Vice President Joe Biden is reaping the benefits of a double standard on sexual assault allegations. Sad to say, almost no one is surprised, for this double standard has been enjoyed by liberal politicians for decades.
Tara Reade, Biden’s former Senate aide, accused him of sexually assaulting her on Capitol Hill in 1993. Reade filed a report with the Washington, D.C. police last month.
The media is much quieter about Reade’s accusations against Biden than they were of the ones by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. That journalists took their sweet time to start covering Reade’s accusation is not very surprising. However, the reaction of the left to journalists who have done their job and covered these accusations should be surprising. Their response has removed any veneer of respectability that may have remained on the left when it comes to these issues.
Chris Hayes became the first employee of MSNBC to be a true journalist in the matter when he covered the accusation and welcomed writer Rebecca Traister on his program. Traister penned an essay criticizing Biden’s lack of response to Reade’s accusation, condemning the former vice president for leaving his female campaign surrogates to answer the tough questions.
What was Hayes’ reward for following #MeToo’s call to “believe all women”? He got his own hashtag!
It seems once again that the left’s support of journalists and freedom of the press extends only so far as the journalists adhere to the Democratic Party line. Liberal activists took to social media to demand that Hayes, a father of three, have his livelihood stripped from him, not for committing a sexual assault, but for engaging in non-partisan coverage of a woman’s accusation against one of the most powerful men in recent American history.
MSNBC, to its credit, followed this up with having Biden appear on their “Morning Joe” program where co-host Mika Brzezinski repeatedly addressed questions on the accusation to Biden. For once the media did not allow a Democratic politician to get away with a non-answer at the first time of asking.
Brzezinski also ended up trending on Twitter, frequently being criticized for acting as a prosecutor and “harping” on the issue, among other complaints.
Even The New York Times has fallen into a state of shock, asking “Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade?” The Times notes that Julie Swetnick and her “shaky claim against a Supreme court nominee” were welcomed with open arms, while Reade has thus far only been invited to appear on camera by Fox News.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Milano, actress, activist, and the ghost haunting the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in the midst of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations is bending over backwards at Deadline in an attempt to justify her continued support of Biden, despite Reade’s accusations.
“As far as his accuser, I want every survivor to have space to tell their story. But I also don’t want her to be fodder for the machine. And I honestly don’t know what’s next. Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,’ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default. It was about ending the patriarchy’s dangerous drive for self-preservation at all costs….”
Right now it seems to be far less about destroying the patriarchy, and far more about protecting liberal and progressive politicians’ election chances. Who cares about truth or hypocrisy? It is an election year after all.
The condemnation of liberal journalists actually doing their jobs by outraged Biden supporters reveals an interesting possibility. While it is indisputable that journalists are overwhelmingly liberal (only 27 percent of publishing employees work in counties that voted for Trump in 2016), is it possible that there could be an inverse effect of liberal viewers cowing journalists and those who write their paychecks into even further liberal coverage?
As political scientist Tim Groseclose wrote of liberal journalists and academics in his book Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind:
“Such people, I believe, do not want the media bias debate to be settled by data and objective measures. Instead, they want it to remain one. That is settled by who has the smoothest rhetoric and who can shout the loudest.”
Biden’s supporters are shouting louder than the reporters who cover Reade’s accusations, while Biden and his surrogates are engaged in loudly proclaimed, smoothly written rhetoric denying Reade’s accusations:
“We need to make putting an end to gender-based violence in both the United States and around the world a top priority.
"I started my work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. As president, I’m committed to finishing the job.”
If Biden is really committed to that, shouldn’t he tell his supporters to shut up and let their beloved liberal journalists do their job?
Get on the phone Joe, tell MSNBC and CNN to book Reade for their shows. Or are we going to let this debate on the media’s intentions remain oblique and raucous?
[Image Credit: Flickr-Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0]
Anders Koskinen is an Editorial Associate at Intellectual Takeout. He earned his BA from the University of Minnesota in December 2016 where he graduated with a double major in Journalism and Political Science.