This is a story about two cases of alleged sexual assault and the radically different manner in which they are perceived by certain public figures and reported on by the media. My point is that these cases are not and were not treated consistently. I can understand that politicians would tend to exhibit a certain bias, but the media is supposed to be objective. Our democracy depends on that objectivity.
Case #1 – Ford v Kavanaugh
Most of you are very familiar with this case and I blogged on it extensively at the time, so there is no need to repeat it in detail at this time. Briefly, Christy Ford had accused Supreme Court Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. She was hazy on the details, such as where and when the assault occurred, had not told anyone at the time, and the “witnesses” she produced were equally hazy on the details. All in all, she was not credible.
Case # 2 – Reade v Biden
Tara Reade has accused former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault during her tenure as an aide in his office in 1993. Her charges are very specific. As reported by “Politico” and other sources, she claims he accosted her in a hallway, pushed her up against a wall, and “penetrated her with his fingers.” She added that afterwards “the anger kind of emanated from him. He pointed his finger in my face and said, ‘You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.’ ” So, we have an alleged sexual assault compounded by verbal humiliation.
Full disclosure, Biden has denied the charges, but then again, so did Kavanaugh. It didn’t matter to his critics.
Unlike Ford, Reade appears to be very credible. According to multiple reports she told various people contemporaneously, including her mother, her brother, and a neighbor. She filed a complaint with the Senate. Her mother called “Larry King Live” during a segment on sexual assault, to report the attack, although she didn’t disclose either her name or her daughter’s.
Moreover, additional corroborating witnesses have emerged. “Business Insider” reported that the neighbor, Lynda LaCasse, disclosed that Reade had told her of the incident, in detail, at the time it occurred. Additionally, Lorraine Sanchez, who had worked with Reade in the office of a California state senator in the mid-90s, recalled that Reade had disclosed the sexual assault to her and also that she had been discharged afterward she reported it.
It should be noted that Reade is not some Trump supporter seeking to damage Biden for political purposes. She describes herself as a “lifelong Democrat.” But, she characterized Biden as a “sexual predator.” She told Fox News, “I will not be smeared, dismissed or ignored. I stand in truth, and I will keep speaking out.”
I think most objective persons would conclude that Reade has a far more credible case than Ford. Yet, the media gave far more support and credence to Ford’s story than it is giving to Reade’s.
The media treated Ford’s accusations as fact. Due process, which, as we all know, is a basic tenant of our Constitution, was ignored. Kavanaugh was assumed to be guilty as charged. He and his family were vilified mercilessly for weeks. He was labeled a sexual predator and worse. The media demanded he withdraw his nomination. There were calls for his arrest and imprisonment. Women’s groups, such as #MeToo, and various Democratic politicians, such as Senators, Mazie Hirono, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, to name a few, were demanding that women be “heard” and “believed.” It was a virtual “lynch mob” or, as President Trump characterized it, a “witch hunt.” In the end, there was not sufficient proof to the allegations, and Kavanaugh was confirmed.
By contrast, Biden has essentially been given a “pass” by the same people. The media has largely ignored the story. The same media people who vilified Kavanaugh have been silent or, worse, have defended Biden. In all the interviews he has given since the story “broke,” I have not heard him be asked one question about it. For the most part, only Fox News has been reporting on it consistently. Those who do not watch Fox News probably know little or nothing about the assault.
Besides the media bias, consider the following:
- Not one Democratic congressperson has gone on the record criticizing Biden.
- I am not aware of any prominent feminist leader going on the record in support of Reade. What happened to the standard that women are to be heard and believed?
- None of the various women who vilified Kavanaugh and have been rumored to be under consideration for vp – Klobuchar, Harris or Abrams – has come out in support of Reade. When asked they have given a version of “no comment.” What a surprise. So much for their credibility, which, apparently, they are willing to sacrifice for the chance to be vp. Due process, which was suspended in the Kavanaugh case, is back.
- In the midst of all this, Hillary Clinton has endorsed Biden’s candidacy. This is the same Hillary Clinton who spent years, denigrating the character of her husband’s female victims of sexual assault, who was good friends with Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, and who as a defense attorney bragged about getting the rapist of a 12 year-old girl acquitted. If I were Biden I would consider her endorsement to be the “kiss of death.” I would tell her, “thanks, but no thanks.”
Biden’s campaign and his supporters are hoping the story will just go away. When they are not ignoring it they are issuing comments denying the “incident” occurred. Some of them seized upon a NY Times story as an exoneration of Biden, but the Times issued a vehement denial. In my opinion, it will not go away. It is part of a pattern of his behavior. He’s always been “handsy” around women, and don’t forget his treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings.
Sooner or later, he is bound to be asked about it by an honest reporter or maybe by a debate moderator. In my view, the lesser of two evils would be to meet this issue head on now, deal with it, respond to all aspects of it, and hope it runs its course by the Fall. Issues like this don’t go away if they are ignored.
This just adds to Biden’s “baggage” as a candidate along with his memory lapses, confusion, and verbal blunders. So far, Biden’s advisors have been able to sequester him from public scrutiny, but eventually he will have to venture out of his bubble and campaign. At that point, I believe his poll numbers will decline. The voting public is smarter and more intuitive than the Dems think and hope. The Dems have a serious problem. They are irrevocably committed to a damaged candidate who is akin to a ticking timebomb, and I think they know it.