‘It is impossible to cut off all oxygen to a story like this one. There are just too many outlets covering this stuff…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The walls appeared to be closing in on Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, even as his campaign aggressively sought to control the messaging from its liberal media allies over an escalating rape scandal.
BuzzFeed led the defection as progressive #MeToo activists, facing a problematic choice between accountability and electability, began to splinter off.
The leftist click-bait site disclosed that Biden’s campaign had distributed a set of highly implausible talking points in the hope of defusing the growing sexual-assault scandal following a credible accusation from former staffer Tara Reade, which has been corroborated by several sources.
The campaign talking points grossly distorted the conclusion of an already obsequious New York Times “investigation.”
The Grey Lady’s much delayed coverage concluded—after what it claimed were extensive interviews with Reade and others who worked with her in Biden’s Senate office—that there was no evidence to support a pattern of sexual abuse.
Yet, under pressure from the campaign, the Times admitted to stealth-editing the story to remove references from seven other women to Biden’s inappropriate touching and physical contact.
The article also painted a false equivalency to uncorroborated accusations against President Donald Trump, and it accepted with little push-back a canned statement, carefully crafted by Biden’s public-relations handlers, which reaffirmed the #BelieveWomen mantra while simultaneously attempting to discredit the accuser.
Nonetheless, Biden’s talking points falsely asserted that the Times piece had conclusively debunked the allegation.
A New York Times spokesperson says Biden campaign talking points “inaccurately” suggest that the Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation “did not happen.” Response to this scoop from @rubycramer @RosieGray https://t.co/ZUD6f2WSEE pic.twitter.com/LNaHvH0ZxF
— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) April 29, 2020
An Unconvincing Denial
The campaign’s claims were then echoed by aspiring vice-presidential hopeful Stacey Abrams.
“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible,” she told CNN on Tuesday. “I believe Joe Biden.”
Tarana Burke, a founder of the #MeToo movement, seemed less convinced, calling it “inconvenient” but not so deeply so that it was disqualifying.
The inconvenient truth is that this story is impacting us differently because it hits at the heart of one of the most important elections of our lifetime. And I hate to disappoint you but I don’t really have easy answers.
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) April 28, 2020
She credited Biden with having undergone a “learning curve” in the intervening quarter-century, despite the fact that he continued to garner new accusations of uncomfortable hair-sniffing up through the 2018 midterm election.
But at least two other outlets on the extreme Left went even farther in their criticism.
The Atlantic called on Biden to release the archival papers from his 40 years in the Senate, allowing scrutiny of this and other problematic episodes from his past.
“Biden’s papers may help explain some of his most consequential actions in the Senate: his conduct during the Clarence Thomas–Anita Hill hearings, his sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill, his vote for the Iraq War,” said the article.
“But Reade’s accusations make access to the papers even more crucial,” it continued. “Biden himself has said that sexual-harassment claims should be carefully investigated. … But the press can’t thoroughly and diligently evaluate Reade’s claims without access to Biden’s papers.”
Meanwhile, CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who issued a tepid rebuke of Biden earlier in the week, came out even more forcefully after seeing that the former vice president clearly aimed to stonewall and hope for the best.
Cillizza published two separate articles on Wednesday—addressing the news about the campaign talking-points and about a staged town-hall event in which Biden blatantly sidestepped the rape issue.
“Biden and his team appear to be playing by an old set of campaign rules in which starving a story of oxygen kills it,” Cillizza wrote.
“That is not the political or media environment we live in now,” he continued. “It is impossible to cut off all oxygen to a story like this one. There are just too many outlets covering this stuff…”
Cillizza expressed his clear discomfort with the moral hypocrisy of the campaign’s stance, as well as outlining several other conditions that pointed to a cascading crisis for Democrats.
A Coup in the Works?
Oddly, the Biden campaign also chose Wednesday to trot out a high-profile endorsement from 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton.
While Clinton is sometimes viewed on the Left as being the victim of her husband’s notorious sexual dalliances, she is regarded more often as an apologist of the former president’s misconduct.
She also has a troublesome history of victim-shaming the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, inviting an unwelcome comparison to Biden’s current dilemma.
That parallel was not lost on Reade, who said she was a former Hillary voter.
“Hillary Clinton has a history of enabling powerful men to cover up their sexual predatory behaviors and their inappropriate sexual misconduct,” Reade said in a statement issued to Fox News.
“We don’t need that for this country,” she added. “We don’t need that for our new generation coming up that wants institutional rape culture to change.”
Many continue to believe that the Democratic Party establishment could stage a coupe this and other reservations about Biden continue to build.
That could, perhaps, lead to a brokered convention in which former First Lady Michelle Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Biden’s former campaign rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, are poised to be the main contenders to replace him.
Some also have speculated that if Biden, himself, is complicit in the plot, the stage may be set for a scenario in which he defeated Trump in the November election, was inaugurated in January and, shortly thereafter, stepped aside, citing the 25th Amendment to declare himself unfit to fulfill his elected duties.