When Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in a September 2018 interview with The Washington Post, prominent Democrats and media organizations rushed to the story -- demanding answers and, in many cases, the end of Kavanaugh's career.
In the weeks after Tara Reade publicly charged in a podcast released March 25 that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, however, those same politicians and outlets have become either silent or equivocal -- even as mounting video and testimonial evidence from several sources corroborates Reade's claim, where Ford presented no contemporaneous support for her allegations.
A Fox News chronology, beginning the day of each accusation, shows the extent to which Reade's claims have been handled differently from Ford's.
Fox News has reached out to Democratic lawmakers for comment about Reade, but has not heard back. Similarly, not a single Democratic senator responded when The Daily Caller gave each lawmaker 24 hours to provide comment on Reade's allegations.
SEPT. 16, 2018
Within minutes of The Washington Post's story outlining Ford's claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party more than three decades earlier, The New York Times immediately publishes a story stating that Kavanaugh's nomination was "in turmoil." Ford presents no independently verifiable evidence that she had ever met Kavanaugh.
CNN also reports the news immediately with an article. And another (likening the news to the Anita Hill testimony). And another (describing the White House as mounting an "intense" effort to squash the accusation.) And another (describing a senator's assessments of how Kavanaugh's nomination would go forward). And another (describing how Democrats would push for a delay in Kavanaugh's confirmation vote.)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announces her opposition to Kavanaugh. “Supreme Court justices should not be an extension of the Republican Party," she says. "They must also have unquestionable character and integrity, and serious questions remain about Judge Kavanaugh in this regard, as indicated in information I referred to the FBI.” (Feinstein had first received Ford's accusations weeks earlier, but chose not to release them to investigators or the media until after Kavanaugh's initial confirmation hearings had concluded.)
Other Democratic lawmakers follow Feinstein's lead.
MARCH 25, 2020
“It happened all at once, and then … his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” Reade tells podcast host Katie Halper. “He said ‘come on, man, I heard you liked me. For me, it was like, everything shattered … I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.” Reade was a Senate staffer for Biden at the time.
Reade says she told her brother, Collin Moulton, as well as her mother and a friend about the incident at the time. Both Moulton and the friend confirmed Reade's account in interviews with The Intercept. (Reade's mother has died, but footage has emerged showing her calling into CNN at the time with a story about her daughter's problems with a prominent senator.)
Meanwhile, CNN wonders, "Why is Bernie Sanders still running for president?" The Reade claim is not mentioned on the network, either on-air or online.
The New York Times publishes a story explaining that Biden was growing "impatient" with the idea of more debates with Bernie Sanders. The Reade claim is not mentioned anywhere in the paper, which had slammed Republicans in August 2018 for "covering up" Kavanaugh's "past."
The Intercept reports that a darling of the "Me Too" movement, the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, refused to help Reade with legal expenses, citing Biden's presidential run and its nonprofit status.
SEPT. 17, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calls for an FBI background investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh. "We need the FBI to step forward to ensure that the Senate and American public have complete information about this troubling alleged incident before a hearing is held,” Schumer says.
CNN calls the Ford accusation a "watershed moment for the GOP."
The Huffington Post runs a story quoting Biden as saying, "Women’s Claims Of Sexual Assault Should Be Presumed To Be True." Biden remarks: "For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time. ... But nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron.”
Biden has previously said women should be presumptively believed.
MARCH 26, 2020
Jimmy Kimmel interviews Biden, and the two discuss "Where's Waldo?" Kimmel does not ask Biden about Reade's accusation.
Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor, touts a "Green New Deal." He accuses Republicans of "refusing to admit" that "climate change is real."
CNN teases an upcoming CNN town hall with Joe Biden. The Reade accusations are not discussed on-air in the network's preview coverage.
SEPT. 18, 2018
Kavanaugh's nomination officially "descends into chaos," CNN reports.
The New York Times publishes an op-ed from Anita Hill, who argues: "With the current heightened awareness of sexual violence comes heightened accountability for our representatives."
MARCH 27, 2020
CNN's Anderson Cooper does not ask Biden about Reade's claims in a lengthy virtual town hall. In its writeup of the event, CNN assures readers, "Joe Biden: He's just like the rest of us."
"We sit on our back porch and they sit out on the lawn with two chairs," the network says of Biden and his wife Jill. "They talk through everything that's happened during their day now that they are home from school, who's driving who crazy."
The Huffington Post covers Reade's claim. The outlet notes, "Last April, Reade was one of eight women to accuse the former vice president of inappropriate touching." The articles goes on to observe, however, that when she first accused Biden of inappropriate touching, Reade was "accused of being politically motivated and called a Russian operative after a Medium post in which she praised Russia and its president Vladimir Putin resurfaced."
Reade has said she did not initially outline the full extent of Biden's alleged sexual assault, including digital penetration, out of embarrassment.
SEPT. 19, 2018
The Guardian reports that Christine Ford's life has been "turned upside down" by her accusation, noting that she has received threats. The paper does not note that Kavanaugh and his family, as well as Republican senators, also had received threats to their lives.
MARCH 28, 2020
The Guardian laments: "It hugely frustrating to see conservatives, who couldn’t give a damn about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, weaponize the accusations against Biden. However, it’s also frustrating to see so many liberals turning a blind eye. The accusations against the former vice-president are serious; why aren’t they being taken seriously?"
SEPT. 27, 2018
CNN's Chris Cuomo asks a guest if Kavanaugh was known as a virgin at Yale University. When the guest, a former classmate of Kavanaugh, rebuffs the question, Cuomo explains that he felt it was relevant given Kavanaugh's claim that he was a virgin through college.
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham erupts, accusing Democrats of orchestrating "the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics."
“What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020,” Graham says, before turning to Kavanaugh.
"Are you a gang rapist?" Graham asks sarcastically, referring to an unsubstantiated accusation by Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick.
The New York Times describes Kavanaugh and Graham's behavior as a typical display of "white male anger."
(Guy Benson, a Townhall.com political editor and Fox News contributor, tweeted this week that a "non-conservative" contact in the media had messaged him to belatedly praise Graham's comments. "I thought he was a loon" to say the Kavanaugh hearings were all about power, the source said. "In reality he was right all along.")
APRIL 5, 2020
A self-described movie enthusiast posts a transcript of Reade's claims on a message board. CNN and The New York Times have not yet mentioned Reade's story.
Alyssa Milano suddenly embraces due process.
OCT. 1, 2018
The New York Times embarks on a deep dive, reporting that Kavanaugh was once questioned by police after a bar fight in 1985. A police report even said Kavanaugh "threw ice at another patron."
Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend of Julie Swetnick, the third woman to make uncorroborated, lurid allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, tells Fox News exclusively that she had threatened to kill his unborn child and at times even bizarrely asked him to hit her. "Right after I broke up with her, she basically called me many times and at one point she basically said, 'You will never, ever see your unborn child alive,'" Richard Vinneccy says on "The Ingraham Angle."
According to Vinneccy, Swetnick told him at the time, 'I'm just going to go over there and kill you guys.'"
APRIL 9, 2020
Reade files a criminal complaint with the Washington, D.C. police, alleging that she was sexually assaulted in 1993.
OCT. 3, 2018
It is widely reported that Leland Keyser, Ford's lifelong friend and a supposed witness at the party in which Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted Ford, doesn't back Ford's account. Later, Keyser would say that much of Ford's account didn't make "any sense," including how Ford couldn't remember how she got home from the party. Keyser would also say she was pressured by Ford associates at the time to change her story to corroborate Ford's account.
“I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” Keyser told The New York Times. “I don’t have any confidence in the story."
With Keyser's statement, it becomes clear that no one can contemporaneously corrobotate Ford's story.
Meanwhile, protesters let out a collective "STOP KAVANAUGH" scream at a protest in Brooklyn.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, assures demonstrators in Washington: "This isn’t about politics or anything else."
A Democratic aide is arrested, and would later be convicted, in a scheme to dox Republican lawmakers who support Kavanaugh by revealing their personal information online.
APRIL 12, 2020
The Times covers Reade's accusations, and makes sure to note that Reade could face criminal penalties if she filed a false police report. Attempting to explain why the Times waited so much longer to report on Reade's accusation, Times executive editor Dean Baquet claims that "Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way" -- although he does not explain why that logic did not apply to Biden, who was sealing up the Democratic Party's nomination for president when Reade went public with her claim.
The Times piece focuses on unrelated sexual misconduct accusations against President Trump, and largely dismisses Reade's allegations as uncorroborated by her co-workers -- even though the Times notes later in its piece that Reade's claim was contemporaneously corroborated by two of Reade's friends.
Baquet would also admit the story was edited after publication at the request of the Biden campaign to remove a reference to Biden's past history of inappropriate touching, including many photographs and even video showing Biden touching women and making them visibly uncomfortable. No notation in the story indicates that it was edited.
According to a copy of the Times' article saved by the Internet archive Wayback Machine, 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, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."
After the Biden campaign's request, the paragraph now reads: "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."
"Another good day not to be the NYT public editor," muses the paper's former public editor, Margaret Sullivan.
Later in the day, The Washington Post also covers Reade's claims for the first time. Both the Post and the Times mention accusations against President Trump.
ABC and CBS News, among other networks, mention Reade's claims shortly afterward, also for the first time.
OCT. 6, 2018
Anti-Kavanaugh protesters bang on the walls of the Supreme Court to protest his confirmation.
APRIL 15, 2020
The Washington Post openly struggles with Reade's claims: "What to make of former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade’s allegations that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sexually assaulted her in 1993?" writes the paper's deputy editorial page editor, Ruth Marcus. "This is a difficult and important question — not least for those who were persuaded by Christine Blasey Ford’s assertion that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were high school students in the 1980s."
Marcus goes on to admit that "we all suffer from the inclination, whether knowing or unknowing, to assess evidence through the lens of preexisting biases."
OCT. 15, 2018
The Guardian reports that witches are planning to hex Kavanaugh.
APRIL 24, 2020
A resurfaced clip of "Larry King Live" from 1993 appears to include the mother of Tara Reade -- who has accused Joe Biden of past sexual assault while in the Senate -- alluding to “problems” her daughter faced while working as a staffer for the then-U.S. senator from Delaware.
But rather than CNN's team of investigative reporters, it was the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, a conservative group that seeks to expose liberal bias, that exhumed the footage from its own vault. NewsBusters found the clip after The Intercept first reported on a transcript of the Larry King interview.
"I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?" the caller begins. "My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him."
In a telephone interview with Fox News, Reade confirms that her mother called in to the show -- and it is independently confirmed that the caller in the show had phoned in from the same California city where Reade's mother lived at the time. Biden's presidential campaign has adamantly denied Reade's allegations but the video could be cited as evidence supporting Reade’s allegation – even though her late mother, in the clip, does not specifically refer to a sexual assault claim.
CNN would not cover the clip until the following afternoon, well after most other media organizations.
The Intercept had reported earlier that Reade said her late mother once called into CNN’s “Larry King Live” to discuss her daughter’s “experience on Capitol Hill,” where the alleged encounter with Biden took place. Reade didn’t recall other information, such as the date or even year, and The Intercept managed to dig up a transcript of the call but not the video.
Meanwhile, aides to former 2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders express their anger.
"The video of Tara Reade's late mother calling into Larry King to blow the whistle about about [sic] Tara's sexual assault is being met with relative silence from a cadre of progressives right now and I want you all to know that I see you," former Sanders senior adviser Winnie Wong tweets. "We all do."
"Progressives didn't make this happen. Corporate Democrats chose Biden," Briahna Joy Gray, former Sanders press secretary, tweets. Gray also added: "It's a good time to note that Bernie's on the ballot."
OCT. 17, 2018
The Washington Post speculates about "two ways Democrats can remove Kavanaugh -- without impeaching him."
One of the approaches: A new president could "nominate and the Senate would confirm by majority vote a justice — in this case Kavanaugh — to a different post on an intermediate court of appeals (say the D.C. Circuit, where Kavanaugh formerly served). The justice would, in effect, be demoted."
The Post notes with regret that the move is "admittedly unprecedented at the Supreme Court level."
Another equally unprecedented but "optimal" option: the "creation of a new vehicle for judicial peer review ... [that would] create a nonpartisan, procedurally robust device for disciplining judges."
"If the political stars align, something good for our constitutional democracy might result from their efforts: a better way to discipline errant federal judges," opines the piece's since-disappointed author, University of Chicago law professor Aziz Huq.
APRIL 26, 2020
The 1993 episode of CNN's "Larry King Live" apparently featuring Reade's mother is discovered missing from the Google Play store. But, CNN's head of strategic communications, Matt Dornic, responds: "This is B.S. CNN didn’t remove anything. We do not have a distro deal for LKL w/ Google Play. Listings on the site are not sourced thru CNN. Click any episode, it will say “not available to watch.” True for @foxnews programs too. I’ll wait 4 ur correction & apology."
Meanwhile, Biden and his surrogates are not asked about Reade's claims on any of the Sunday political shows. The next day, Business Insider exclusively reports additional contemporaneous corroboration of Reade's claims -- in depth and on-the-record from Reade's former next-door neighbor.
Fox News' Joseph Wulfson, Brian Flood, and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.