The New York Times and Washington Post have finally run articles reporting on and attempting to debunk former Biden staffer Tara Reade’s March 25th claim that in 1993 then-Senator Joe Biden forced her up against a wall while she was on his staff, lifted her dress and used his fingers to penetrate her. The Times’ Executive Editor Dean Baquet explained to questions from one of his own staff that he didn’t believe the paper should just print the allegations when made because doing so would be a disservice because, as he put it, it was “a fairly serious allegation against a guy who had been a Vice President of the United States and was knocking on the door of being his party’s nominee” to run for the presidency. Baquet argued that simply reporting the allegations would not have helped his paper’s readers ‘understand what to make” of the charge.
Instead, he had his reporters look into it to assess the credibility of the charges and found them lacking in spite of the fact that she had told people in general terms about the assault back when it supposedly took place and in spite of the fact that when Biden announced his candidacy a number of women accused him of unwanted touching, kissing and familiarity they found uncomfortable. None of them, however, went as far as Reade, whose charges they nonetheless found less than credible in part for that reason alone.
None of this mattered to the Times when completely uncollaboratable charges surfaced during the Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court; In that instance, his paper ran with every allegation as soon as they surfaced, Most egregiously, the paper accepted as somehow legitimate the preposterous story of a woman introduced to the media by the smarmy Michael Avanatti who claimed with no evidence whatever that the future Supreme Court nominee took part in a “gang rape” on the very day the charge was made, merely noting that it couldn’t be independently corroborated.
That was different, the Times now claims … and indeed it was … Judge Kavanaugh was a Republican appointee the paper wanted desperately to derail while Mr. Biden is a Democrat they hope will be able to unseat a president Mr. Baquet and his staffers despise. If anyone ever had any doubt about the Times’ motives then or now, a look at how the paper handled the two stories should remove that doubt. In the Kavanaugh case, the Times used unproved and ultimately discredited allegations to smear Mr. Kavanaugh while in Mr. Biden’s case reporters did what they could to discredit the charges before deigning to report them.
The paper never apologized for its treatment of Judge Kavanaugh, but never asked Mr. Biden about the charges against him. They may or may not hold up, but there is more to them than there were to the charges against Kavanaugh. Reade did work for the Senator in 1993 and complained at the time about his unwanted attention. Moreover, others have complained of the way he’s treated women then and in the years since.
When he declared for the presidency and met with the Times editorial board no one even asked him about the allegations against him at the time and in putting things “in context” for Times readers no, the paper didn’t confront Biden or seek real answers, but was satisfied with a statement from his campaign and, in fact, modified its story to satisfy the campaign.