Skip to comments.Pathetic Politico: The Media Has Done A Pretty Solid Job Covering This Tara Reade Story
Posted on 04/30/2020 5:55:43 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
This piece by Jack Shafer at Politico today was always inevitable. The only real surprise here is that CNNs Brian Stelter didnt write it first. But no matter, you can be sure that this vague and pathetic defense of the medias credibility will be widely admired and imitated by other media reporters and a whole phalanx of column writers who want to defend the honor of journalism even if it makes no sense to do so.
About a month ago, Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer for Joe Biden in the early 1990s, appeared on Katie Halpers podcast and accused Biden of having sexually assaulted her in 1993. Through a spokesman, Biden has denied the charges. (This isnt the first time Reade has made Biden news. A year ago, she told a California newspaper that Biden touched her neck and shoulders without permission.) But within days, left, right, and libertarian critics were lining up to ask why the mainstream media was ignoring the accusation. Why werent reporters asking Biden directly about Reades latest charge? Reporters hadnt hesitated to chase the sexual assault charges against Brett Kavanaugh after he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Was a double standard dictating that the press must sleuth after accused Republicans but cover up for Democrats?
This next line may be my favorite in the entire piece:
The double-standard theory took a torpedo to the bow on April 12, when the Washington Post and the New York Times published accounts of Reades charges. The Associated Press published its own investigation on April 13 Its an ironclad rule of journalism that its exceedingly hard to complain something isnt getting covered once the Post and Times assign a combined six credited reporters to the story.
Wow, six whole reporters! Notice he doesnt spell out that it took nearly three weeks for that torpedo to hit the bow. Thats pretty important since thats exactly what the critics had been complaining about. Where was the urgency the media had shown with Judge Kavanaugh? Shafer has an answer for that: Journalistically sound cases could be made both to chase the allegation or to slow-walk it, so dont look to me to damn outlets that havent gone full-tilt on it.
Journalistically sound cases could have been made to slow-walk Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick too, but that didnt happen. The NY Times jumped on Swetnicks story the same day and repeated everything she claimed without checking it. Here I have to once again credit Ben Smith who put that point to NY Times executive editor Dean Baquet about why Reade was being treated so differently. Baquets repsonse was a confused word salad:
Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way. Kavanaughs status as a Supreme Court justice was in question because of a very serious allegation. And when I say in a public way, I dont mean in the public way of Tara Reades. If you ask the average person in America, they didnt know about the Tara Reade case. So I thought in that case, if The New York Times was going to introduce this to readers, we needed to introduce it with some reporting and perspective. Kavanaugh was in a very different situation. It was a live, ongoing story that had become the biggest political story in the country. It was just a different news judgment moment.
Hes totally reversed the parties here. Julie Swetnick wasnt a household name either. Thats the point. The Times helped make her one. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is a household name and his nomination is a big deal. But Jack Shafer just skips over all of that even as he admits that the big TV networks do seem strangely allergic to Tara Reade even now.
On Tuesday, the media critics at NewsBusters charted the slim coverage of the Biden charges on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and PBS. (It should go without saying that Fox News Channel has run hot on the story.) According to NewsBusters calculations, ABC, NBC, CNN and MSNBC have all interviewed Biden recently but not one of 77 questions they asked of him between March 25 and April 27 has been about Reades charges. There can be no finessing around this line score: The broadcasters deferred to Biden.
But Shafer has an answer for that too and, wow, is it pathetic. Its so pathetic that he apologizes for it as soon as he offers it:
I might be tempted to second NewsBusters view that the fix is in for Biden at liberal TV news networks if not for Jake Tappers interview one year ago on his Sunday show, CNNs State of the Union, where he interviewed former Nevada state Assemblywoman Lucy Flores for 12 minutes about Biden inappropriately touching her and kissing the back of her head in 2014. (Heres the video of the interview, which CNN titled First TV interview with Lucy Flores on Biden accusation.) Im not suggesting that one interview from a year ago should give the mainstream press a permanent pass from all Biden criticism, but it does argue against the notion that the press has formed a phalanx in front of the candidate.
I want to ridicule this but I think it may be beyond ridicule. The best I can do is to restate his argument, which goes like this: The fact that one reporter at one network interviewed a different person about a less serious allegation 13 months ago, shows the media is okay. Up next, the worlds biggest straw man argument:
On Tuesday, Atlantic contributor Peter Beinart called on Biden to release his senatorial papers, now being held at the University of Delaware, to help sort out Reades claims. (She says a sexual harassment claim she filed against Biden in 1993 might be in his papers. She did not keep a copy for herself.) The Atlantics status as one of the glittery jewels in the liberal media crown cannot be denied. If the libs were so determined to silence this story, wouldnt Beinarts editors have broken his typing fingers?
For a guy who does this for a living and gets paid for it, Shafer doesnt seem to know much about conservative media criticism. And make no mistake, thats what he really cares about here. Thats why hes creating this stupid strawman argument about libs breaking someones fingers as if conservatives imagine thats how this works. And for the record, this isnt the only time Beinart has written something for the Atlantic which cut against the progressive groupthink. Again, pointing out one author or one person at CNN who maybe shows some willingness to break from the herd does not prove all is well.
The press might not have reacted as swiftly or as aggressively as some would have liked in reporting out a 27-year-old allegation it first learned about from a March 25 podcast. We canand shouldcriticize broadcasters for not putting the question directly to Biden. But as coverage from the Post, Times, Business Insider, the Intercept, and others show, neither did the press avert its glance. Over the past week, the press has accelerated its pace from a cruise to a sprint, which is a good thing. If youre keeping score at home, ding the broadcasters for their meekness at confronting Biden but award a gold star to print and digital outlets that have reported the story out giving the accuser her say without giving Biden a dose of vigilante justice.
Business Insider and the Intercept have carried this story when no one else wanted to touch it. Lumping them in with the slow-walkers at the NY Times is an insult. If youre keeping score at home the score that matters is the hundreds of reporters who generated saturation coverage of the Kavanaugh allegations versus the handful of timid stories weve seen about Joe Biden so far. And yes, the fact that most networks havent touched this and Biden himself hasnt been asked proves the same point: The media and the activists and womens groups are all treating this allegation very, very differently.
I heard a taped remark yesterday on the radio, I think it was a democrat congress woman but I could be mistaken. And she acknowledged that it is possible that he did this sexual assault, but it was only one woman and he has such great things to accomplish.
The left is already willing to give him a pass on this just as they gave Ted Kennedy a pass repeatedly.
The MSM won’t cover the story because it would upset Joe and then he would have to campaign with his emotional support gerbil.
I think they meant to say “covering up” the Tara Reade stoty.
The presumptive Democrat candidate for President of the United States is a relatively minor player in the world, similar to your mailman, one of the guys on your weekly garbage truck, or one of the cashiers at your local grocery store.
Now, a presumptive Supreme Court justice - well, that's some BIG stuff, there.
when will the angry, breathless 24/7 coverage begin, Politico?
Biden was reported as to have said....
I know how to handle this!!!..Bring me a copy of the complaint...a hammer....and some bleach..../s
are you referring to “Dr. Jill”?
WTF,Kavanaugh was not that long ago! These media scum are pure vile waste of life.
Hey, don’t talk down Dr. Jill. Joe could assign her to eradicate COVID-19 by writing a poem or something!
Baloney, they have barely touched it.
If it’s true then they wouldn’t need a thousand words to explain it. FAKE NEWS
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