The other night Reason published an article calling for an FBI investigation into Christine Ford’s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh — and then went on to criticize Senate Republicans for trying to block such an investigation.
The problem is, the FBI lacks the authority to investigate because Kavanaugh hasn’t been accused of any federal crime. The most they could do is reopen Kavanaugh’s background check, yet they have declined do so because Kavanaugh has been continuously vetted throughout his twenty-eight-year career.
Furthermore, the Senate cannot direct the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check, and the Republicans are actively trying to investigate despite interference from Christine Ford’s attorney and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The backlash against Reason editors was astounding.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many comments flood so rapidly onto a Reason thread, nearly every one of which was critical not of Ford and Feinstein, but of Reason’s irresponsible reporting.
(You can view the article and full thread here.)
The primary criticisms were of Reason’s failure to do some basic fact checking, particularly in light of their recent jab at CNN.
Readers were aghast at the hypocrisy of a Libertarian publication advocating a federal investigation into a non-federal affair — which could not possibly be proven true or false short of Kavanaugh confessing or Ford recanting.
Some even went so far as to accuse Reason’s senior editors of suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Promoting a left-wing agenda:
Being in the pay of the Left:
Or simply being “hacked”:
All in all, I’d say the outrage was wholly justified, even if some of the charges were a little off the mark (if not downright bizarre).
There is no excuse for irresponsible journalism, particularly in a society such as ours where the press has (quite properly) damn-near absolute freedom.
The Reason article indeed reads as if it had been based on media reports which were in turn based on Dianne Feinstein soundbites — but in my mind, this has more to do with sloppy reporting than any latent Leftist sympathies.
And anyone who thinks Reason has become infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome clearly hasn’t seen enough of it; you can be critical of our President (yes, he is OUR President) without being completely raving mad. One can also refute misinformation without being a Trump supporter.
Bottom line: The fact that people went so totally ape shit over this article is a good thing. Media outlets need to be held accountable for their blunders — as well as intentional misrepresentations (I’m looking at you, CNN) — and their own readers, listeners, and viewers are the ones who belong doing the accounting. Charges of irresponsible reporting levied from outside a target audience seldom have any impact, particularly when politics are involved.