If you missed in on Friday, some new evidence turned up related to the sexual assault allegation a former Senate staffer lodged against Joe Biden. We've already written at length about the accusation, focusing specifically on the media's outrageous handling of it -- especially compared to the feeding frenzy in which they hungrily engaged during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation firestorm (The New York Times' excuse for the disconnect is quite literally laughable). We already knew that there was more contemporaneous evidence to buttress the allegation against Biden than Christine Blasey Ford ever produced. Then this new strain of information arrived, via The Intercept:
If this holds up, there will be more contemporaneous evidence for Tara Reade's accusations against Joe Biden than for Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh. https://t.co/ITHugb60My— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) April 24, 2020
Reade has claimed to various media outlets, including The Intercept, that she told her mother, a close friend, and her brother about both the harassment and, to varying degrees of detail, the assault at the time. Her brother, Collin Moulton, and her friend, who has asked to remain anonymous, both confirmed that they heard about the allegations from Reade at the time. Reade’s mother died in 2016, but both her brother and friend also confirmed Reade had told her mother, and that her mother, a longtime feminist and activist, urged her to go to the police. In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill. Reade told The Intercept that her mother called in asking for advice after Reade, then in her 20s, left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade told me.
Reade couldn’t remember the date or the year of the phone call, and King didn’t include the names of callers on his show. I was unable to find the call, but mentioned it in an interview with Katie Halper, the podcast host who first aired Reade’s allegation. After the podcast aired, a listener managed to find the call and sent it to The Intercept. On August 11, 1993, King aired a program titled, “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?” Toward the end of the program, he introduces a caller dialing in from San Luis Obispo, California. Congressional records list August 1993 as Reade’s last month of employment with Biden’s Senate office, and, according to property records, Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, was living in San Luis Obispo County...Reade, after being read the transcript of the call, said that it gelled with her memory of it, and, after the video was surfaced, confirmed it is her mother’s voice on the call. “Aww, I have not heard my mom’s voice in awhile,” she said.
Here is the video:
#BREAKING: HERE is the video from August 11,1993's 'Larry King Live' described by @TheIntercept (and Tara Reade) as allegedly featuring her mother calling in and alluding to Reade's sexual assault claims against @JoeBiden (blog here by @ScottJW) https://t.co/fCgEqBnX7n pic.twitter.com/V5FGHskv56— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2020
Reade tweeted that the voice on the call belonged to her mother. Does this amount to an overwhelming case against Biden? No, not in my opinion. In at least one previous interview, Reade described being targeted with harassment and other touching, but the alleged actions fell short of bona fide sexual assault. She has since modified her recollection in a more serious direction. She attributes the discrepancy to initial embarrassment to tell strangers the extent of what happened, which is entirely plausible. But the shifting story is at least a potential red flag, and if the shoe were on the other ideological foot, many conservatives would likely cite Reade's changing account as a blow to her credibility. Reason's Robby Soave has been writing about this case for more than a month, and he believes the old CNN clip strengthens Reade's case that something untoward happened. But 'something' and 'sexual assault' are not necessarily synonymous:
This makes it somewhat more likely that Tara Reade's sexual *harassment* complaint was genuine, though it doesn't do much for the assault component. Can't help but think many in media would have cited it as proof positive in more convenient circumstances https://t.co/e6HKVVqTly— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) April 24, 2020
Let's be absolutely clear: Even before the "Larry King Live" development was uncovered, Reade had already furnished more contemporaneous evidence backing her story than Ford ever did in the Kavanaugh contretemps. Reade produced three people she told at the time; Ford's top witness did not corroborate her story, and eventually admitted that she does not believe her friend's tale, noting that she was pressured to lie by Ford's allies. It's an established fact that Reade worked for Biden on Capitol Hill; there was never any evidence produced that Ford and Kavanaugh ever met. Nevertheless, extremely serious allegations require strong evidence, and it's nearly impossible to confirm what did or did not happen more than two decades ago (absent a discovery of the written complaint Reade says she filed at the time, and even then, that would simply be an allegation).
The presumption of innocence, and the need for compelling evidence, are core values in our system, and they should apply equally to Kavanaugh and Biden. But that's not the standard Biden espoused back in 2018, nor is it how the Kavanaugh accusations were treated by the mainstream media. Not even close. This is what the former vice president said amid the SCOTUS battle royale:
Joe Biden: When a woman alleges sexual assault, presume she is telling the truthhttps://t.co/8B1VqmMt8e— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) April 12, 2020
Former vice president Joe Biden is weighing in on the sexual assault debate. While speaking to reporters at a reception at the residence of the Irish Ambassador to the U.S. on Monday, Biden said that any woman’s claims of sexual assault should be assumed to be true.
The 'believe all women' mantra has all but vanished among many preening Democratic partisans and self-righteous media figures. Have we heard a peep from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats? Astoundingly, in spite of the seriousness of the allegation, the growing contemporaneous evidence, and his own stance on presuming female accusers are telling the truth, Biden has not been directly asked about Reade's claims in any of the dozens of interviews he's done over the last month. His campaign put out a simple denial and successfully pressured The New York Times to soften its coverage. If only Kavanaugh had thought of that. Some in the media have finally been dragged kicking and screaming into providing some coverage of this controversy, but it's taken an enormous amount of prodding and shaming -- and it's quite evident that their collective heart isn't in it. They don't want to hurt the cause.
With a bit of a drumbeat finally building, Biden took a pass on the Sunday shows yesterday, possibly because he and his team are exploring how best to handle the Reade situation. I wouldn't be surprised if they were quietly polling on it, although focus groups may be a challenge these days. But so far, their damage control has been very easy, thanks to journalists' overwhelming incuriosity on the subject. Rapid response is easier when the media is your rapid response. None of the Biden supporters who appeared on yesterday's shows were asked a single question about the matter -- including Speaker Pelosi and three women widely reported to be in Biden's running mate orbit. You'd think a question or two would be a no-brainer, but in reality, the accusations and new evidence generated a grand total of zero mentions on all five networks' Sunday programs:
Welp... pic.twitter.com/TP3gQN8O9O— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 26, 2020
It seems as though Democrats and their partners in the mainstream media -- who know full well what they were all saying in very recent political memory, about precisely this sort of scenario -- are in the process of trying to determine the least messy method of disposing of this problem. What is becoming abundantly clear is that their posturing during the Kavanaugh fight had nothing to do with supporting women or standing up for victims. It's so shameless and flagrant that fair-minded observers who aren't decidedly right-of-center cannot deny what's right in front of them:
A non-conservative friend (works in media) DM’d me about media/Dem (virtually one in the same IMO) handling of accusations against Kavanaugh vs Biden.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 25, 2020
Here’s his observation about @LindseyGrahamSC’s famous, impassioned speech during the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing, in retrospect: pic.twitter.com/vNSjO6vRuU
Conservatives understood what was happening to Kavanaugh, and why. It's now becoming screamingly obvious to others, which is partially why the cover-up has been so desperate. What a disgrace. I'll leave you with the trending hashtag #DropOutBiden, which has been zooming around far-left social media. I'm sure some of these people are troubled by what they're learning, but it's a safe bet that others see it as a power play in pursuit of their own ideological ends.
Editor's Note: Want to support Townhall so we can keep telling the truth about Joe Biden? Join Townhall VIP and use the promo code WUHAN to get 25% off VIP membership!