Many news organizations have disgraced themselves over these last few weeks in the unlovely quest for peccadillos in Brett Kavanaugh’s youth, but the New York Times has outshone the rest. A story on October 2 brought us finally to the point of self-parody. The lede was breathtaking in its silliness: “As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.”

The Times found a police report of a barroom incident in New Haven, which had been described by a classmate, Chad Ludington, but it is not at all clear from the report what Kava-naugh’s role was. Based on a police report, what’s known for sure is that Kavanaugh was at a bar with friends in 1985 and that some kind of mayhem broke out, either because Kavanaugh threw ice at another guy or something else, and that the police were called. There was no record of any arrests.

So he threw ice.

The point, of course, is to build the case that Kavanaugh was prone to drunkenness. Not that the Times or anybody else cares if he drank too much in college, but Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh and a friend were drunk when the former assaulted her, and the picture Ludington paints of an often drunkenly belligerent Kavanaugh would seem to buttress Ford’s claim. Just so do conspiracy theorists search for data points that confirm the truth of their cockamamie narratives.

Perhaps the surest sign that we are in the realm of partisan journalistic hackery is that one of the two coauthors of the Times story is the avowedly left-wing and virulently pro-choice Emily Bazelon. Her lefty opinions wouldn’t disqualify Bazelon from writing the piece (though one might have thought her editors at the Times would assign someone else to such a politically sensitive story), but Bazelon has put herself on record as emphatically opposing the Kavanaugh nomination. On July 9, the night President Donald Trump announced his choice of Kavanaugh, she tweeted: “As a [Yale Law] grad & lecturer, I strongly disassociate myself from tonight’s praise of Brett Kavanaugh. With respect, he’s a 5th vote for a hard-right turn on voting rights and so much more that will harm the democratic process & prevent a more equal society.”

When Bazelon posted her Times story on Twitter on Monday, she prefaced it with the observation, “No report of an arrest. Could have been expunged, I’m told.” We wonder how Kavanaugh is supposed to prove that a record of his arrest in 1985 wasn’t expunged. Maybe he can work on that while he proves he didn’t expose himself to female Yalies and take part in a gang-rape ring.