By James Barraford
Tara Reade, a former staffer of Vice President Joe Biden, accused the presumptive Democratic nominee of sexual assault March 23.
She described being forced against a wall and sexually assaulted by then Sen. Biden in 1993. As far as how she recounted her alleged ordeal, nothing screamed out to me that she was dishonest. Her voice conveyed sincerity.
The New York Times took 19 days to publish an article on the matter.
The article, “Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden,” covers the details of the allegations, denials from Biden’s team, various posts she made that were pro-Putin, and her eventual support of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the California primaries.
“She said her decision to come forward had nothing to do with politics or helping Sen. Sanders, and said neither his campaign nor the Trump campaign had encouraged her to make her allegation,” reported the Times.
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start o. with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real,” Biden said in regard to sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, addressed the issue in the paper. He explained that it took 19 days for the paper to report on the Biden allegations because they needed to do the proper research.
I don’t buy it. No one is expecting the Times to have a well-researched article form out of thin air. Yet 19 days seems really drawn out for a story that had been widely discussed in online publications.
The former vice president is a public figure and even the remotest allegation from a former aide in 1993, in the age of #MeToo, should have been reported in the context of a public social event to maintain consistency.
The Times even did a stealth edit on the report. There was no published correction. Below is the originally published statement compared with the stealth edit.
“No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable,” the Times originally reported.
“No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden,” reads the statement with the stealth-edit.
Baquet claims they did not post an update because it was not a factual error.
“I think that the [Biden] campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct,” Baquet said.
I think the original statement was very clear. It found no other sexual assault allegations, but
acknowledged Biden’s propensity to invade women’s personal space. I think Times readers have the discernment to know the difference between a crime and making someone uncomfortable.
The Times should have followed their initial instincts instead of taking editorial advice from a
By all means do a proper investigation but the fact that not even CNN would discuss the allegation is a little fishy. It seems like a media black out coming from my point of view.
I am not going to act like I know with certainty if Reade is a liar or not. I am not going to comb through her tweets to discredit her as a shadowy Russian agent.
The vast majority of women who come forward with tragic stories of sexual trauma only want justice.
I have doubts about Reade. I also never underestimate the ability of powerful people or institutions to stonewall inconvenient facts.
This is the danger of allowing presidential candidates editing advice. It automatically looks ethically questionable even if there was no negative intent.