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EXCLUSIVE: WaPo Reporter Identifies Which Colleague Squashed Rape Claim Against Justin Fairfax

WaPo reporter fingers colleague for spiking sex assault story.

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Washington Post reporter personally squashed Dr. Vanessa Tyson’s sexual assault claim against Virginia’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, according to another reporter within the organization.

Big League Politics spoke to WaPo reporter Fenit Nirappil, who covers local politics for the Jeff-Bezos-owned paper. When asked who specifically spiked the story about Tyson’s allegations, brought to the paper in late 2017, Nirappil said the following:

“I would just, like, look at the original story and who wrote it.”

By the “original story,” Nirappil confirmed that he was talking about a Feb. 4 story written by Theresa Vargas, titled “Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denies sex assault allegation from 2004.”

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“Yeah,” Nirappil replied when asked directly if he was talking about Vargas’ story.

In her Monday story, Vargas, who describes herself as a “columnist” at the paper, said that WaPo did not publish Tyson’s claim because the claims were “uncorroborated.” Fairfax had claimed that the paper squashed the story because of “red flags” and inconsistencies.”

“Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present. The Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version,” the piece said. “The Post did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,’ as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.”

The necessity for corroborating evidence of such claims appears to be a new standard for the The Post, who provided wall-to-wall coverage of uncorroborated claims of sexual misconduct made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Republican, in September.

The paper simply let Tyson’s allegations fade away into the darkness, where democracy dies.

When asked whether WaPo ever went to authorities with Tyson’s claims, Nirappil explained that that is not standard procedure for reporters, which is reasonable.

Big League Politics reached out to Vargas, but received no response from her directly.

Executive Editor Martin Baron sent a long explanation detailing why WaPo squashed a story about the rape allegations made by Tyson against Fairfax.

At no point in WaPo’s explanation did they detail who specifically made the decision to spike the Fairfax rape allegation story, but in a subsequent email, Vice President of Communications Kris Coratti told BLP that “specifically, it was the ranking editors in the newsroom who made the decision” to spike Tyson’s allegations.

When asked whether it was fair to conclude that editors Tracy Grant, Martin Baron, Cameron Barr, and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz were involved in the decision, and whether BLP missed any editors, Coratti confirmed that Tracy Grant, Martin Baron, Cameron Barr, and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz were involved, and that there were others that we had not asked about.

Editors Note: This story has been updated to reflect several responses from a senior communications staffer at the Washington Post.


Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca

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