Kirsten Powers is a left-wing columnist for USA Today and television commentator at CNN. So no one was going to be surprised that she opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
And given her past experience with sexual assault, no one could fault her sympathetic tilt towards the allegations and testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
But neither Powers’ experiences, nor her reputation as a known left-winger excuses what was one of the most intellectually stunted and factually challenged tweets you’re ever going to read. Angered by what appears to be the impending confirmation of Kavanaugh despite all the delay tactics of the media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) these past few weeks, Powers took to Twitter to vent.
Pointing to Republican Senator Coburn’s reference to the character Atticus Finch from the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, Powers groused:
“False rape accusations are so common that the only example the GOP could come up with was a fictional character from a 1960 novel.”
To say that tweet didn’t age well would be ignoring the fact that it was so bad, it got destroyed before it ever had a chance to age. The responses began pouring in to Ms. Powers with examples that came from days far more recent than 1960:
- Susan Shannon’s false rape accusation
- Crystal Mangum’s false rape accusation
- Wanetta Gibson’s false rape accusation
- VanDyke Perry and Gregory Counts’ accuser’s false rape accusation
- Tawana Brawley’s false rape accusation
- ‘Jackie’ of UVA’s false rape accusation
- Poria Edalat, Saman Edalat, Sina Edalat, and Ali Badkoobehi’s accuser’s false rape accusation
- Emma Sulkowicz’s false rape accusation
And those were just the beginning. Powers’ humiliation was so thorough, so rapid, so profound that she couldn’t even pretend she wasn’t noticing. Instead, she doubled down:
“Do conservatives really believe that I have said that false rape claims ‘never happen’? I said they were exceedingly rare – which is the case, so please stop arguing with me about something I never said.”
It is true that she didn’t say that false rape claims ‘never happen.’ So it wouldn’t be right to argue with her about saying such a thing. Of course, those who were providing her examples of false rape accusations weren’t suggesting that she said they never happen. So it isn’t really right for Powers to try to deflect from her embarrassment by arguing about something no one was saying to her. (How’s that for confusing).
Here’s the truth: Powers stated that the only example the GOP could come up with of a false rape accusation was one in a novel from 1960. It didn’t take more than a couple moments before those associated with the GOP came up with a large number of others.
It’s fine to be loyal to your tribe. It’s fine to stick to your convictions. It’s fine to err on the side of your personal biases. But it’s not fine to say something epically dumb and then keep pretending it wasn’t when you aren’t fooling, well, everyone.