The story unveiling the latest allegation of sexual misconduct by now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—which was published in The New York Times' Sunday Review section—was reportedly first pitched to the news section but was turned down. According to Vanity Fair, the two Times reporters—Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly—approached the newspaper's news section with a scoop they uncovered while writing their forthcoming book. They had identified a former Yale classmate who claimed he witnessed Kavanaugh’s friends push his penis into a female student's hand.
Top editors felt the new detail did not warrant a story, and the reporters were told to pitch the item to the Review, which features analysis and opinion pieces. A Times spokesperson declined to comment on the matter to Vanity Fair, but noted it was “not unusual for Opinion or Sunday Review pieces to break news.” Pogrebin and Kelly also declined to comment to the magazine.
The scrutiny comes after the newspaper received backlash for its handling of the story itself. The original Sunday Review piece reportedly failed to mention that friends of the woman involved in the allegation claimed that she did not remember the incident. In addition, a tweet promoting the piece called having a penis thrust in your face “harmless fun.”