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The news media celebrated the #MeToo movement as righteously as they have embraced any cause in years. Until former Vice President Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault.
Then the whole narrative switched. News outlets ignored the story or if they did cover it, they covered it up.
None was more blatant about protecting the likely Democratic nominee than The New York Times. The paper had more than 1,700 mentions of #MeToo in 2019, according to Nexis. It’s mentioned Biden’s accuser Tara Reade just 18 times in 2020, and eight of those were versions of the same story about Hillary Clinton endorsing Biden.
According to the paper’s April 12 investigation, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.” Yet the paper also reported that, “Last year, Ms. Reade and seven other women came forward to accuse Mr. Biden of kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.”
The paper of record sat on the story as it gained traction in both left-wing and right-wing outlets. Then The Times came out with this detailed whitewash of the allegations, made far worse by the paper’s propagandist efforts to defend its own bad journalism. The paper “stealth-edited” the story according to Mediaite.
“Initially, the report stated there was no evidence of a pattern of misconduct by Biden “beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” That is now removed from the Times story,” Mediaite wrote. The Times also deleted a tweet with the same wording.
That wasn’t enough garbage journalism for The Times. It had to justify the whole horrendous episode to its readers. Media columnist Ben Smith interviewed his boss, executive editor Dean Baquet and actually asked him some key questions. That piece ran under the outlandish rationalization: “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.”
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said he wanted readers to “have all the information he or she needs to think about what to make of this thing.” Except they didn't.
Baquet admitted the story was changed to placate Biden’s campaign. Smith asked his boss about the deletion of this sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
Baquet defended it but with telling honesty: “Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, 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. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.”
He also defended not reporting the story initially. Baquet said he wanted readers to “have all the information he or she needs to think about what to make of this thing.”
Except they didn’t.
On April 24, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim reported about how “a new piece of evidence has emerged buttressing the credibility of Tara Reade’s claim that she told her mother about allegations of sexual harassment and assault related to her former boss, then-Sen. Joe Biden.”
That was a call-in interview with former CNN host Larry King. Reade’s mother Jeanette Altimus called King anonymously and asked what her daughter could do about problems with a “prominent senator” “besides go to the press in Washington.” That meant there was corroborating evidence from the time of the alleged attack, something the media never found when it tried to destroy Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Times didn’t mention that interview when it produced its analysis of the assault claim. So, either the paper’s team of intrepid reporters failed to find the call or deliberately didn’t bother. Incompetence or cover-up.
Given the paper’s one-sided coverage and its blatant hatred for President Donald Trump, it’s easy to believe either answer. One thing is certain, if Biden had an (R) after his name, this story would lead the paper’s front page every day.