Perhaps it’s a hazard of drinking swamp water, but Washington suffers from widespread myopia. Politicos on both sides of the aisle can’t see beyond a handful of news cycles and they craft their messages accordingly. Rarely do they consider that what works for one situation, can create problems in another.
An example is the Democratic mantra “all women must be believed” that was chanted by Joe Biden and other party leaders during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh. They stuck with this messaging even after the emergence of Julie Swetnick, the client of disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti who claimed to have witnessed “gang rapes” and other horrific activities at a party attended by Kavanaugh. Swetnick’s dubious credibility and allegations were so over the top the Senate Judiciary Committee later sent criminal referrals to the Justice Department, unfortunately after the media widely reported them.
It never dawned on Biden or his Democratic colleagues that one day the tables could turn, particularly since there is a statistically high probability of people in power facing false accusations. According to criminal attorney Gina Tennen, since the emergence of the #MeToo movement there has been an “epidemic” of false “financially motivated” accusations.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, has been forced to eat his words. Tara Reade, a former Biden staffer, has accused him of inappropriate and criminal behavior, alleging the former vice president once grabbed her between the legs. Some people are on record saying that Reade mentioned the incident to them, but there is no documented proof of the allegation.
Biden on Friday denied Reade’s allegations, while still trying to farcically maintain that all women should be believed. His statement — or rather what his statement lacked –made a mockery of his insistence that all accusers of sexual wrongdoing be “treated with dignity and respect.”
If Biden believed that, he would have first acknowledged the seriousness of Reade’s allegation and said that he’d welcome someone experienced with criminal investigations to examine it. Biden could have denied Reade’s allegations and noted that while he’s been accused of inappropriate touching, no one in his decades long career has ever alleged that he engaged in such egregious wrongdoing. He could then have called on supporters to avoid attacking Reade because it’s his word against hers and that as a matter of principle all sexual harassment accusers must be “treated with dignity and respect.”
Instead, Biden essentially called Reade a bald-faced liar and his statement was designed to inflict maximum public humiliation. He called on “responsible news organizations” to “examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in (Reade’s) story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.”
Biden prefers newspaper investigations because he knows full well the New York Times and other liberal publications have his back. Indeed, the Times, after waiting more than two weeks before reporting on Reade’s allegations, declared a week ago it found “no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
The Times later removed the reference and trotted out its PR person to insist the publication hadn’t cleared Biden of wrongdoing after his campaign declared that it had. By comparison, the Times instantly reported Swetnick’s allegations, despite noting that none of her claims could be “independently corroborated.”
Much has been made that Reade initially alleged that Biden sexually harassed her and only later appended her allegations to say said he accosted her in a Congressional basement. Reade said she didn’t initially move forward with the assault complaint because she was afraid. I can relate.
When I was a college sophomore in my native Canada, I attended a talk given by a prominent federal cabinet minister I long admired. I befriended him after the meeting and was naively excited when he asked if I’d like to go for drinks. Upon learning that I lived nearby, he suggested we go back to my place.
Despite a high-profile wife, the cabinet minister was a closet gay and he came on to me with an aggression that bordered violence. Fortunately, I was stronger than him and could resist his advances. When the politician sobered up, I asked him why he wasn’t concerned about engaging in such reckless behavior. “No one would believe you if you told anyone what happened,” he said. I knew he was right, which was why I never shared the incident despite the trauma of it.
Biden reportedly had the entitlement that comes with power. Author Ronald Kessler disclosed in 2014 that Biden routinely swam in the nude in the presence of female secret service agents, which made them uncomfortable. These were women who would take a bullet for him, yet he didn’t respect them enough to show some modesty in their presence. Pro athletes are required to cover up when interviewed by female reporters, but Biden paraded in the nude because he knew he could get away with it. As for Biden’s “regular Joe” persona, Kessler reported that protecting Biden was the second most dreaded secret service assignment; protecting Hillary Clinton ranked first.
The media is dishonest in how it reports denials from former Biden staffers about the complaint Reade said she filed. As an example, multiple publications, including the Washington Post and CNN, reported that Dennis Toner, Biden’s former deputy chief of staff, had “no recollection” of Reade’s sexual harassment allegations. What they neglected to mention is that Toner is Biden’s campaign finance director, a position that could possibly cloud his memory. It comes as no surprise that all the Democratic operatives Biden surrounded himself with speak no evil, saw no evil, or heard no evil. Great jobs await them if Biden is elected president.
To Reade’s credit, she has resisted efforts to be used for partisan purposes. As noted by media columnist Ben Smith in the New York Times, Reade declined repeated opportunities to appear on Fox News. But the other network and cable news channels closed ranks and declined to have Reade appear on camera to tell her story. Smith also confirmed that Vanity Fair refused to publish this story.
The media’s handling of Reade’s allegations has awakened more people about politics and the media’s dishonesty. One of the disillusioned is actress and activist Rose McGowan, long a symbol of the #MeToo movement and now a modern day de Tocqueville.
“I am not a cynical person, but America goddamn,” McGowan tweeted. “Republicans have always been painted as the bad guys, and I’ve always seen them more as a cult, but now I realize so are the Democrats and the media. Marco and micro. This is deeper than a cover-up. And I’m sad because there’s death around all corners and shadows in the daytime. It hurts.”
Reade’s treatment by Biden and his media enablers serves as a warning to women who want to come forward with accusations of sexual misbehavior against powerful politicians: Unless your abuser is a Republican, best to keep your allegations to yourself.