Note: Popular Resistance tends to stay away from electoral campaign reporting and instead focuses on political issues. An important issue in this era is sexual assault and abuse of women by men with political and economic power. At this time, former Vice President Joe Biden is the front runner for the Democratic nomination. The Democratic leadership and their allies in the corporate media have coalesced around Biden in fear of the re-election of President Donald Trump and of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism. The media and Democratic politicians seem to be protecting Biden from this credible allegation of a former staff member of Biden’s, Tara Reade.
We are covering this issue because it is not being covered by the corporate media and we believe the issue of sexual assault deserves attention. The right-wing media is covering it, but the corporate-Democratic-leaning media, which aggessively covered allegations of assault against conservatives like Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump, are ignoring these allegations.
Arwa Mahdawi of the Guardian asks “Why are sexual assault and misbehavior allegations against Biden being ignored?” She writes “The mainstream media has largely ignored the allegations. Instead, there have been headlines like The top 10 women Joe Biden might pick as VP (CNN) and Joe Biden’s inner circle: No longer a boy’s club (AP).” She points out the challenge of proving allegations of an event with no witnesses but argues we should not assume that women are lying and men are telling the truth. An investigation would include talking to the people that Tara Reade told about the assault at the time it happened, but even that simple step is not being taken.
Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti of Hill TV’s Rising, did the first on-camera interview of Tara Reed.
On April 1, Krystal Ball took apart the media’s bias for not examining the Tara Reade-Joe Biden’s story. Ball is an economic populist who often examines the failures of the corporate media and who has been a fact-based critic of the former vice president and the corporate leadership of the Democratic Party. In the commentary below she shows the false arguments made by those who claim that the media is not biased. She said she understands the difficulty of “he said-she said” allegations but notes that the media should not assume the woman is lying and the man is telling the truth. Reade’s claim should be investigated along with Biden’s history.
Ball argues the media should be looking at Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill who accused Clarence Thomas of inappropriate sexual behavior, which resulted in one of the worst Supreme Court justices of my lifetime, Clarence Thomas, being put on the court, as well as the numerous ‘Creepy Uncle Joe’ incidents of touching women and girls inappropriately. Biden has a history of factually inaccurate statements that have occurred throughout his political career including during this campaign. Of course, if all of this history of Biden were examined, it could undermine his nomination. Democrats in the media do not want to seem to hold Biden accountable for his past because he has the support of the Democratic Party leadership.
Of course, in the general election, if Biden is the nominee, all of these issues will come up. Krystal Ball points out that the failure of the ‘Me Too” movement to take up Tara Reade’s case undermines the movement and turns it into a partisan tool rather than an ongoing campaign to seek justice for women. (More broadly, I am impressed that The Hill allows ‘Rising’ on the air as it is one of the few political news shows that talks honestly about the failures of both corporate parties. Krystal Ball ran for office as a Democrat but seems to be breaking from the Democratic Party. She refuses to say she will vote for Biden in 2020 if he is the nominee. One criticism of the show is that like the rest of the media they are not covering the progressive alternative to the Democrats, Howie Hawkins, the leading Green candidate.)
Neither I nor Margaret Flowers, the co-director at Popular Resistance, are involved in Democratic or Republican elections. I gave up on the Democrats during the early years of Bill Clinton and have not supported a Democrat or Republican for any office in 40 years (and have never regretted it). In fact, I was Ralph Nader’s press secretary and spokesperson in his 2004 campaign. We are reporting on this not to impact the outcome of the Democratic nomination but to put attention on allegations that should be investigated. – KZ
Joe Biden Faces Sexual Assault Allegations From A Former Staffer
Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a new sexual assault allegation, from a woman named Tara Reade, who says she has been trying to share her story since 1993 when it allegedly happened. Reade’s allegation comes in the midst of Biden’s surging presidential campaign and is consistent with other stories women have shared about their discomfort with the way Biden has touched them.
Reade was a staff assistant for Joe Biden in 1993, when she claims he digitally raped her. She told part of her story in 2019, when Lucy Flores wrote in The Cut about the inappropriate way Biden smelled her hair and kissed the top of her head. At the time, several other women came forward to say that Biden had touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, including Reade, who said that Biden used to put his hands on her shoulders and run his fingers up and down her neck. Now, she has detailed what she says is the entirety of her experience with Biden on The Katie Halper Show.
According to Reade, Biden pressed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent. “It happened all at once, and then… his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” she says. She also remembers him asking “do you want to go somewhere else?” and then, when she had pulled away, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” Reade says that “everything shattered” in that moment and his claim that he thought she liked him made her feel like she had “done this” somehow. “I looked up to him, he was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes,” she says. “I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”
Following her accusations against Biden, reports from Ryan Grim at The Intercept detailed all the ways Reade was stonewalled in telling her story — including from Time’s Up, the high-profile organization founded to help survivors tell their stories in the midst of the #MeToo movement, which is housed within the National Women’s Law Center. According to Grim’s reporting, Reade asked for help from the organization in January of this year, but she was told they could not help her because it would jeopardize their non-profit status due to the fact that he was a presidential candidate.
“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” NWLC spokesperson, Maria Patrick, told The Intercept. It was also revealed in the same story that “the public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.”
Reade’s accusation has opened up discourse on social media about why the mainstream media is ignoring the story. “I don’t understand why the extremely serious sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden are not getting significant attention outside of left media,” tweeted Vox Senior Correspondent Zack Beauchamp.
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2020
There were no witnesses to Reade’s assault, but she told The Intercept that she’d spoken to a close friend, as well as her brother, at the time of the alleged assault, and both have confirmed this with The Intercept. Reade said Thursday morning on Rising on Hill TV Live that she’s waited so long to speak publicly about what happened because she was afraid of retaliation, and also because back then she “didn’t have the framework” to understand what had happened to her.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Update, March 28, 2020: Joe Biden’s campaign has denied Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation.
In a statement on Friday his campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”