On the front page of Saturday’s New York Times, reporter Catie Edmondson concerned herself with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is evidently being dragooned into defending President Trump against impeachment the way he stuck up for Judge Brett Kavanaugh: “Prodded by the Right, Graham Joins the Impeachment Battle.”
Judging by her choice of adjectives in these passages, Edmondson has not gotten over Kavanaugh’s success in earning a seat on the Supreme Court, defeating a desperate smear campaign by Democrats and liberal activists thanks in no small part to Graham’s aggressive defense.
She did note Graham loves Biden: “video recently surfaced of Mr. Graham choking up as he referred to the former vice president being ‘as good a man as God ever created.’”
That is not the Lindsey Graham conservatives care to hear from these days. Many of them are openly pining for the kind of performance — red-faced, blustery and unapologetic — that he gave during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett M. Kavanaugh, when he declared the proceedings “the most unethical sham” he had ever seen in politics.
“This Lindsey Graham stopped a bloodthirsty, farcical attack from the Left on our nation’s most honored institutions,” Benny Johnson, the chief creative officer at Turning Point USA, a right-wing student organization, wrote on Twitter last month, posting a video of Mr. Graham’s Kavanaugh tirade. “Lindsey crushed these attacks. Do it again Lindsey.”
Those are very interesting word choices for Graham’s righteous anger in defense of the embattled Kavanaugh during the Judiciary Committee hearings, when Kavanaugh was confronted by vague accusations of sexual assault from over 30 years ago from Christine Blasey Ford, when they were both teenagers. She didn’t add the context that Graham was angry because he had graciously escorted Obama’s nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on to the high court without accusing them of raping anyone in high school without evidence.
One can’t imagine a Times reporter accusing a Democratic politician of going on a “red-faced…tirade” in favor of abortion rights or Trump impeachment.
Edmondson often assumes the worst about conservative men being accused of wrongdoing in her reporting, such as her previous hostile reporting on Kavanaugh from September 2018 when she cowrote a lead story that reveled in the unsubstantiated left-wing sliming of Kavanaugh’s “clean-cut” image: “But even as Judge Kavanaugh was defending his integrity, the hits on his once clean-cut image kept coming….”
Later, she wrote a boosterish article for (former) North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, crediting her increased campaign fundraising to her stand against Kavanaugh (Heitkamp would lose re-election badly several days later).
This summer, Edmondson went after conservative Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan after a report from Ohio State University into sexual abuse of members of the wrestling program. Jordan served as an assistant wrestling coach during the time period under investigation. Jordan wasn’t condemned in the report, but she did her best to stir up controversy anyway, doling out hints of small-town conservative hypocrisy in snarky fashion:
Voters in this small town, a camera-ready county seat cut from the mold of a 1960s-era television set, believe in their congressman….His conservative constituents, by dint of the gerrymandered contours of his district, were all but predestined to support him….If the residents of Urbana see themselves as a modern-day Mayberry, then many have built up Mr. Jordan as their morally unimpeachable sheriff.