When Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden first surfaced on journalist Katie Halper’s podcast, her account was corroborated by two people. Halper checked with Reade’s brother and a close friend. “Both recall Tara telling them about the incident at the time,” she noted.
Then video surfaced of a woman calling into “Larry King Live” that matched Reade’s prior description of a call her mother made to the program, requesting advice about resolving issues in a Senate office on her daughter’s behalf.
After a damning lag-time, the media has spent some weeks vetting Reade’s allegation. I agree with Biden’s defenders that her credibility is falling apart. Reporting from Politico and PBS believably makes the case that Reade has a history of deceptive behavior. It’s still difficult to get past her claim that Biden, who has no known history of adultery or assault on this level, would commit an adulterous assault in a “semi-private” part of a Senate hallway. Acquaintances interviewed say Reade proactively praised Biden in prior conversations. She’s made contradictory claims about her own background.
As just one example (and the examples are mounting), she told the Associated Press this year that she filed a report about Biden making her uncomfortable with a personnel office back in 1993. The AP dug up an interview with Reade from 2019, when she accused Biden of harassment but not assault, in which she claimed to have “chickened out” about filing a report at all. And her explanation for the inconsistency makes little sense.
People of questionable character can be sexually assaulted just like anyone else. Biden has a history of crossing the line in his physical interactions with women. Reade seemed believable in her interview with Megyn Kelly. But I’m increasingly of the opinion that new evidence makes it more likely than not her allegation is false.
Many of Biden’s supporters endorsed the absurd standard of credibility that elevated Christine Blasey Ford and destroyed Brett Kavanaugh’s reputation. They are using Reade’s diminishing credibility as an opportunity to paint conservatives as cynical political operators and hypocrites because they gave consideration to Reade’s allegation. This is a disgusting attempt to smear the people who have been saying since 2018 that good men on the left and the right would be harmed by the left’s precedent-setting treatment of Kavanaugh.
When Reade’s lawyer dropped her, certain leftists turned their fire on the people who covered Reade’s story. Feminist writer Jill Filipovic penned a thread so eerily applicable to the left and media’s elevation of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation, the lack of self-awareness astounds.
This is all just so frustrating and sad. Her life will never be the same. #MeToo has taken a hit. Could have been avoided through thorough journalism. But the absolutely irresponsible, self-interested people who pushed these claims will never, ever take responsibility. https://t.co/bvfSVm8kMJ
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) May 22, 2020
Had the left listened to the very people some are now accusing of hypocrisy, Reade’s allegation may have been treated differently, and Biden’s reputation may not have taken whatever hit it ultimately took.
Did some cynical operators latch onto Reade’s allegation with little regard for its veracity? Sure. Were some of her defenders blinded by partisanship? Probably. But her allegation easily cleared the standard of credibility that the media and the Left set during the Kavanaugh hearings. The corroborating accounts of her brother and friend also made it compelling and legitimately worth some level of consideration.
Having covered this story since March, I’ve personally gone from really no idea what did or did not happen in 1993, to believing it’s more likely Reade’s allegation is false. I certainly wasn’t leveraging Me Too allegations as a political tool, or mustering selective outrage over an alleged sexual assault that hurt a candidate I don’t like. I simply believed Reade’s claim was newsworthy, largely because of the corroboration and her detailed story. The media angle was valid, but not my primary concern at all, as I wrote a month ago.
The infuriating demonstration of hypocrisy among those who destroyed Brett Kavanaugh’s reputation but had little interest in investigating Reade’s claim against Biden absolutely drove part of this conversation, both by putting media liberals in a difficult position and by fueling conservative coverage of their hypocrisy. This entire case has exposed a blatant and dangerous double standard on the left and in the media.
Given what happened to Kavanaugh, and the many other damages caused by the standard Christine Blasey Ford’s ardent defenders set, coverage of the hypocrisy was not objectionable. Given the initial corroboration of Reade’s claim to have told others of the incident in 1993, balanced coverage of allegation was not objectionable either. What is objectionable, however, is the way leftists and the media destroyed a good man’s reputation for partisan reasons only to turn around years later and accuse those who defended him of political maneuvering because they had the audacity to condemn the hypocrisy.