After weeks of radio silence, CNN and other left-leaning media outlets finally pumped oxygen into the persistent sexual assault allegation against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Tara Reade, a former senate aide to Biden in the early 1990s, was, until this week, a mostly unspoken name across mainstream media outlets.
Reade claims that Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked for him in 1993 in addition to making inappropriate comments and touching her without consent throughout her time on Capitol Hill. She shared graphic details of the alleged incident last month during interviews with NPR and The Hill.
Unlike media reaction in 2018 after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in the 1980s, however, the press steered clear of Reade's allegation against Biden. Conservative outlets followed Reade's story and quickly pointed out the major hypocrisy being shown by the media's choice to attack a conservative Supreme Court nominee and completely shield a Democratic presidential candidate.
The New York Times published a highly controversial look into Reade's accusations earlier this month, in which they claimed to have found no evidence of wrong-doing by Biden. The article, and subsequent promotional tweets, were edited to ultimately delete any mention of Biden's long history of being overly physical with women. However, the Times at no point said that Biden was innocent of the charge from Reade, just that they were neither able to confirm nor deny Reade's story.
While Biden himself has totally avoided discussion of the allegation from Reade, his campaign has vehemently denied the accusation. The campaign also distributed talking points to everyone working on the campaign which included mention of the article by the New York Times as being exhaustive research that proved Biden's innocence beyond question. Buzzfeed reported on the content of the talking points as distributed by Democratic operatives close to the Biden campaign.
Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed ... In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.
Here’s the bottom line. Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House. There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.
The New York Times, however, did not feel that their research was as exculpatory as the campaign memo claimed, saying the talking points provided to the staff "inaccurately" represented their investigative findings. A Wednesday statement from the Times was far less than an endorsement of Biden's innocence.
Buzzfeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation 'did not happen.' Our investigation made no conclusion either way. As Buzzfeed correctly reported, our story found three former Senate aides whom Reade said she complained to contemporaneously, all of whom either did not remember the incident or said that it did not happen.
The story also included former interns who remembered Reade suddenly changing roles and no longer overseeing them, which took place during the same time period that Reade said she was abruptly reassigned. The Times also spoke to a friend who said Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time; another friend and Reade’s brother say she told them of a traumatic sexual incident involving Biden
Though the Times has done no backtracking on their story and even made edits at the behest of the Biden campaign just after publication, the statement from the newspaper on Wednesday signals a possible end to print media protection of Joe Biden. The presumed Democratic nominee for president is now facing a greater problem when it comes to Tara Reade.
Things turned this week at CNN after two discoveries buoyed the legitimacy of Reade's accusation against Biden. A 1993 call made to Larry King Live by a woman believed to be the mother of Tara Reade asked for advice for her daughter, a Capitol Hill staffer who had a damning story about a prominent senator. Then a neighbor of Reade's from that time period came forward to say that she, too, had heard Reade's account of the incident in question. This headline appeared on the CNN website on Monday, after more than a month of near-total silence: "Why Joe Biden needs to personally address Tara Reade's allegations."
The article was followed by several others on CNN's website and, on Tuesday night, primetime hosts Erin Burnett and Don Lemon both covered the accusations as well. Though MSNBC, CBS News, ABC News, and NBC News have still ignored the story, CNN's about-face on the accusations signaled a change in tide for Biden.
Erin Burnett never disappoints. Tonight, Erin had a segment on her show detailing the sexual assault allegations made by Tara Reade against Joe Biden. Her show is one of the few outlets talking about this story. @ErinBurnett @ReadeAlexandra #MeToo pic.twitter.com/DpveZDVH09— The Daily Angle (@thedailyangle) April 29, 2020
CNN's Don Lemon grills Stacey Abrams on Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 29, 2020
“I believe Joe Biden... I know Joe Biden and I think that he is telling the truth, and that this did not happen.” pic.twitter.com/3tIjU6hKdh
As the evidence mounts against Joe Biden, it stands to reason that he must answer to the allegations personally, not just through his campaign team. From the friendly confines of his home basement studio and every prominent Democrat lining up to slap his back with their proud endorsement, Biden might feel that this story will pass or be buried by continued coverage of the Wuhan coronavirus. As a major presidential candidate, however, he should prepare to answer questions that weren't approved by his staff and rehearsed before a virtual town hall.
In a Tuesday town hall meant to address women's issues, Biden missed the opportunity to address his supporters and critics with a personal defense against Reade's allegations. He chose instead to ignore the looming crisis and tell cooky stories about Scranton, PA, and flout his softball endorsement from Hillary Clinton. Each day, Reade's story gains more visibility and Biden's wish that the accusation will simply disappear is diminished.
He should prepare to answer the American public when they ask him if he assaulted Tara Reade and expect that the media's shield will fall. He claims to be an advocate for women, now is his time to prove the legitimacy of his character.