Joe Biden denied Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations during his first TV interview on the matter with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe” Friday. Before bringing Biden on air, however, MSNBC changed the conversation about Biden’s alleged sexual misconduct into discussing allegations against President Donald Trump.
After spending about four minutes detailing the facts of Biden’s alleged assault on former staffer Reade — wherein Reade alleges the then-Delaware senator pushed her up against the wall, reached under her clothes, and penetrated her with his fingers — Brzezinski spent the same amount of time running through a laundry list of allegations made against the current president. She ended with footage from the “Access Hollywood” tape, bringing the Trump coverage to nearly six minutes.
In the Biden interview, Brzezinski pressed the former vice president on his double standard for himself versus Brett Kavanaugh during the then-judge’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. She also doubled down on Biden’s refusal to release his records held at the University of Delaware or to conduct a search of Reade’s name within those records.
The network’s spotlight shift onto Trump, however, follows a trend among media elites to distract from allegations against the presumed Democratic nominee with Trump “whataboutism.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper on Twitter listed the names of Trump’s accusers, saying it’s “now time for President Trump to sit for an interview and take questions like this about allegations.”
So is it now time for President Trump to sit for an interview and take questions like this about allegations made by Jessica Leeds and Kristin Anderson and Jill Harth and Lisa Boyne and Mariah Billado and Victoria Hughes and Temple Taggart and Cathy Heller and Karen Virginia and https://t.co/mfGAFiQbuJ
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 1, 2020
CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, MSNBC contributor Joyce Alene, and others distracted from Biden in similar fashion.
Biden has now addressed the issue of allegations I expect reporters will try to corroborate his denial. This is an opportunity for the media to fix a problem from 2016. Go back and start over on Trump’s accusers. If being accused makes it an issue, Trump has 40 issues to deal w/
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) May 1, 2020
When allegations of sexual assault are made by a woman they should be taken seriously & investigated. This is true for the allegations against Biden, but also for the 20+ women who’ve come forward with credible allegations of assault by Trump. The same standards must be used. https://t.co/UAAs25SGPl
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 1, 2020
And the context can never be forgotten that we currently have a president in office who still, to this day, faces some two dozen allegations of the sexual abuse or harassment of women. https://t.co/MU4PkrHuya
— Emo Desperado (@JoyAnnReid) May 1, 2020
“I think that so far, the news media has been pretty good on this,” said John Heilemann on “Morning Joe” Friday, “which is to say the New York Times took its time and did a lengthy or rigorous examination of this. … So far, responsible news organizations seem to have been pretty rigorous reporting on this.”
While Reade first publicly accused Biden of sexual assault back on March 25, May 1 marks the first time anyone in corporate media has directly asked Biden about any of the claims.
No matter what happens in this interview, it is a disgrace that Tara Reade alleged sexual assault against Joe Biden on March 25 and it took until May 1 for anyone in the national press to ask him a question about it
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 1, 2020