Media Floodgates Finally Open on Biden Sex Assault Allegation

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A 27-year-old allegation circulating among Bernie Sanders supporters and propped up by Trumpworld, which Biden denies, was featured in the Times, Post, AP, and NBC over the last weekend. For Never Biden adherents, it may not be enough.

BY DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES.
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For nearly three weeks, prominent Bernie Sanders supporters have wondered aloud when major news organizations would cover a sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden from a former Senate staff assistant. Tara Reade’s claim, that Biden assaulted her while the two were in the basement of a Capitol Hill office complex in 1993, rocketed around the Berniesphere late last month following an interview with Katie Halper, a journalist supportive of Sanders, and after an appearance on Democracy Now! The mainstream-media floodgates opened last weekend after the New York Times,, the Washington Post, NBC News, and the Associated Press all reported on Reade’s claim.

The flood of coverage, and certain aspects of it, did not go unremarked upon by former Sanders campaign staffers and pro-Sanders media figures. “Every one of these outlets instantly reported on [Brett] Kavanaugh’s accusation when it was an anonymous letter they hadn’t even seen,” tweeted Branko Marcetic, a Jacobin writer and author of an anti-Biden book. “I agree outlets should be thorough, get the reporting right, have respect for due process of the accused. But where was this concern with Kavanaugh and Trump? Were those allegations mishandled because the existence of an accusation was reported on the day it came to light?”

Reade, who last year accused Biden of inappropriate touching around the same time that seven other women leveled allegations of their own, made the sexual assault claim last month on Halper’s podcast. There, and in later interviews, she said Biden thrust her against a wall and proceeded to grope and penetrate her with his fingers while the two were alone. “He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’’’ she told the AP, noting the incident took place after she brought him a gym bag. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up,” she added. Reade, who was then in her 20s, went on to claim that a “shocked and surprised” Biden responded by telling her, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.”

Reade made her accusation official last week by by filing a public incident report with the Washington, D.C., police on Thursday. It did not cite Biden by name but detailed a contemporaneous incident. After Rich McHugh reported on the report for Business Insider on Friday, the Times, the Post, the AP, and NBC News all followed, each noting in weekend stories that reporters had conducted interviews with Reade and had been looking into the allegation for several weeks.

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