Fair and balanced, or not at all?

Brett Kavanaugh was as calm as could be expected at the Senate hearing Sept. 27, for someone who has been publicly accused and convicted without proof of assault, rape and exposure.

The people who have been truly hysterical throughout all this are not Kavanaugh or Christine Ford, but the media, especially The New York Times. Their parsing of Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook in a desperate search for evidence of bad character takes investigative journalism to a new low.

Ford was petted and praised at the hearing. She was treated with deference by Democrats, kid gloves by Republicans. She and her lawyers had demanded low-key treatment, even specifying the number of cameras and breaks, before she would agree to appear.

Kavanaugh, by contrast, asked for and received no favors, just the chance to defend himself. He had no lawyers at each side. He was bullied, goaded, hectored and derided by the Democrats. They even tried to trick him into questioning Ford’s veracity, which would have been fatal.

Republicans were on his side of course, but neither they nor their proxy, Rachel Mitchell, dared to openly question the credibility of Ford’s story in defending him. Indignation was all that was left.

Welcome to the new judicial system: You can only play hardball with the man, not the woman. Don’t show a whiff of disbelief for her story, only his. If possible, have the accused male go first, then accusations from the female follow, with no rebuttal. Just like the Inquisition, as Professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out. Believe her, convict him. Proof optional. This is getting closer to the “fairness” Anita Hill demands.

Same thing goes throughout the media. “Saturday Night Live” skewered Kavanaugh. Don’t wait up for them to do the same to Ford.

Funny, but put me down instead for “presumed innocent.” The accuser has to prove her case, not the accused prove his innocence. Even in a job interview.

As for who’s believable, you certainly can’t believe Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She and the FBI could have investigated this whole matter last summer and still protected Ford’s identity. But she didn’t want to waste that bullet prematurely or in private session.

There are valid reasons to question Ford too. It wasn’t necessarily “attempted rape,” as she calls it. It might have been a very bad make-out attempt on the boy’s part. And even if she honestly thought she was in danger of losing her life, neither involuntary asphyxiation nor attempted rape is necessarily an accurate description of the incident.

She also described Kavanaugh and Mark Judge as stumbling drunk, bouncing off walls and tumbling off the bed. Sounds like they were nearly comatose rag dolls with little motor control. Yet she also claims they “corralled” her into the room, locked the door, turned up the music, pinned her down and covered her mouth. Sounds like pretty sober aforethought and control of their faculties. And of course no one she named even remembers the party.

If the FBI doesn’t turn up anything, Democrats and the press already have a new reason why Kavanaugh can’t be on the court. He was too angry at the hearing. He lacks judicial temperament and has a bias against Democrats that would harm the integrity of the court for decades. As if the bias of the current members, left and right, isn’t already doing that.

Some college professors say Kavanaugh would leave a cloud of uncertainty over the court. I’d be more worried about the cloud of uncertainty over colleges that conduct kangaroo courts and deny basic rights to the accused. Remember “Mattress Girl?”

Ford was more likeable than Kavanaugh, but that proves nothing. Ford’s claim that she’s just doing her “civic duty” is a bit rich too, especially surrounded by Democratic party lawyers and activists.

If Kavanaugh does get on the court, the next Democratic president can always try like FDR to pack it with more left-leaning members. Once that gets started, however, we’d eventually end up with more Supreme Court justices than members of Congress.

Mark Godburn is a bookseller in Norfolk and the author of “Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets” (2016).