If you thought we were past the press' uniquely irresponsible coverage of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Washington Post is here to disabuse you of that notion.
The newspaper reported this weekend that the judge’s knock-down, drag-out nomination fight, which included a four-week media feeding frenzy sparked by unverified allegations of sexual misconduct, has damaged his alma mater so badly that it is now searching for an alumni relations director to soften the bad press.
"The elite Bethesda school, attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, posted a job listing this week for a director of alumni relations," the Post originally reported.
The only problem? Georgetown Prep began the search for a director of alumni relations back in July, months before the judge’s high school yearbook and teenage hijinks became the focus of obsessive — but fleeting — news media scrutiny.
If you can believe it, the story’s author, Emily Heil, was told of the date of the job posting in an email correspondence with a Georgetown Prep spokesman prior to publication, and she managed to bungle the story anyway. She claimed later she scanned her notes too quickly. It’s just crazy that all the botched Kavanaugh reporting works against him. A real mystery! Couldn't be immense bad faith on the part of multiple journalists and editors or anything like that.
Heil asked Georgetown Prep spokesman Patrick Coyle specifically about when the alumni relations job was posted, according to an email posted to social media this weekend by user @AG_Conservative.
“Just thought it was interesting, given all the attention that your alums have been getting recently,” the Post reporter emailed. “I wondered if the job had been posted before or after the Kavanaugh hearings, and anything else you can tell me about it.”
Coyle responded immediately in a brief email that noted the job “posted in July 2018.”
From there, Heil managed somehow to write and publish the following opening paragraphs:
When graduates of your school are getting name-checked on “Saturday Night Live,” (oh, hey there P.J., Timmy and Squi!) it might be time to ... um, reach out to them, maybe?
Seems Georgetown Prep thinks so: The elite Bethesda school, famously attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, is advertising for a director of alumni relations. According to the want ad, the Jesuit high school is looking for someone to take on the role of “identifying, engaging and cultivating alumni.”
Coyle emailed the Post reporter and her editors twice after publication, requesting they correct the error.
The Post obliged by merely adding a correction that reads, “A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Georgetown Prep posted a job listing this week for a director of alumni relations. The school began advertising for the position in July.”
With the exception of removing "this week," the story’s opening paragraphs remain unchanged. There’s the same stuff about how mentions on "Saturday Night Live" have pushed Georgetown Prep into searching for a public relations official, which is not an accurate representation of the timeline.
Weirdly enough, after her false reporting became the target of sustained criticism this weekend, Heil maintained she would’ve written the story even if she had noticed that the job was posted before Kavanaugh was accused (with no corroborating evidence or testimony) of misconduct.
“I would have written the item no matter the date the job was posted,” said the reporter who works for Post’s ironically named “Reliable Source” blog.
That seems ... unlikely, as her error was the only thing that made the item interesting. If she began from the position that the job was posted back in July, then what exactly is her story? That a preparatory school in the greater Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area decided before scandal came knocking that it would hire a director of alumni relations? What a scoop.