Reporter Kate Snow stumbled and bumbled when asked the question
As Neon Nettle reported last week, NBC News sat on crucial evidence that would have supported clearing Justice Brett Kavanaugh from the absurd allegations that he engaged in gang rapes when he was in high school.
Reporter Kate Snow stumbled and bumbled her way trying to explain why such evidence was suppressed.
“News value was limited,” Snow explained this weekend.
Snow authored an Oct. 25 article focusing on then unreported inconsistencies in a signed declaration from a woman who a celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti claimed maintained could corroborate his client Julie Swetnick’s accusation.
The report came out the same day Senate Judiciary Committee declared it had referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
Along with looking like what seemed to be a defensive reaction to the DOJ referral, the Oct. 25 report made NBC’s already outrageous Kavanaugh coverage look even worse.
According to Washington Examiner: The report also rendered NBC’s decision to air a one-on-one interview on Oct. 2 between Snow and Swetnick even more incomprehensible and unforgivable than it already was.
Snow’s Oct. 25 follow-up article showed she and her team knew as early as Sept. 30 of serious inconsistencies and flaws in one of the chief allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.
She even reported that Avenatti himself tried on Oct. 3 to “thwart” the “reporting process” and apparently placed words in the mouth of his supposed witness.
NBC knew by Oct. 4 that the Swetnick allegation was a deliberate or deranged lie but said nothing for more than three weeks.
I contacted NBC last week and asked how it justified sitting on what it knew about the mistakes in Avenatti’s story in the days leading up to the Senate’s Oct. 6 vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
Though Snow refused to respond to me directly, she took a crack at defending herself via social media.
“Important context to me and [senior NBC producer Anna Schecter’s] story regarding a second woman Michael Avenatti put forward to corroborate Julie Swetnick’s claims about Brett Kavanaugh,” she tweeted Saturday.
“My interview with Ms. Swetnick aired on October 1. She was making serious claims, so we took care to provide viewers the full context around her allegations and our reporting with a 13+ min piece.”
She added, “We also made clear – in the interest of full transparency – that NBC News had not been able to independently verify her claims. After repeated requests to Avenatti for corroboration of Swetnick’s story, he had conferenced us into a call with a woman. The day after our Swetnick [interview] aired, Mr. Avenatti tweeted out a sworn statement from that other woman. It was inconsistent with what she had told us.”
None of this absolves NBC from airing an interview with a woman whose story the network could not verify in any capacity. But it gets worse.
“By the time we were able to find the woman independently from Mr. Avenatti, who declined to give us her full legal name and phone number and fully report and vet her story, the Kavanaugh confirmation process was over and the news value was limited,” Snow tweeted this weekend [emphasis added].
They concluded there was “limited” “news value” to a story showing a woman and her attorney almost certainly engaged in a conspiracy to defame and derail the confirmation hearing of a now-seated Supreme Court justice?
Snow and her team didn’t think the differences between the Oct. 2 sworn statement issued by Avenatti versus what the second woman told NBC on Sept. 30 were worth reporting at the time?
Snow and her team didn’t think Avenatti’s alleged attempt on Oct. 3 to “thwart the reporting process” held any news value during the height of the Kavanaugh confirmation battle?
Snow’s tweet thread concluded, “To be clear – we did NOT have enough reporting to publish the second woman’s account until after Justice Kavanaugh secured enough votes for confirmation.
When Senator Grassley cited my interview with Swetnick this week when making a criminal referral, the second woman’s story became newsworthy again, so we published right away.”
“We always want to be clear and fully transparent around our reporting, and that’s what we’re doing here,” she added.
I theorized last week that NBC shelved the Avenatti inconsistencies out of professional embarrassment.
I also hinted they chose to report the story on Oct. 25 because they were trying to get ahead of DOJ investigation, which will most likely uncover Avenatti’s communications with the network.