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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

››› GRACE BENNETT & BOBBY LEWIS

After professor Christine Blasey Ford testified on September 27 that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in the 1980s, The Washington Post published a memo from Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to interrogate Ford, explaining why she theoretically would not prosecute Kavanaugh.

Multiple news outlets have noted that the conclusions in Mitchell’s memo — among them that Ford’s claims are “even weaker” than a “‘he said, she said’ case” — cannot be seen as credible. The Washington Post pointed out that since there hasn’t been an actual investigation of the claims, Mitchell’s assertion of no corroborating evidence falls flat. Think Progress noted that while Mitchell questioned Ford extensively, she spoke to Kavanaugh, the alleged assailant, for just 15 minutes. Mother Jones reported that a former colleague of Mitchell’s, Matthew Long, dismissed her “willingness to author” the memo as “absolutely disingenuous,” and he asserted that the prosecutor “doesn’t have sufficient information to even draw these conclusions.” Long also criticized Mitchell for attacking Ford’s gaps in memory, noting that he was “trained by Ms. Mitchell about how trauma explicitly does prevent memory from happening” and concluding, “Ms. Mitchell knows better than that.”

Additionally, as journalists and outlets have pointed out, a Supreme Court nomination is not a trial; it’s more akin to a job interview. The question of whether a prosecutor is willing to bring charges against Kavanaugh is not equivalent to that of whether he should serve on the highest court of the land.

Desperate to undercut Ford, right-wing media figures have ignored the obvious problems in Mitchell’s memo and instead portrayed the document as credible evidence of Kavanaugh’s innocence:

Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade: Mitchell “concluded that she would not — this was a weak case and I never would recommend, wouldn’t think anyone would recommend, they prosecute this case.”

Fox’s Laura Ingraham wrote, “Sex Crimes Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s report exonerates (sic) Kavanaugh,” linking to a Gateway Pundit piece with a similar title. Radio host Bill Mitchell and Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton also shared the article.

NBC’s Megyn Kelly: Mitchell “submitted a memo” saying that Ford’s case “doesn’t even satisfy by the preponderance of the evidence standard, … which is the lowest bar in any case. … And now we want the FBI to spend this week going back and scouring the Maryland neighborhood and … figuring out who renovated and when.”

Fox contributor Lisa Boothe shared Mitchell’s report and wrote, “Can everyone please stop pretending like Dr. Ford is credible now? She is NOT credible. It’s painfully obvious. I feel like I’ve been living in the Twilight Zone.”

NRA’s Dana Loesch quoted a Daily Mail article on Mitchell’s report, writing that “there is NOT enough evidence to back accuser’s claims.”

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain: “Even the lady that asked the questions during the judiciary committee [hearing], she wrote an eight-page report that said that there was no there-there.”

The Federalist’s Sean Davis: “This memorandum from Rachel Mitchell is a rather stunning indictment not of Kavanaugh, but of Ford and her story, which seems to change each time she tells it. The only consistent aspect of Ford’s story is how often it changes.”

Townhall editor and Fox contributor Katie Pavlich: “I’d like to point out that nearly everyone in the media, minus a few (myself included), said Ford was ‘very credible.’ She wasn’t.”

Gateway Pundit’s Jacob Wohl: “Sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell COMPLETELY EXONERATES Brett Kavanaugh,” and “finds Ford’s allegations totally suspect, potentially fraudulent.”

FoxNews.com’s Stephen Miller: “I believe Rachel Mitchell”

Mark Levin: Mitchell, “a real sex crimes prosecutor,” did an “excellent job” of “exposing gaps & contradictions in Ford’s Senate testimony.”

Townhall’s Guy Benson: Mitchell’s memo “is extremely compelling”

Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow: “Mark my words, the media is currently looking for other sex crimes prosecutors to say they would absolutely take this case to court.”

The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles: “I believe Rachel Mitchell. #IBelieveWomen”

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson: “BELIEVE 👏 ALL 👏 WOMEN 👏”

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin’s site Twitchy: “RUH-ROH: Rachel Mitchell’s independent analysis spells even BIGGER trouble for Senate Dems and Ford’s attorneys.”

Frequent Fox guest Morgan Ortagus: “A professional prosecutor is saying… there’s too many inconsistencies with the story. … I know you’re shaking your head, but, I mean, she’s spent a lifetime as a career prosecutor working on this.”

Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters