Biden is getting a lot of media help
Off The Record
No one should pretend to know whether Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is guilty or innocent of sexually assaulting his former staffer Tara Reade in 1993.
You can’t determine guilt or innocence based on personal assessments of character or anything else. That’s what trials, juries, evidence and cross-examination are for.
But one thing is already clear — the Democrats and the national media desperately want this story to go away because they don’t want it to hurt Biden’s chances of beating President Trump in November.
The press sat on the Reade allegation for weeks. CNN buried the story online. Reporters repeatedly declined to ask Biden about it. When the press finally did report the story on-air, it was briefly and with deep skepticism. Even now, with each new corroboration, the national media tread as lightly as possible.
When Biden eventually addressed the allegation himself, the Associated Press gave his denial a very favorable write-up and lamented that the story puts Democrats, especially women who might run as Biden’s vice president, in a bind. All those potential VPs say they still support Biden and still want the job.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said Biden’s denials were “sufficient.” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also was “satisfied.” She says Joe is just Joe.
That’s evidently a reference to Biden’s history of caressing females. Reade’s allegation is evidently just another example of Joe’s “old-school, hands-on” brand of “retail politics,” which is how the press downplays it.
Meanwhile, another woman now says that at an event in 2008, Biden asked her how old she was.
“Fourteen,” replied the now 26-year-old.
“Fourteen?” said Biden. “You’re very well endowed for 14!”
Is the left satisfied with that remark too?
The press certainly seems to be. Far from being revulsed by Biden, the press portrays him as a champion of women. In 2011, Biden helped get colleges to adopt a simple preponderance-of-evidence rule in sexual assault cases, which caused many males to be railroaded without due process or proof. Many charges turned out to be false, despite feminist insistence that women always tell the truth in such cases.
Yet feminists still push their “believe all women” mantra, even though they apply it only to women on the left. Most Democrats fervently believed the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas when the two conservatives were Supreme Court nominees. The majority-Democratic press trashed the pair as though they were convicted war criminals.
Yet the same press gave short shrift to Juanita Broaddrick’s claim that Bill Clinton raped her, just as it now soft-pedals Reade’s allegation against Biden. The press simply won’t get behind allegations that damage their side politically.
The press soft-pedals everything for Biden. At 77, he’s lost a few steps and may not be up to the task of leading the free world. His latest gaffe was a comment to a black radio audience: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump,” he said, “then you ain’t black.”
That comment from Trump would set the national media aflame, but the AP wrote a benign report for Biden, not even giving his full inflammatory quote.
Even when Joe physically challenges people at rallies, the press just describes him as “feisty.”
As for the assault allegation, Tara Reade’s lead lawyer just left the case but still believes her and says she faces a media double standard. “Much of what has been written ... is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters,” he said.
That’s true. So where’s Anita Hill to protect the credibility of female accusers now?
No matter how much these suddenly shrugging Democrats and journalists protect Biden, if he stumbles in the homestretch and the country makes a comeback from the virus, Joe could end up sleeping permanently in his basement rather than napping in the Oval Office.
Mark Godburn is a bookseller in Norfolk and the author of “Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets” (2016).