EXCLUSIVE: Washington Post VP Confirms Ranking Editors Spiked Fairfax Rape Allegation Story
Less than a week after learning that Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post refused to run the story of Dr. Vanessa Tyson who accused Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia of sexual assault stemming from an incident at the 2004 Democratic National Committee, the paper confirmed to Big League Politics some of the editors who were behind the decision to quash to the story.
“Specifically, it was the ranking editors in the newsroom who made the decision,” WaPo’s Vice President of Communications Kris Coratti told BLP via email. “Peter, it was a unanimous decision among the entire group of ranking editors not to publish the story because it didn’t meet our standards.”
Friday, we reported that WaPo columnist Theresa Vargas made the decision to spike the story, which was relayed to us by WaPo reporter Fenit Nirappil on a phone call. BLP has audio of the admission. Despite that, Coratti claimed the story was untrue, and demanded a correction.
When pressed, Coratti confirmed that editors Tracy Grant, Martin Baron, Cameron Barr, and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz were involved in the decision to quash the rape allegation story. She also confirmed that there were “many” other editors involved in the decision.
The official explanation from The Post is that the Fairfax sexual assault allegation story did not meet its editorial standards because the sexual assault allegations against Fairfax were not corroborated. But just four days after BLP broke the story of the sexual assault allegations, The New York Times was able to find five corroborating witnesses, all of whom Tyson told about the alleged sexual assault.
Compare that to the story of sexual misconduct allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh – a story which The Post gleefully published.
Executive Editor Marty Baron explained the decision to publish that story in a statement:
“Our reporting on Dr. Blasey Ford documented that in 2012 she told others of the alleged incident. Her husband learned of it during a couples therapy session, and he said he was told the name of Brett Kavanaugh at that time. Moreover, notes from therapy sessions that we reviewed showed that Dr. Blasey Ford spoke of a sexual assault by students “from an elitist boys’ school.” With that corroborating evidence, we proceeded to publish her account because it met our standards for publication.”
The allegations against Kavanaugh are far thinner, far less detailed, and do not possess nearly the level of corroboration as the sexual assault allegations against Fairfax. Remember, Blasey Ford could not remember the date, time, or place of Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct. Tyson provided a detailed account of all of that information, and told her story to at least five people who confirmed to The Times that they had heard the story of Fairfax’s alleged sexual assault.
Still, Blasey Ford’s story was published, and Tyson’s was not.
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