescues near the Atlantic. Floodwaters in eastern and central communities. The threat of landslides in the mountains. North Carolina is facing a statewide crisis as Florence shows its full power with staggering scope.” He adds, “Florence may be (slowly) moving away, but North Carolina's problems aren’t even close to finished.”
The words are powerful, but images can speak volumes. Alan Taylor of The Atlantic has assembled a collection of photos of the immediate aftermath of Florence.
A busful and a boatful
In some brighter news, “People like this restore my faith in humanity,” says McLean Robbins. Meagan Flynn of The Washington Post spoke with Tony Alsup, a truck driver from Tennessee who retrofitted a school bus and drove it to the Carolinas to rescue dogs and cats left behind or stranded in the storm. That piece is Noah’s Ark except it’s a school bus: Truck driver rescues 64 dogs and cats from floods of Hurricane Florence. Tweets Dan Taylor, “While #HurricaneFlorence may be far from us geographically. Emotionally, it's still in our hearts & minds. A feel good story if you love animals like I do.” As the Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown, S.C., noted, “Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.”
The same could be said of this one. At USA Today, Christal Hayes reports that the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a couple and “a boatful of Beagles” from Florence’s flooding. Please take a moment out of your day to watch the video accompanying this story. We promise you won’t regret it. A highlight from the piece: “The rescue turned into a comedy skit of sorts as some the dogs hopped from the vessel, causing members to chase after the pups in the waist-high water. Some of the dogs also used the boat as their personal bathroom once they were pulled to safety.” Still, clearly very good boys and girls.
A few more
A big story from Raphael Satter of The Associated Press, New leak shows Julian Assange sought Russian visa in 2010. “Of course he did,” tweets Ben Judah. Anshel Pfeffer dubs it, “Wikileaks leaking. What was going on behind the scenes in Camp Assange as he tried to evade justice. Fascinating details from @razhael.” Apparently, not everyone finds it that fascinating, though. As Etan Smallman tweets, “WikiLeaks' spokesperson calls this story by @razhael ‘rather uninteresting’. I, for one, beg to differ.”
Shadow Wars, a project by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tweets that this is “great reporting from @JoeWSJ on the combustible mixture of expanding foreign security presence & and diminished livelihoods due to clampdown on smuggling brewing in Niger.” That piece, by Joe Parkinson and Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin of The Wall Street Journal, reveals ‘A Nest of Spies’: How Poverty-Stricken Niger Is Becoming a Security Hub for the West.
And finally, today, “Pour some out for one of history’s bosses,” says CJ Ciaramella, of the news that Freddie Oversteegen, Dutch resistance fighter who killed Nazis through seduction, has died at 92. Harrison Smith writes the obituary at The Washington Post for the woman who joined the Dutch resistance at age 14: “When she rode her bicycle down the streets of Haarlem in North Holland, firearms hidden in a basket, Nazi officials rarely stopped to question her. When she walked through the woods, serving as a lookout or seductively leading her SS target to a secluded place, there was little indication that she carried a handgun and was preparing an execution.” Yep, “Add this to your badass woman of the day calendar,” as Matt Schwartz says.