Evening Nets End Their Tara Reade Blackout, Come to Biden’s Defense

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Finally, the evening newscasts of ABC and CBS broke their silence on the rape accusation against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While their respective morning newscasts had already covered the topic, Thursday night was the first time NBC News had dared to give it airtime. The contrast was stark in how they covered the accusations of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, where their mission was to sink his nomination. This time, they were walking on eggshells as they gingerly came to Biden’s aid.

Their sudden discovery of Reade’s allegations came over a month after she first went public. It also came after a Media Research Center study exposed their journalistic malpractice of not covering the story nor pressing Biden while they were interviewing him.

Appearing to make an attempt at making up for lost time, ABC’s World News Tonight dedicated over four minutes to the story (4:02). NBC Nightly News came in second place with almost three minutes (2:54). The CBS Evening News had two minutes, 25 seconds.

Sadly, Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision continued to keep the accusation away from their viewers.

As for their English counterparts, they ignored the inconstancies in the tall tales told by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Julie Swetnick, and Deborah Ramirez (and an anonymous accuer), but decided to nitpick Reade. ABC and NBC also tried to discredit the accusations by noting that the Trump campaign had “seized” on them.

“Reade tells us, that at the time, she complained to the Senate Personnel Office that Biden had ‘made her feel uncomfortable,’ but she says she did not mention an assault and she has no record of the complaint. She says she shared similar concerns with three other staffers in Biden's office. All three of those staffers tell ABC News that's not true,” declared ABC congressional correspondent Mary Bruce on World News Tonight.

Bruce also suggested that Reade’s “claims have evolved,” citing how she was a part of a group of women who came forward last year to expose Biden’s inappropriate touching. “At that time, Reade came forward to say Biden touched her on the shoulder and neck in a way that was, quote, ‘Uncomfortable,’ but she did not mention any kind of an assault. Nothing like the incident she describes today,” Bruce said.

 

 

ABC even tried to call into question Reade’s political affiliation as a Democrat, because the Trump campaign was listening to her:

Reade describes herself as a, quote, “hardcore Democrat,” but her story has been taken up and heavily promoted by President Trump's campaign, his son, Donald Trump Jr., and his political allies. Over a dozen women have accused the President of sexual misconduct and assault, including rape. The president says they're all lying.

Over on CBS, correspondent Ed O’Keefe seemed to admit the network was dragging their feet when reporting about the story. “CBS News has spoken multiple times with Reade since she first made the accusation in March. On Wednesday, we requested an on-camera interview,” he said.

He followed up with the notation that “[s]he is the only individual who has come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.” As if that was somehow indicative of the validity of the claims.

O’Keefe also flaunted the defense Biden received from female Democrats, tried discredit Reade’s accusation by pointing to other former staffers she worked with, and remind viewers of Biden's pledge to pick a female vice president (click “expand”):

O’KEEFE: In Biden's absence, other high-profile Democrats have been left to answer for the allegations, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Nobody ever came forward or nobody came forward to say something about it apart from the principal involved.

STACEY ABRAMS (D-GA): I know Joe Biden, and I think that he is telling the truth.

O’KEEFE: Several former Biden Senate staffers from that time have said publicly that they don't recall hearing about Reade’s allegations. And today, Biden officially began his search for a running mate. He has vowed to pick a woman.

O’Keefe, as with Bruce, kept mentions of corroborating witnesses to a minimum. And neither of them mentioned the video unearthed by the Media Research Center that appears to show Reade’s mother calling into CNN’s Larry King Live back in 1993, hinting at what happened to her daughter.

But NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell did address the video on Nightly News by trying to write it off.

“Reid also says her mother called into Larry King Live in 1993, without identifying herself, talking about a daughter having a problem with an unnamed prominent politician. Her mother died in 2016. NBC cannot verify she was the caller,” she said.

But Reade has identified the voice in the video as that of her mother and the video lined up with other reporting.

Mitchell also tried to poke holes in Reade’s story based on what some alleged witnesses have said:

NBC News has reached out to five people Reade said she told about the alleged assault either at the time or since. Three former Senate staffers told NBC News they do not recall any such conversation with Reade. A fourth who asked that her name be withheld says Reade did tell her about it at the time. A fifth person who also spoke with NBC, but did not want her name used, recalled Reade telling her about inappropriate touching but not an assault.

Biden's allies including several women he is considered as a potential running mate are defending him and citing his record combating violence against women. And today, Nancy Pelosi,” Mitchell boasted on the former VP’s behalf.

And just as with ABC, NBC also decried how “The Trump campaign has seized on the accusation, although the President has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.”

The network evening newscasts went from a total blackout of the allegations, to defending their candidate for president.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
April 30, 2020
6:44:10 p.m. Eastern [4 minutes 2 seconds]

DAVID MUIR: And now to the race for 2020 tonight, and the accusation against Joe Biden. A woman coming forward, claiming he sexually assaulted her while she was working as an aide in his Senate office in 1993. Biden has not directly addressed the allegation yet. His campaign denies the claim. But tonight, Democratic leaders are now being pressed, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, today asked, where does she stand on this? Here's Mary Bruce.

[Cuts to video]

MARY BRUCE: Tara Reade was a 29-year-old staff assistant in Joe Biden's Senate office in 1993, when she says aides told her to bring him his gym bag. She says she found him in a corridor of a Senate office building and described what she says happened next in interviews with ABC News and other outlets, including Democracy Now.

TARA READE: I was up against the wall [Transition] And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away.

BRUCE: Reade tells us, that at the time, she complained to the Senate Personnel Office that Biden had "Made her feel uncomfortable," but she says she did not mention an assault and she has no record of the complaint. She says she shared similar concerns with three other staffers in Biden's office. All three of those staffers tell ABC News that's not true. Reade claims she was forced out of her job.

READE: And in fact, I was put in a windowless office and I had my duties taken away from me.

BRUCE: In a statement, Biden's campaign says the former Vice President "Firmly believes that women have a right to be heard and heard respectfully. What is clear about this claim, it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."

This is not the first time Reade has gone public with accusations against Biden and her claims have evolved. Last year, the candidate came under fire from women who accused him of physical contact they felt was inappropriate, like unwanted hugs. At that time, Reade came forward to say Biden touched her on the shoulder and neck in a way that was, quote, "Uncomfortable," but she did not mention any kind of an assault. Nothing like the incident she describes today.

Reade says after the alleged assault in 1993, she told a few people. She referred us to a friend, who says Reade told her Biden put his hand up her skirt during an unwanted encounter. The friend didn't want to be named. Reade also put us in touch with a former neighbor, Lynda LaCasse, who says Reade told her about the alleged assault several years later.

ABC News also spoke with Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton. He told us his sister mentioned in 1993 that she was experiencing, quote, "Harassment at work." He said he did not know the details until recently. But later, he texted us to, quote, "Clarify," saying that he does remember his sister telling him that Biden, quote, "More or less cornered her against the wall" and "Put his hands up her clothes."

Biden has yet to comment on the allegations himself. Today, pressure growing on top Democrats to answer for him.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: I respect your question and I don't need a lecture or a speech. Here's the thing. I have complete respect for the whole #MeToo movement. I have four daughters and one son.

BRUCE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she's satisfied with the Biden campaign's response.

PELOSI: So, I want to remove all doubt in anyone's mind. I have a great comfort level with the situation as I see it, with all the respect in the world for any woman who comes forward, with all the highest regard for Joe Biden.

BRUCE: Reade describes herself as a, quote, “hardcore Democrat,” but her story has been taken up and heavily promoted by President Trump's campaign, his son, Donald Trump Jr., and his political allies. Over a dozen women have accused the President of sexual misconduct and assault, including rape. The president says they're all lying.

[Cuts back to live]

Now, the Trump campaign has been pushing this story, but the President just said that he doesn't know anything about these allegations. But he said that Biden should respond. And David, word tonight that the former Vice President plans to do just that tomorrow morning. David?

MUIR: All right, Mary Bruce, we'll stay tuned for that. Thank you.

 

CBS Evening News
April 30, 2020
6:43:59 p.m. Eastern [2 minutes 25 sseconds]

NORAH O’DONNELL: We are learning tonight that former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to address an accusation of sexual assault against him as he appears on cable news tomorrow. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has faced mounting pressure to directly respond to a claim made by a former Senate staffer. The alleged incident dates back more than two decades here's CBS’s Ed O'Keefe.

[Cuts to video]

ED O’KEEFE: Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared from his Delaware home today for a virtual town hall with U.S. Soccer star Megan Rapino. He did not address the allegations by a former Senate staffer. Some Democrats have said say she should be heard.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think, she has the right to make her claims.

O’KEEFE: His accuser, Tara Reade, worked for Biden in nine months, ending in 1993. Last year, she was among several women who recounted what they considered to be uncomfortable or inappropriate touching by Biden. In March, she began detailing more serious allegations for the first time.

TARA READE: I remember his hands underneath my bust and underneath my skirt and his fingers penetrating me, as he was trying to kiss me and I pulling away. And he pulled back and he said, “come on, man, I heard you liked me."

O’KEEFE: CBS News has spoken multiple times with Reade since she first made the accusation in March. On Wednesday, we requested an on-camera interview. She is the only individual who has come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

This week, a former neighbor told CBS News she remembers Reade telling her from 1995 to 1996 about an assault by Biden. And Reade's brother said he remembers her saying that Biden put his hand under her clothes. But Reade’s brother’s account of the allegations has evolved in recent interviews with several news outlets.

The Biden campaign said in a statement, that “he firmly believes women have a right to be heard and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be dill diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

In Biden's absence, other high-profile Democrats have been left to answer for the allegations, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Nobody ever came forward or nobody came forward to say something about it apart from the principal involved.

STACEY ABRAMS (D-GA): I know Joe Biden, and I think that he is telling the truth.

[Cuts back to live]

O’KEEFE: Several former Biden Senate staffers from that time have said publicly that they don't recall hearing about Reade’s allegations. And today, Biden officially began his search for a running mate. He has vowed to pick a woman. Norah.

O’DONNELL: Ed, thank you.

 

NBC Nightly News
April 30, 2020
7:17:00 p.m. Eastern [2 minutes 54 seconds]

LESTER HOLT: There are growing calls this evening for Joe Biden to address an accusation from a former Senate staffer who says he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago. We get more now from Andrea Mitchell. And a word of caution, some of the details in this story are graphic.

[Cuts to video]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Joe Biden facing mounting pressure to speak out about an accusation he sexually assaulted a Senate staffer in 1993. Former Senate aide Tara Reade says then-Senator Biden pinned her against a wall and assaulted her in a corridor. She started telling her story in March to news outlets including Democracy Now.

TARA READE: I remember his hands underneath my blouse and skirt and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away.

MITCHELL: The Biden campaign has said, “This absolutely didn't happen.” Reade’s public account evolved over time. Last year she was among a hand full of women that called out Biden for what they called inappropriate though not sexual touching. At the time, Reade described Biden touching her “on the shoulder or running his index finger up my neck during a meeting.”

NBC News has reached out to five people Reade said she told about the alleged assault either at the time or since. Three former Senate staffers told NBC News they do not recall any such conversation with Reade. A fourth who asked that her name be withheld says Reade did tell her about it at the time. A fifth person who also spoke with NBC, but did not want her name used, recalled Reade telling her about inappropriate touching but not an assault.

Reid also says her mother called into Larry King Live in 1993, without identifying herself, talking about a daughter having a problem with an unnamed prominent politician. Her mother died in 2016. NBC cannot verify she was the caller.

Earlier this week, Lynda LaCasse, a former neighbor, recalled Reid telling her about an alleged assault several years after the alleged incident. What LaCasse texted us is consistent with what Reade had told us, but LaCasse has not responded to our calls to verify the account.

Biden's allies including several women he is considered as a potential running mate are defending him and citing his record combating violence against women. And today, Nancy Pelosi.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: I do support Joe Biden. I'm satisfied with how he has responded.

MITCHELL: The Trump campaign has seized on the accusation, although the President has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. The President has denied their accounts and commented tonight.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think he should respond, you know. It could be false accusations. I know all about false accusations. I've been falsely charged numerous times.

[Cuts back to live]

MITCHELL: NBC News has sked Tara Reade for an interview. Vice President Biden will be answering the allegation for the first time tomorrow on Morning Joe on MSNBC. Lester.

HOLT: Mitchell, Thank you.

Research NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Bias by Omission Double Standards Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Sex Scandals Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Mary Bruce Tara Reade Ed O'Keefe Andrea Mitchell Joe Biden Donald Trump