The Washington Post on Monday explained why it did not publish a story about a sexual assault allegation against Democratic Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax when the accuser first told the paper about it in Nov. 2017 and again in Jan. 2018, and the response raises questions about how the organization covered allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
A woman claims Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004 after meeting at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax has denied the claim, saying their sexual encounter was consensual.
Despite the woman attempting to get the Post to publish the story in November 2017 when Fairfax was elected, and again before he was inaugurated, the Post opted not to publish her accusation. Here's the explanation:
"The Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman's account—in part because she had not told anyone what happened—The Post did not run a story.
Kyle Smith of National Review quickly pointed out the dissonance between the Post's Fairfax approach and their approach to Kavanaugh.
"If this is the Washington Post's standard it should retract and apologize for all of its Christine Blasey Ford stories," Smith tweeted Monday afternoon. "Ford didn't tell anyone either, until after Kavanaugh was the subject of a New Yorker story saying he was on the shortlist for the Supreme Court."
Ford first publicized her allegations by contacting The Washington Post in July, once Kavanaugh was getting some momentum for a Supreme Court nomination.
There were significant issues with the details of Ford's accusation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school in 1982. In its initial story, the Post story said "After so many years, Ford said, she does not remember some key details of the incident."
She didn't remember how the alleged party she said the attack occurred at came together. She didn't remember whose house it was, or how she got to that house. She was somewhat unsure of the exact year it allegedly occurred. None of the people Ford said were at the party corroborated her story. Still, the Post published her allegation in great detail.