MSNBC Analyst: The Media Has Done Good, 'Rigorous' Reporting on Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation

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Posted: May 01, 2020 10:40 AM

MSNBC analyst John Heilemann praised the media for their handling of the sexual assault allegation made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Heilemann said the media has been "pretty good" on the subject and specifically praised the New York Times for the "rigorous" story they did on the allegation.

"I think that, so far, the news media has been pretty good on this, which is to say, the New York Times took its time and did a lengthy and rigorous examination of this. It is the case that, earlier this week, there was reporting that the Biden campaign had circulated talking points, which were — which then it retracted. It circulated talking points among surrogates, which contained a blatant misstatement about that New York Times report. The talking points said that surrogates should say the New York Times had concluded there was nothing to these allegations, when, in fact, the New York Times reporting didn’t conclude it. It didn’t conclude the opposite either," Heilemann said.

"I think that, so far, the press has not rushed in on this. So far, responsible news organizations seem to have been doing pretty rigorous reporting on this," he continued.

The Times report has been criticized for not being too in-depth on Reade's charge and for taking a sentence out of the story, about other times Biden has made women uncomfortable, at the request of his presidential campaign.

Indeed, members of the media have not rushed to look into Reade's allegation. In fact, Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was able to do 19 interviews, 142 questions in total, within the span of five weeks without being asked about the allegation, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Reade's claims were made public on March 24 and Biden did not directly address it until May 1, when he released a statement before appearing on "Morning Joe" to discuss the matter.

Biden denied Reade's accusation, saying, "It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened."

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