None of the major Sunday morning news talk shows mentioned Tara Reade’s increasingly credible allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden today, April 26. CNN’s “State of the Union,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and, yes, even Fox’s “Fox News Sunday”—See? It’s trustworthy after all!— all gave their audiences the impression that Reade did not exist, or that her claim that Joe Biden—who has stated that all female accusers should be presumed credible and have their accusations taken seriously—harassed, assaulted her and, indeed, raped her while he was a U.S. Senator, wasn’t newsworthy.
This, even though there were new developments regarding her more than month-old claim. A transcript obtained by The Intercept, as well as a video uncovered by the Media Research Center two days ago, showed that someone from Reade’s mother’s city called into CNN in 1993 and asked for advice about her daughter’s problems with a “prominent senator.” Even CNN ignored the story today.
How can anyone justify this, or explain it except as a flagrant, partisan, stunningly unethical effort by the networks to keep the public in the dark to serve a political agenda?
Come on, I’m calling you out, media bias deniers and enablers! Give me a single good reason why I should say, “Oh! Of course! This isn’t part of the continuing effort to manipulate facts, distort the news and strangle our democracy with ignorance! Silly me! They all behaved responsibly and ethically, like the first-rate, objective journalists they are!” Give me a reason that isn’t spin or a rationalization, and I’ll admit my error here, and stark naked in the middle of the National Mall with a bullhorn, wearing my facemask of course.
The shows had a great opportunity and many reasons to ask about Reade. Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Michigan Dictator Gretchen Whitmer, all women, all feminists, all #MeToo supporters, and all reportedly being considering as a potential running-mate for Biden, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s “State of the Union,” and /or ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” None were asked about their thoughts on Reade.
That’s funny, because I’d be very interested in their comments on that topic. Wouldn’t you? I’d even assume that whatever they said would be considered headline worthy, unlike what they did talk about. How odd. These shows usually want to make headlines. What possible explanation could there be for not asking about Reade? It has to have been an oversight, right? And a coincidence that all of the shows made the same oversight, of course.
The networks, so far, have not responded to requests for an explanation.
But we know what the explanation is. The mainstream media is increasingly brazen about its partisan strategy, and apparently unconcerned about its transparent rejection of fundamental journalism ethics. It assumes that its audience, or the part of it they care about, is now corrupt and complicit in the destruction of basic democratic institutions, and will let this continue.
Thus we have another integrity test. Not for the news media; it has flunked so many integrity tests over the past decade or more that another is superfluous. The integrity test is for the public, and honest, fair pundits, professionals, elected officials and others the public respects. Will they allow the news media, and obviously the Democratic Party, which must be pulling its strings, to get away with this?
Political orientation and party affiliation shouldn’t make a difference, should it? Don’t all Americans have the same stake in having news sources report important news rather than burying the facts and events that are inconvenient for their favorite politicians? Isn’t there universal agreement on basic principles, that lawyers should represent their clients, that judges should be impartial, that doctors should do no harm, that the police should enforce the law, and that journalists should inform the public of the news they have the right to know? Every member of the public, progressive, conservative or otherwise, Republican or Democrats, should object to what the news shows did today with equal fervor.
If we allow the news media to get away with this, we’ve abandoned our commitment to democracy.