Members of the national news media this week were reckoning with the limits and pitfalls of the #MeToo movement, as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be on the verge of confirmation after those accusing him of sexual assault were unable to bring forward sufficient evidence or witnesses to boost their claims.

At least three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, though none have found firsthand witness to corroborate their claims. In almost every case, the witnesses that have been named deny any memory of the details surrounding the alleged incidents.

Still, the national news media have reported on the accusations and conducted intensive investigations into Kavanaugh’s high school and college years, like a Washington Post story last week on how frequently Kavanaugh drank alcohol and a New York Times story on the sophomoric language used in his yearbook.

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That has some saying the press jumped too quickly at the allegations, which created an expectation that he would be defeated. MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said Thursday that those reports, coupled with the Democrats who highlighted them as a reason not to confirm Kavanaugh, have resulted in a public relations backlash.

“Report the facts, and it would probably, probably be better if everybody in the mainstream media reports the facts and not take every little note on [Kavanaugh’s] calendar 20 or 30 years ago and suggest that it proves that he goes to gang rapes, that he’s a serial rapist or some of the other preposterous things they’ve been saying,” Scarborough said.

He added that efforts to tar Kavanaugh as the next target of the #MeToo movement has only energized Republicans.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in politics to understand what the last couple weeks have done to energize the Republican base," Scarborough said. He said many Republicans will likely think, "I hate Trump, but I’m not a big fan of what the Democrats and what the media are doing right now, too.”

The same day, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, a conservative who has aggressively opposed President Trump, said he was “grateful” that the president had not withdrawn his support for Kavanaugh, and that reports in Stephens’ own newspaper had emboldened his support for the Supreme Court nominee.

“For the first time since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I find myself grateful that he’s in it. … I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” wrote Stephens. “I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life, and never more so than in the face of sly moral bullying. I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger.”

In the left-leaning Atlantic magazine, contributing editor Emily Yoffe criticized Democrats and liberals for what she described as a reflex to believe every woman who claims she has been sexually assaulted and find guilt in every accused man, without objectively weighing the evidence.

“Even as we must treat accusers with seriousness and dignity, we must hear out the accused fairly and respectfully, and recognize the potential lifetime consequences that such an allegation can bring,” said Yoffe. “If believing the woman is the beginning and the end of a search for the truth, then we have left the realm of justice for religion.”

A confirmation vote for Kavanaugh has been delayed at least twice in the last two weeks, most recently after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for the FBI to conduct a “limited,” weeklong investigation into the allegation against Kavanaugh made by Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to rape her when they were in high school. The bureau has since concluded its investigation and the White House has sent its findings to the Senate for viewing.

An administration spokesman said Thursday that the White House was fully confident that Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the court once a vote takes place, and Republican senators, including Flake, have said they saw nothing in the report that added to or supported the allegations, at least so far.

But ahead of the full floor vote, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled for Saturday, some in the media indicated that the #MeToo movement may now be stuck with the standards it helped set in the fight over Kavanaugh.

“As women bravely come forward with their own stories of sexual assault in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearing, #MeToo stands on the precipice of a dangerous transition from individual and evidence-backed justice to politically charged revenge," wrote conservative commentator Tiana Lowe in an Oct. 2 article for Politico magazine. "If a woman’s heartfelt allegation alone is grounds to disavow Kavanaugh, then Democrats should have no problem believing Juanita Broaddrick’s assertion that Bill Clinton raped her."

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty acknowledged that one lesson from the Kavanaugh episode is that not every accusation will stick, but then worried that this might mean a step back for the movement.

“[T]he real question should be: What have we learned since [the Clinton years]?” Tumulty wrote Wednesday. “One thing is that women who make these charges deserve a serious, respectful hearing. Another is that not every accusation is going to prove credible, or even produce any kind of resolution at all. … Real progress is happening and no doubt will continue to. But the gains are proving fragile.”