On Friday night, more than three weeks after Tara Reade shared her allegation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her on Capitol Hill in 1993, the PBS NewsHour arrived on the story by interviewing reporter Lisa Lerer, one of the authors of the belated New York Times piece on Reade.
PBS anchor Amna Nawaz pointed out the Biden campaign denied this as “absolutely untrue,” and that Lerer had talked to Reade last year for a story on Biden’s habit of inappropriate touching and/or sniffing, when she didn’t say anything about this alleged assault. They respectfully recounted Reade’s allegations and reasoning for withholding this story.
Lerer also briefly noted Reade had potential ideological motivations. “She reached out to many, many lawyers and could not get anyone to take her case. As a result, she ended up talking to a woman who had a podcast on Rolling Stone who’s a well-known supporter of Bernie Sanders, and first telling her story of sexual assault on that podcast.”
Then came a question that hinted at a media double standard:
AMNA NAWAZ: We should point out you have faced criticism, many in the media have faced criticism for not allegedly going after this claim as aggressively as, say, maybe the claims against Brett Kavanaugh. We’re looking at the man who’s likely going to be the Democratic nominee. So where does this go from here?
Lerer couldn’t spin quickly enough away from any comparison of the Biden allegations to the unsubstantiated rape charges the Times smeared all over Brett Kavanaugh:
LISA LERER: Well, I think we’re going to continue to see some outlets review this story. And then I just have to — I think we have to wait and see what happens. Notably, President Trump has been fairly silent, completely silent on these allegations, although some around him have not. And they have — they have sent out tweets and other messages about them.
But I think everything is really overshadowed by coronavirus right now. So, the question will be, as we move into the fall campaign, do these allegations get more traction? Are there more accusations that come out?
Or is this sort of all that’s out there? Because there’s no real pattern for Joe Biden’s in terms of sexual assault. Right now, this is the only allegation against him. Generally, in these kinds of cases, you look for that kind of pattern. We’re not seeing that here.
This story did not resurface in the pundit segment with David Brooks and Mark Shields. Brooks insisted Biden didn’t really have to campaign right now, and Shields agreed, since Trump is losing ground again. “A majority do not want him for a second term. Therefore, he needs to run against Joe Biden. But he can’t run against Joe Biden as long as he’s on television every two hours every single night seeming petty, mean and vindictive.”
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