All & # 39; beginning She said, the new book by New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey on their investigation of Harvey Weinstein, journalists describe how "he said, he said" the dynamics prevent the stories of abuse being published and taken seriously .
In addition, however, the authors suggest that telling stories through that prism does a poor service to the reader and limiting the conversation to a downward judgment and removing larger questions and gray areas.
Basically, there are ways to cover complex political accusations that harm themselves. Two new duo journalists from the New York Times: Kantor and Twohey and the minor Brett Kavanaugh Education – the book offers a look at these competing approaches.
Called "an instant classic of investigative journalism" and a substitute for journalism school, She said he was greeted with ecstatic applause at his release this month. With compelling details, Kantor and Twohey bring readers into their process: late-night drinks with sources to guarantee a trail of paper, discomfort at the doors of the victims, the irascible tug of war to try to get the most big names in Hollywood to go on the record, the attempts of the Hollywood magnate and his team of enablers to shut down journalists.
The book reads like a manual of good practices, driven by the desire to protect women who spoke to them and to see justice, knowing full well that allegations of sexual assault – difficult to prove due to their private nature and feelings of shame they can generate, in the sense of a lack of witnesses and often a lack of contemporary confirmatory accounts – can turn into a "he said, he said." Instead, Kantor and Twohey concentrated on settlements and flew around the world to speak to the sources. They are not afraid of revealing their discomfort or missteps, such as when one approached the husband of a potential source in his driveway and realized that he had revealed the outlines of a story that her husband had never heard before. They describe in detail each interaction they had with Weinstein, but it is mainly women – the sources, journalists, their editor – who are the subjects of the book.
She said honest and clear law – fascinating both for journalists and for those who want an answer to the question: how did these two journalists contribute to starting a revolution?
Released a week later, Brett Kavanaugh's education it couldn't be more different.
Internal mechanisms on display inside She said shows how complicated and stimulating an important investigation is to do well, and is particularly revealing to journalists-readers who have not published one on their own. It is possible that there is no book that will handle the nomination of Kavanaugh – an experience already charged – well and Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly report some new information. But the book is plagued by an approach that replicates the construct, "he said," without being able to ask the bigger questions about a company in the midst of enormous changes.
Where Kantor and Twohey present the key cultural context for their relationships – including the election of Donald Trump, who was accused of claims of sexual violence and harassment as a candidate, against a more experienced and prepared woman for the role – which is completely devoid of the book by Pogrebin and Kelly. When Christine Blasey Ford (alternatively referred to as Christine and Ford in all) decides to tell a friend what she claims Kavanaugh did to her, all those decades ago in high school, it's because her friend recently published on Facebook of his sex aggression from someone he knew. "There is nothing in the wave of anger – following accusations against and news of Weinstein – that has led many women to share their stories, to say" me too ".
What follows is a disconnected narrative that repeats the allegations "he said, he said." "What we tried to do is a little what we always do as journalists, which is looking for facts and putting them out there and letting people come to their own conclusions," Pogrebin told CNN.
But the facts they have found are few. The book seems to be missing from key people: Dianne Feinstein, the senator who handled Ford's initial complaint, issued a statement; Max Stier, who reported an alleged third incident in which Kavanaugh was allegedly exposed to a college party, did not speak in the report, although Kelly strongly insinuated that he spoke of the report; the woman in the middle of that incident didn't want to talk (although she did provide the authors with a statement on a separate issue, attesting to the character of Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of having exposed himself to her at a different party). They didn't talk to Kavanaugh and they were very public about trying to get him – although it didn't include any of those negotiations in the book. They talked to Ford, but they don't rely on her for the key moments in her fiction – citing, for example, her friend (male) to describe how Ford decided to tell her story to the Washington Post.
The book sparked a rage last week after an essay adapted from it was published in the New York Times Sunday Review. This started with the incomprehensible tweet, which suggested that having an penis unexpectedly stuck in the face was "harmless fun" and that the worst thing that resulted from sexual humiliation would be alienated in an Ivy League school. (After questioning the question at CNN, Pogrebin later admitted that he wrote it himself.)
But the piece brought a second wave of confusion and debate. The authors wrote that they could better confirm Ramirez's story – "At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez's mother, heard about the Yale accident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge." But then they describe in detail who those people were and how they found out what they knew: a friend Ramirez had told about the accident in the 90s; two men had heard of the incident, not by Ramirez; a man who listened to the story of one of those two men; Ramirez's mother, whose daughter had told her that something shocking had happened; and two men who "vaguely remember hearing about something happening in Ramirez during the freshman".
The piece also omitted a key phrase from the book: the woman at the center of the third incident told her friends she didn't remember and refused to talk about it. The Times later added this information to the piece.
In the middle, the Democratic presidential candidates demanded Kavanaugh's impeachment; trump called for all the people involved in the history of resigning. We were back in the territory, "he said," with everyone retreating into their frayed postures. The "facts" had done little to reveal the truth. "What we have seen," Pogrebin told CNN, "and I do not think we have even anticipated up to this point, is that people have grasped certain things and enlarged them for their own purposes."
Spread the "said, said" and let the readers decide for themselves the right way to go? Do you explain the case of Rudy Giuliani for corruption in Ukraine and the field of Joe Biden responds? Is that really how we come to the truth, particularly when a part – whether it's the Trump or Weinstein administration – has a deep understanding of that presumption and will use it to their advantage?
Kantor and Twohey declared themselves brilliantly in agreement on the non-disclosure agreements that Weinstein's victims had to sign, allowing them to present an airtight case. Many of the most complicated stories in our world leave no trace of documents. Ford supported his memories with the fact that he had spoken to his friends, as well as his therapist's notes. But how do you report a man who is a drunk asshole at parties and in a way that doesn't feed the "he said, he said"? That dynamic hurts women who tell their stories and damage progress in talking about women's experiences in general.
At the end, Brett Kavanaugh's education it becomes a book not about this revolutionary and confused moment but, intentionally or not, about believing in women who speak. "Not tried with is the story by Christine Blasey Ford – to use Martha's phrase – it sounds true", the authors write in their final chapter, referring to a saying often used by Kavanaugh's mother, also # 39; it judge. They describe how hasty and incomplete the FBI investigation was, but do not engage at all with the question of what would have happened if it were not so. The question here is bigger if the events of over 30 years ago have happened or not, is what to do with these difficult gray areas of #MeToo.
Perhaps some stories are not meant to be books – or not books presented as "an investigation", like Brett Kavanaugh's education is. Suppose, for a moment, that the accusations are all true: it would be difficult to find a woman who does not know the mediocre boy you avoided at parties, who made inappropriate jokes and was obsessed with his cock. What is extraordinary is how – however slowly and inadequately – society has changed so that, in these days, strength is defined by resisting that boy, rather than trying to laugh at his behavior to adapt to the crowd. And the modern debate, the one that inspires deep emotion, concerns what should happen now on these problems confused by then. Presenting the unsatisfactory, inconclusive, "he said," is like a thorough investigation that pushes you towards a definitive answer, if anything, it is a step backwards.