The media afforded former Vice President Joe Biden 37 days of silence in regards to a sexual assault allegation against him.
Biden was directly asked about former Senate staffer Tara Reade’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s for the first time Friday. Before that moment, Biden had only rejected the accusation through a spokesperson, despite numerous public interviews in the five weeks since Reade publicly accused him.
The presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee denied sexually assaulting Reade on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday. Moments before he was set to be interviewed, Biden issued a written statement denying the assault.
Full Biden statement: pic.twitter.com/CNUHFJhaAL
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) May 1, 2020
Biden’s public denial follows mounting pressure from both some Democrats and Republicans for the former vice president to officially address Reade’s allegation. Reade’s public sexual assault allegation was levied March 25 and the media did not ask the former vice president a single question on the matter until May 1.
Tara Reade first made her sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden on March 25. It’s an embarrassment to the national media that it took until May 1 for him to be asked about it https://t.co/aTXq4Y5pKG
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 1, 2020
The media’s avoidance is not for a lack of availability to Biden. In fact, Biden faced 142 questions across 19 interviews since Reade’s allegation came to light, The Washington Free Beacon noted in an analysis April 29. (RELATED: CNN Failed To Uncover Footage From Its Own Archives That Could Back Up Biden Accuser’s Allegations)
This equals nearly four hours of speaking time, many of which came on big networks. Some of these interviews came after major media publications finally began to consistently report on Reade’s allegation. Not a single interviewer asked Biden about the alleged sexual assault.
The New York Times published an investigation into Reade’s allegation April 12. The Biden campaign used this investigation in talking points reportedly sent to top Democratic supporters.
The talking points read that “a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen,” according to Buzzfeed. The NYT pushed back on the talking points, noting that its investigation did not reach a conclusion either way.
Publications began to cover Reade’s allegation more aggressively after evidence began to surface that could corroborate her story. One of these pieces of evidence was an unearthed video from CNN’s “Larry King Live” that appeared to show Reade’s mother talking about problems her unnamed daughter had with a “prominent” senator.