The Media’s Loudest #MeToo Champions Are Ignoring Biden Sexual Assault Accuser Tara Reade
The silence from the media’s loudest #MeToo champions has been deafening. There has been exactly zero coverage of sexual allegations against Joe Biden on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ABC or CBS. Likewise, The New York Times and USA Today and have failed to discuss it.
(By: Alan Macleod, Mintpress News) Have you heard about the Joe Biden allegations? If you’re relying on corporate media for your information, the answer is “probably not.” As of April 8, there has been exactly zero coverage of the sexual assault allegations on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ABC or CBS News. Likewise, The New York Times and USA Today and have failed to discuss it. Meanwhile, the only mentions of Reade’s name in The Washington Post appear as a paragraph buried thousands of words into a long news roundup and an unscripted question from a reader in a live Q&A session.
After Bernie Sanders pulled out of the race today, Joe Biden appears to be the Democrats’ man for November. However, the former vice president’s past is again coming back to bite him; in an interview with writer and podcast host Katie Halper, his former staff assistant Tara Reade accused the then-senator of sexually assaulting her in the Capitol Building in 1993. “It happened all at once,” she said.
He just had me up against the wall…. His hands were on me and underneath my clothes. He went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers.
According to Reade, “Everything shattered in that moment… I looked up to him… He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal.” As she forced him away, he said, “I thought you liked me,” before adding, “you’re nothing to me… You’re nothing.”
The allegations, if true, meet the legal definition of rape in the United States. Halper contacted Reade’s brother and friend, who both confirmed that Reade had told them about the event in 1993.
Biden’s team categorically deny the accusations. “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” said Kate Bedingfield, the former vice president’s deputy campaign manager and communications director. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
The allegations were immediately picked up in alternative media like Democracy Now!. Conservative press, such as The Daily Wire, who had dismissed similar charges against right-wing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as “obviously bogus” and a “witch-hunt,” also appeared interested in the story, although it misspelled Halper’s name as “Harper.” Reade’s story went viral, with “#IBelieveTara” becoming the No. 1 hashtag in the United States. But it was barely even mentioned in the mainstream press.
What makes their silence more notable is that many of these outlets present themselves as allies of the #MeToo movement. Indeed, only last month, while celebrating the conviction of Harvey Weinstein, The New York Times editorial board bemoaned “how difficult it can be to bring abusers to justice, particularly when they are wealthy and powerful,” decrying the “basic mistrust of women alleging sexual assault.” The Washington Post’s editorial board behaved similarly, stating that “we hope the bravery of these women coming forward to tell their stories under terrifying circumstances — and the fact that they were believed — will empower others who have been victimized.” But not this time, apparently.
Reade first came forward last spring in a wave of other women accusing the former vice president of inappropriate behavior. The Times went on the offensive, denouncing the “media frenzy” and the “obsession with a specific set of gotcha issues.” An article called “In Biden’s Defense” brushed away the allegations; “Biden’s ‘handsiness’ is a bit strange,” wrote columnist David Leonhardt, but it “should not become a defining issue for his likely campaign.” Leonhardt also condemned the “shameful” media “piling on” about something as trivial as “sometimes unwanted affectionate touches.”