The Washington Post admitted it made a blunder on Wednesday by placing a story about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh coaching youth basketball under the “Public Safety” section online.
Kavanaugh, who recently returned to coach his daughter’s basketball team, was famously accused of sexual assault during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh denied all allegations and was confirmed after an FBI investigation.
Media watchdogs were then shocked when Ann Marimow’s Nov. 27 piece on his youth coaching appeared in the “Public Safety” section. However, the paper claims it was simply a mistake and changed it to the “Local” section after a backlash.
“Legal affairs stories written by that author automatically default to the public safety category. Obviously, this one shouldn’t have been there and once we caught the error we corrected it,” a Post spokesperson said in a statement, first obtained by Law & Crime and confirmed by Fox News.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey Mccall told Fox News that the original placement of the story “rhetorically signals that Kavanaugh is a somehow a threat to the players on the team he coaches,” and the paper needs to make changes to ensure similar mistakes don't happen going forward.
“If this was, indeed, a default placement, then the Washington Post surely needs to devise new approaches for that process. Given the high profile of Justice Kavanaugh and the bruising confirmation battle earlier this year, the Post shouldn't be allowing any Kavanaugh story to be placed routinely in a default category,” McCall said. “Any story about Kavanaugh should be very carefully assessed and categorized.”
The paper has placed other stories by Marimow that don’t have much to do with Public Safety in the same section, such as a Nov. 15 report headlined, “Maryland appeals partisan gerrymandering decision to Supreme Court.”
McCall noted that Marimow’s Post bio says she covers “legal affairs” that are “primarily from the federal courts,” which isn’t a beat that would typically fall under “Public Safety.”
“Thus, the default explanation comes off as rather hollow,” he said.
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor doesn’t fault the reporter, who presumably has nothing to do with what section stories are placed in -- but feels the paper’s leadership has an agenda.
“The Post's crusade against Kavanaugh continues. They treated a good man and father coaching basketball as a ‘Public Safety’ issue,” Gainor told Fox News. “Even though they changed it to ‘Local’ news, they only did so because of the outcry. Post Editor Marty Baron has undermined the legitimacy of everything his paper does by making every section -- Sports, Style and even Crime -- anti-Trump.”