Fact Checker: Kavanaugh, Ford and a chaotic week in Washington
Kavanaugh, Ford and a chaotic week in WashingtonThe scene on Capitol Hill this week was not that different than it was 27 years ago when Anita Hill testified against Clarence...
Democracy Dies in Darkness
The truth behind the rhetoric
Kavanaugh, Ford and a chaotic week in Washington
The scene on Capitol Hill this week was not that different than it was 27 years ago when Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas. Three women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The president passionately defended his pick. A day long Senate hearing followed, where one of the women, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary committee.
We've notedbefore that when journalists write about incidents that occurred long ago, especially serious allegations like those described by Ford, a key goal is to find people who will say that they heard about the incident at the time. Such contemporaneous accounts are essential to establishing the credibility of the allegation because they reduce the chances that a person is making up a story for political purposes.
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The story of Beto O'Rourke's drunken car accident
During a debate, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (R-Tex.) flat out denied leaving the scene of an accident that happened when he had been driving drunk, saying the whole thing was a "terrible mistake." But his denial didn't square with recently released police reports.
O'Rourke crashed on the night of his 26th birthday. One report from the night said he "almost fell to the floor" when he tried to get out of the car and he totally failed at standing on one leg. Another report said he "advised in a slurred speech that he had caused the accident." The results of the breathalyzer test were well above the legal limit and both of the reports say O'Rourke tried to leave the scene.
There were several inconsistencies in the police reports — the color of O'Rourke's car, the direction he was traveling. But even if one is inclined to dismiss them, they are the only contemporary records we have. And given his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash, O'Rourke's memory 20 years after the fact is not nearly as credible.
We believe in second chances, but O'Rourke should revise his answer to this question. In the meantime, he earned Four Pinocchios.
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