New York Times building by wsifrancis, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

 

Following on the heels of Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer running an unsubstantiated and uncorroborated story on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly putting either his penis (no descriptive marks were given and I’d think that after the Lewinsky description of Clinton’s penis and Stormy Daniels’ of Trump’s that would be part of the template for this kind of story) or a sex toy in some woman’s face at a drunken party at Yale, and superstar celebrity lawyer (okay, creepy porn lawyer) Michael Avenatti claiming Kavanaugh had been involved in “running trains” on willing girls from elite all-girls high schools (no word if he was engineer, conductor, or brakeman), I’d assumed that the insanity was over.

I was wrong.

Yesterday, the New York Times did a devastating expose of the comments in Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook.

The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.” It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school.

Two of Judge Kavanaugh’s classmates say the mentions of Renate were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.

“They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate,” said Sean Hagan, a Georgetown Prep student at the time, referring to Judge Kavanaugh and his teammates. “I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”

Make it stop. I’ll tell you whatever you want to hear but make it stop.

Judge Kavanaugh’s peers have given different accounts of what he was like. But his yearbook provides a contemporaneous glimpse of the elite Catholic school’s hard-drinking atmosphere — Judge Kavanaugh’s personal page boasts, “100 kegs or bust” — and a culture that some describe as disrespectful to women.

No. Not beer and talking about girls. Please tell me high school boys never did that.

As it turns out, “Renate” was one of the women who signed the letter supporting Kavanaugh.

When Ms. Dolphin signed the Sept. 14 letter, she wasn’t aware of the “Renate” yearbook references on the pages of Judge Kavanaugh and his football teammates.

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

Except, the only person involved in this who thinks these are references to sexual conquests are a) the New York Times and b) people who hate Kavanaugh.

Judge Kavanaugh was one of 13 graduating seniors who referred to Ms. Dolphin in some way on their personal pages. Some gave themselves titles — DeLancey Davis, for example, listed himself as “chairman of the Bored” of the “Renate Club.” Another football player, Tom Kane, mentioned on his page “Renate’s Suicide Squad.”

The group photo, with Judge Kavanaugh and eight fellow football players in pads and uniform, grinning, was captioned “Renate Alumni.” Mark Judge, the commentator and author who has written about his alcohol-fueled years at Georgetown Prep, stands next to Judge Kavanaugh in the photo.

Barbara Van Gelder, a lawyer for Mr. Judge, declined to comment.

Four of the players in the “Renate Alumni” photo — Mr. Davis, Mr. Kane, Tim Gaudette and Don Urgo Jr. — said in a statement that they had “never bragged about” sexual contact or anything like that with Ms. Dolphin. The statement, issued by Jim McCarthy, a public-relations representative, said the yearbook’s “Renate” references “were intended to allude to innocent dates or dance partners and were generally known within the community of people involved for over 35 years.”

“These comments,” the statement continued, “were never controversial and did not impact ongoing relationships until The Times twisted and forced an untrue narrative. This shabby journalism is causing egregious harm to all involved, particularly our friend, and is simply beneath contempt.”

Seriously, this reads like a popular girl who dated, in the pre-Millenial sense of the word, a lot of boys from Georgetown Prep and they didn’t get very much action. I can’t imagine a 17-year-old calling himself “Chairman of the Bored” if he were bragging of sexual conquests.

But, taking this at its worse, Kavanaugh and his friends gave the impression of having sex when they weren’t. I’m not shocked.

But buried in the story is in this sentence:

The Georgetown Prep yearbook’s personal pages were designed and written by the individual students, according to alumni. A faculty adviser reviewed the pages.

If you go to NewsDiffs to compare different versions on the same story, you find it originally read:

The Georgetown Prep yearbook’s personal pages were designed and written by the individual students, according to Mr. Madaleno and other alumni. A faculty adviser reviewed the pages.

Who is “Mr. Madaleno” who was quickly scrubbed from the article?

The original article published online on Monday night was quickly scrubbed of a reference to a “Mr. Madaleno.” The Times uses full names on first references to sources and titles on second references, though it was the first time his name was mentioned in the article. The claim of sexual braggadocio is sourced earlier in the article to one named and one anonymous individual who claims to fear retribution. NewsDiffs, a site that tracks changes to articles at the New York Times, caught the rapid deletion of his name. Reporters Kate Kelly and David Enrich did not explain why it was removed.

Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep, is a state senator in Maryland who recently lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. He garnered headlines for a campaign ad that featured him kissing his male spouse as a rebuke of Trump. The 30-second spot has him telling viewers he seeks to “deliver progressive results and stand up to Donald Trump” before listing things he’s done “that already infuriate” Trump.

As he announces his progressive results — protecting the country’s largest abortion corporation, fighting gun rights, and opposing vouchers for schools — people he’s pictured with say “Take that, Trump!” Madaleno ends with a video of him and his partner Mark Hodge. “What’s the number one way I piss off Donald Trump and the Republicans?” Madaleno asks. After kissing his partner, he says “Take that, Trump!” The Madaleno campaign said it hoped Trump himself would view the ad and that it would set him off.

Wait, there is more:

Another source for the article, Georgetown Prep classmate William Fishburne, was a campaign surrogate for Madaleno. He implored classmates to vote in the June 26 primary. The “staunch liberal” finished fifth in a crowded primary.

This crap is just ridiculous. The very fact that this is being covered rather than Christine Ford’s fanciful tale shows that the New York Times realizes just how weak her story is and they are flailing about trying to find something, anything, to hurt Kavanaugh. It is almost like they are crying out, “Look at us. We can beclown ourselves just like the New Yorker.”