Almost a month after Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of a 1993 sexual assault, and a week after the nation's top newspapers finally touched the story, National Public Radio issued a report on Sunday morning. This is especially slow for NPR, which was the first to champion the unproven sexual-harassment charges of Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas in 1991.
In 2018, NPR jumped to interview Washington Post reporter Emma Brown on the same day her first story on Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh were published. A Nexis search found 224 stories with Ford's name mentioned.
Asma Khalid answered questions from Weekend Sunday Edition anchor Lulu Garcia-Navarro for six and a half minutes. She made it sound like they'd worked this story for weeks (and had several interviews with Reade), but there's not much in here you wouldn't have found in last weekend's newspaper accounts.
Khalid insisted "this is a very serious allegation against the man who is now the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. And you know, Lulu, we felt that we owed it to our listeners to sift through the facts and walk people through what we know and also what we don't know." Reade told her story of how Biden allegedly assaulted her, and then NPR turned to former Biden staffers to say that was completely out of character.
Melissa Lefko, who held a similar staff assistant job to Reade, said "When you work on the Hill, you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. And Biden was a good guy, and I mean that wholeheartedly."
Khalid channeled more doubts: "Biden supporters also question a few specific things -- her outspoken support of other Democratic candidates, these effusive online posts that she had written in the past praising the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. And they wonder why, as recently as 2017, she praised Biden online."
Garcia-Navarro brought Trump in at the end: "More than a dozen women have publicly accused President Trump of various incidents of sexual assault. Biden has never been accused of sexual assault before. How does that factor into the story?"
Khalid then noted this runs up against the Democrat "Believe All Women" template:
I think what's really interesting about this moment is that this is the first presidential campaign in the #MeToo era. And in the last couple of years, you know, Democrats, including Biden, have been insisting that society should believe women. It's a mantra that's been touted by the left. But I think one of the bigger takeaways from this entire story is how Democrats are grappling with what exactly that means.
It means they're not serious about the slogan.
In 1991, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg was an aggressive character witness for Hill. She told Vanity Fair she "checked Anita Hill's credentials up the wazoo and everybody she said she was a saint, that her integrity was the highest."
Three years later, Totenberg did the opposite to Paula Jones: "Paula Jones, according to her lawyer and one sister, was interested in money." She even said the chances of her lawsuit's survival were not good. Ahem: Bill Clinton settled for $850,000 in 1998.