To the casual observer, it's clear that the mainstream media operate under a default assumption when it comes to women who accuse political figures of sexual assault: The ones who accuse Republicans are inherently more credible than the ones who accuse Democrats.
This bias has become so obvious as the media struggle to handle Tara Reade's credible allegation of sexual assault against former vice president Joe Biden—especially compared with the hysterical coverage surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—that even members of the media are beginning to notice. They are shocked—SHOCKED!—that critics of the media's handling of Reade's allegations might have a point.
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"For Biden's opponents on the right, the issue regarding Tara Reade doesn't seem to be that they actually believe her. In fact, I don't know if they do," Sam Stein, politics editor at the Daily Beast, wrote on Twitter. "It's that they feel the left is engaged in an insane degree of hypocrisy and political convenience over when to believe women."
Stein delivers this "insight" with the scientific self-confidence of a nerd watching sports for the first time and observing in his little nerd notebook that fans' opinions of the referees can change dramatically depending on which team benefits from a given call. The casual observer might have a different response. "No s—," for example.
Stacey Abrams, the failed gubernatorial candidate who is desperately trying to convince Biden to pick her as a running mate, opposed Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court in 2018 because, she said at the time, "I believe women." She changed her tune during a Tuesday night appearance on CNN, a network that has interviewed Biden twice since Reade's allegations surfaced but neglected to ask him about it.
In this case, Abrams believes the man. She insisted that the assault Reade claims to have suffered in 1993 "did not happen" despite being supported by far more evidence than Ford's allegation against Kavanaugh. Abrams was regurgitating talking points distributed by the Biden campaign, which claimed a New York Times investigation had "concluded" that the alleged incident "did not happen." Except that's not true.
At least the Times has pretended to be interested in covering Reade's accusation fairly. The Washington Post, on the other hand, has not. When forced to report the fact that Reade's former neighbor, a Biden supporter, confirmed that Reade discussed the alleged assault with her shortly after it happened, the Post ran the story under the following headline: "Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden."
Where, indeed, might Biden opponents get the idea that "the left is engaged in an insane degree of hypocrisy and political convenience" when it comes to Tara Reade?
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) April 29, 2020
Guardian columnist Owen Jones provided a more direct assessment of how the media—as well as the Democratic Party and liberal establishment, to the extent there is a difference—have handled the Tara Reade story.
"The deafening silence over sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden is a genuine disgrace," Jones wrote on Twitter. "It's sending a message that the allegations against Trump were taken seriously by liberals because he was a Republican, rather than an alleged assaulter of women."
Shocking, isn't it?