Joe Biden might not be guilty. But the corporate media is.
Here’s what we know. We know Tara Reade alleges that in 1993 her boss, Sen. Joe Biden, sexually assaulted her, and we know that five people have thus far corroborated that she told them about this at the time. We know that, and we know that Vice President Biden denies committing sexual assault, and further, denies his office even received a complaint.
Finally, we know that the corporate media ignored and manipulated this story for weeks and that some still remain silent on it. Just Wednesday morning, one popular Washington newsletter got to the subject after 14 more important stories, choosing to characterize it as “The Story That’s Not Going Away.”
It’s a difficult spot for corporate media to be in. For months, liberal guests, anchors, and reporters at CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and elsewhere propped up Biden’s candidacy against Sen. Bernie Sanders. With a baggage train that stretches to Beijing, and well into a public cognitive decline, he was not the ideal Democratic candidate.
He didn’t embody youth, he wasn’t black, and he’s wasn’t a woman for three, but he also wasn’t gay, broke, or deeply unlikable. Finally, he wasn’t a communist. Or to sum it all up, he seemed the safest bet.
Or was he? Shortly after Sanders was defeated and all declared well, it began to unravel, first with strange interview after strange interview, and then boom: With a five-times corroborated sexual assault allegation. Tough to ignore, right? You’d think so. But maybe not.
The Washington Post interviewed Reade shortly after she made her first, less serious allegation of uncomfortable touching in an essay in April 2019, but didn’t publish the interview. In March 2020, Reade went public with accusations of sexual assault, but still nothing from the Post. The Post did eventually publish — after The New York Times ran a story on the accusations, which was almost three weeks after she went public. The Times editor in chief then admitted the paper quietly edited its story under pressure from the Biden campaign.
A Washington Free Beacon review of all 10 interviews with the vice president in the three weeks after the accusation found nary a question on the charge. On April 16, 24 days after the allegation, a CBS reporter asked Sanders what he thought, but even then couched the question, asking about Sanders ally Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying “she thinks its legitimate and relevant to talk about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.”
“Do you agree?”
Biden had yet to face one direct question.
It was still another day before CNN reported on the story at all, couching their coverage as “Democrats [grappling] with questions” about the accusation.
On Sunday, not a single morning show mentioned the news. On Monday, The Washington Post’s story was titled, “Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden.” By Tuesday, five weeks into the story, a Media Research Center analysis found 24-hour news network CNN had spent shy of 15 minutes on the story, PBS had spent seven minutes, MSNBC had spent less than five minutes, CBS had spent one minute, and NBC and ABC, zero seconds.
Five weeks and 19 interviews later, Biden has not been asked.
The coverage stands in stark, vivid, bloody contrast with the corporate media’s crucifixion of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — a man accused by two women, one of whom could not prove she’d ever met the judge, and the other, whose accusations were not corroborated by a single source.
In the 12 days after Kavanaugh’s first accuser was revealed, ABC, CBS, and NBC spent nearly six hours on the story, and CNN and MSNBC declared him guilty. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway chronicled the differences in coverage exhaustively here.
There’s a lesson in this contrast. The corporate news media doesn’t care about women, nor truth. They care about ruling and will sacrifice any offering that gets them closer to it. Victims of sexual assault both real and imagined, they’re just bodies on the altar — unless the accused is in a protected class. Eat your hearts out, Aztecs.
It’s not just Biden and Kavanaugh. It’s the reason anchors, reporters, and executives at nearly every corporate channel, newspaper, and even NPR have been accused of sexual harassment, assault, or rape over the past five years, but only Roger Ailes is the subject of a miniseries and a feature film.
Sexual assault is serious business. It shames victims, destroys families, and ruin lives. Unfortunately, for too many in politics and the corporate media, sexual assault is serious business as usual.
Joe Biden might not be guilty. But the corporate media damn well is.