Tara Reade and Joe Biden’s situation shows how crazy politics can be in the United States. It’s unpredictable, unfocussed and not much different from an old fashioned saloon-style pub fight, except rarely do people buy whisky shots for each other. In truth, I hate politics (and not for the lack of whisky shots). It’s just too dishonest.
The current conundrum facing Democrats in the United States comes at a time when politics is already so divisive, so fragmented and more polarized than it’s ever been. All voters are essentially being forced into two camps: Choose Trump and you’re labelled as a red-hat wearing illiterate MAGA dummy. Choose Biden and you’re labelled as supporting an old nonsensical woman assaulter.
Of course there are two alternatives. Vote third party and you’re considered to be a jerk to everyone. Skip the vote entirely and people will think you don’t deserve an opinion. Ugg.
The Rise Of The #MeToo and #BelieveWomen Movements
Back in 2019, when Brett Michael Kavanaugh was being nominated as Supreme Court Justice of the United States, he was under attack for a host of reasons that the left didn’t agree with. Perhaps the biggest reason was when Christine Blasey Ford fired sexual assault accusations at him, claiming that he sexually assaulted her decades ago. There was no proof or evidence. To this day, only Ford and Kavanaugh know the truth.
Christine Ford’s accusations became political. Heavily political. Republicans and conservatives were bashed for demanding proof and evidence. They were often accused of victim shaming.
Then movements started taking shape, with the #MeToo movement at front and center. Democrats and liberals went from #ListenToWomen to #BelieveWomen, rather quickly. The hashtags (#) are symbolic of the words written on Twitter, a social media battleground for politics. Alyssa Milano, a prominent actress that was involved, pushed the #BelieveWomen line hard. That movement was where the #MeToo movement exploded into popularity. Milano would later question that decision.
#MeToo Gains Momentum
Women around the world started sharing their stories, proclaiming “Me Too, I’m also a victim of sexual assault”. As Democrats wanted to see Kavanaugh burn, they got nudged into dangerous waters without realizing it. The danger was in “Believe All Women”. But political momentum was building. People started preaching “Believe All Women”…essentially a statement against due process in sexual misconduct cases, and a further extension of rebellion against patriarchy, masculinity, and male leadership in general.
And conservative Democrats were uncomfortable to challenge the belief system of “Believe All Women”, because they themselves didn’t want to get labeled as Trump supporters, supporters of sexual abusers or victim shamers. Giving people labels is a very common tactic in politics. Using this tactic made it very easy to control conservative Democrats. Being labelled as a Trump supporter was (and still is) considered scary by many Democrats, so many Democrats jumped on board with #MeToo just to “side with the good team”.
Something about it was just too easy.
Also, if we remember, at that time there were numerous women running for President: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Tusli Gabbard and Amy Klobuchar. And with that, there was an empowering feeling in the air…the #BelieveWomen movement was strong. A woman had a good chance of becoming president. There was no worry of a Democratic candidate being accused of sexual misconduct … because many of the candidates were women.
“Joe Biden…I Guess He’s The Guy”
As 2020 Presidential Campaigns were firing on all cylinders, Democrats eventually narrowed the candidate down to one. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race. The only remaining contender to Donald Trump was Joe Biden, the previous Vice President to Barrack Obama. Eventually Bernie Sanders and Barrack Obama endorsed Joe Biden.
A lot of Democrats felt like the wind had been taken out of their sails. Joe Biden didn’t have a strong mainstream following, nowhere near Bernie Sanders. People didn’t particularly like him. But Biden won the most delegates (of the electoral college) because he was the most conservative, the safest, of the Democratic candidates. Conservative Democrats essentially called the shot for the entire Democratic party. I’ll admit, I have suspicions that some back-door deals went down at the DNC to make Biden “the” guy. Of course, I have no proof of that.
Things were fairly quiet in the United States for a short blip. Biden was considered “the” candidate. Democrats, realizing the limited support that Biden had, often posted on social media: “No Matter Who, Vote Blue!” or simply #VoteBlue …essentially reinforcing “Don’t even think about voting for Trump!”. But it felt flimsy. It wasn’t that people loved Biden…it was that they hated President Trump.
Simultaneously, the world was watching Coronavirus creep up to their doorsteps after it decimated Wuhan, China.
Tara Reade Hits The Spotlight
On April 3rd, 2019, a woman that previously worked on Joe Biden’s senate campaign, a Democrat no less, announced that she was sexually assaulted by Joe Biden in 1993. She gave visual details, claiming that Biden had penetrated her with his fingers. When it happened, she noted the time, the day and she told a couple people about it. Her name is Tara Reade. Additionally, 7 other women came forward against Joe Biden.
Interestingly enough, it’s been more than a year since Reade’s story hit the news. But nobody would cover it. The Washington Post and The Associated Press chose not to report. That’s turned out to be awkward for the news companies. It took them a year to cover Tara Reade’s story.
This also came after Lucy Flores: Nevada politician Lucy Flores alleged that Joe Biden had inappropriately sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head as she waited to go on stage at a campaign rally in 2014. Tara Reade was certainly not the first to bring Biden’s behavior to light. In fact, there are 7 other women that have accused Biden recently, too.
So…things got awkward quickly. In 2018, Democrats were just told to “Believe All Women”. In fact, they preached it. Even Joe Biden himself had waived the flag of “Believe All Women” as a measure to be supportive to an important part of his voter base, women, while also benefitting from tossing a few jabs at Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump. But now, in 2020, Joe Biden was being accused himself. And that has seriously complicated the situation for Democrats.
Democrats had already set the stage, the precedence…for themselves…unbeknownst to themselves. And they were very clear when they set the stage: Believe all women, even without evidence or proof. Ignore due process. It’s inappropriate to ask victims questions. Asking for evidence is a sign that you’re a jerk. Men should not be trusted when they plead innocence.
This movement was very effective at kicking the shit out of Brett Kavanaugh. But for exactly that reason it boxed Democrats into an inescapable corner.
By having no backbone to stand up against progressives (further left democrats) and the #BelieveWomen movements, conservative Democrats essentially dug their own grave.
Democrats Forced To Pick Their Poison
So, given the circumstances, there were essentially two options for everyone left of center:
- Option 1: “Believe all women” and distrust Joe Biden. This means holding consistent values. They could continue to #BelieveWomen, but would also need to choose between: Supporting an assumed sexual predator (Joe Biden), finding a new Democratic candidate, or voting for the dark side (Trump). All are very difficult choices.
- Option 2: Trust Joe Biden and “Don’t believe all women”. This one is more complicated. It means not believing all women. It means some admission that #MeToo was only a matter of political convenience (a very difficult pill to swallow). It’s also a slap in the face to all of the sexual assault victims that were essentially used by Democrats for political gain. And it means that the movement against Kavanaugh was an unjustified witch-hunt.
The two options above are both very bitter pills for Democrats to swallow. Either option would point to some level of hypocrisy. It’s a no-win situation. The only way out, without sacrificing their values, would be to dump Joe Biden as their Presidential candidate and go with another Democratic candidate. Personally, I think that this is what Democrats should do. It’s the only way out of this predicament. Bernie Sanders maybe?
Many Democrats have started utilizing the hashtag #ibelievejoe, but that’s not particularly noble, nor impressive. In fact, it’s unsettling. Women that spilled their delicate stories out during the #MeToo movement are essentially being told “That’s great, thanks, but we don’t need your story…we already got what we wanted from you”. That’s a slap in the face. It means that these survivors were essentially just used by their own political party and then discarded.
The Meaning Of #BelieveWomen is Changing
With the new accusations against Biden, many key people on the left, including the creators of the movements themselves, are now claiming that #BelieveWomen actually means to “listen to women”. This was previously not at all the case when they were out for blood with Brett Kavanaugh.
Here are some examples I’ve found:
“Tara Reade deserves our respect and full support in telling her story.”Tarana Burke, founder of the MeToo movement
“When we say ‘believe women,’ it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard. And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done.”Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic Senator
“I want Tara, like every other survivor, to have the space to be heard and seen without being used as fodder. Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,‘ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default.”Alyssa Milano, Actress
“Not listening to women’s experience of abusive men – and of other areas from health to the economy – harms all of society”Jaclyn Friedman, The Guardian (Note: Jaclyn wrote a book called “Believe Me”…the book wasn’t called “Listen To Me”)
“Believing women means taking the woman’s claim seriously. When she steps forward and then is vetted. Women have the right to be heard, and the press to rigorously investigate the claims they make.”Joe Biden, US Presidential Candidate
Every quote mentioned above came from a woman, except for Joe Biden whom is the accused. It appears that “believe” now doesn’t mean “believe”. It means to “listen” or “provide space” or “to take seriously”. The problem is, the #BelieveWomen standard was already recently set in 2018, only two years ago, by the #MeToo movement.
It’s frustrating to all: democrats, liberals, republicans and conservatives. In the end, this is an absolute tragedy for victims and survivors of sexual assaults. They deserve better. We, as society, should never politicize people with such delicate experiences.
Again, The Mainstream News Media Disappoints
In 2018, when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was being pulverized by #MeToo and #BelieveWomen, the mainstream media pumped out hundreds of articles supporting the movement. In fact, CNN alone published 683 articles about Christine Ford. For Tara Reade CNN had only published 4 articles by April 26th, more than a year after the allegations came to light.
Keep in mind, the Tara Reade is still in the news now. However, CNN has a lot of catching up to do if they want to offer Tara Reade the same amount of fairness and attention that they gave to Christine Ford. I’m joking. We all know that won’t happen. The point is that CNN is highly biased. They badly want Biden to win, especially after Trump called them “fake news” repeatedly.
In 2018, Christine Blasey Ford was depicted as an innocent victim, powerless to the hands of evil Republican men, men that supposedly had all of the power in the world. And maybe she was a victim, nobody knows. Justice Kavanaugh pled innocent, claiming that he never even met Ford. But Kavanaugh’s part of the story was downplayed considerably by the most mainstream media groups that claim to have unbiased agendas – CNN, Washington Post, The New York Times, etc.
Fast forward to Tara Reade’s accusations against Joe Bide: Not one article was published for nearly a year after Tara Reade spoke out.
It was bizarre. But the reason was clear: The news media hated President Trump’s fake news accusations and they didn’t want the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, to lose the upcoming 2020 elections. So they focussed on bashing Trump regarding Coronavirus, censored local doctors to make the virus seem worse than it was (to smear Trump even further), and ultimately ignored Tara Reade’s accusations, even ignoring #BelieveWomen which they had previously so strongly supported. Good god, this train is going off its rails.
I remember speaking to friends about Tara Reade, and some of them would say “Huh? Who is that?” It was clear to me in those moments that the big news companies were ignoring Reade’s story. When I searched on CNN and The New York Times, I was shocked to see that not one story existed at the time. My friends were making the common mistake of only getting their news from only one side of the political spectrum. I was making the mistake of only reading the news from small news companies. In today’s world, it’s dangerous not to check various news sources.
Later, the big news players finally cover Tara Reade’s story.
The New York Times Tara Reade Scandal
When The New York Times published the accusations from Tara Reade, it was a bloodbath. Without knowing how to handle things, The New York Times handled it very poorly. They published the article, later removed parts of the article without noting the changes. They published tweets, only to delete them. And finally, they admitted that the article was directly influenced by the Biden Campaign itself.
They published this article: Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden
It was a disaster. The article said:
“The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable,”
That passage was later removed. When asked to explain why, the NYT responded:
“The [Biden] campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct”
Then, The New York Times explained why they didn’t acknowledge the change in an editor’s note to readers:
“We didn’t think it was a factual mistake. I thought it was an awkward phrasing issue that could be read different ways and that it wasn’t something factual we were correcting,”
So, to summarize…
The New York Times discarded the victims story, made the story about Biden’s lack of sexual misconduct in the past, downplayed his true sexual misconduct, received approval of the phrasing of the story by Biden’s Campaign and even redacted parts because Biden’s campaign didn’t approve of it? This is atrocious.
I’m sorry, but fuck the New York Times for the way they handled this. I use to trust them. They could have handled this just by publishing the news. The problem for them was, they got too involved in the politics. They tried to sway opinion. They tried to protect a politician. Dangerous move.
The following tweet was posted, then later deleted by the New York Times:
After deleting that tweet, the NYT’s claimed:
“We’ve deleted a tweet in this thread that had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.”
Anyway, finally, the New York Times starts to put some pressure on Joe Biden to officially respond to the Tara Reade accusations. Thanks NYT, it only took you two months to acknowledge it.
Later, MotherJones.com, a left wing website received backlash after naming Tara Reade a “top 10 lunatic of 2020”. After getting called out by many people, the website has since removed Tara’s name from the list.
Joe Biden Pleads Innocence, Changes Stance On #BelieveWomen
After months of ignoring Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault, Joe Biden finally agreed to respond to her comments. On May 1st, 2020, he was interviewed on Morning Joe of MSNBC, by Mika Brzezinski:
You can also watch this NBC News video that breaks things down with some commentary, although some claim that this video is less heavy on Joe Biden then the full interview.
Choosing MSNBC was an interesting choice. It’s well known that MSNBC is considered to be a left-leaning news organization. However, in the interview, Mika Brzezinski didn’t go easy on him. Her questions were direct, deep and focussed.
Many people are speculating about the impact that this interview, and story at large, will have on Joe Biden’s campaign. Undoubtedly, Biden’s campaign is feeling pain from Tara Reade’s accusations. However, whether this video interview helped or not is debatable.
What Have We All Learned?
I think that the biggest takeaway from this is: Practice what you preach. To delve deeper: Don’t set standards that you cannot keep yourself.
It is absolutely important to listen and hear sexual assault victims. But we must be careful with the term “believe”. Due process exists for a reason.
Personally, stuff like this makes me hate politics. Democrats were certainly served a good swift kick in the ass for this fiasco that they created for themselves. However, it’s entertaining (and somewhat sad) to see the justifications and lack of responsibility that’s involved. People are trying to squirm their way out of this. Personally, I believe that conservative Democrats made a big error by allowing progressives to control the show. This never could have happened if the “Believe Women” movement received push back from conservative Democrats.
In the end, I think victims, survivors, and women in general deserve better than this. They shouldn’t be used as political tools. I hope this never happens again, but I’m sure it will. We all know how history repeats itself.
This article took some time to write. Here are some more helpful resources:
The NYT Article on Tara Reade is a Masterclass on Journalistic Sleight of Hand
The Intercept – Article About Time’s Up Avoiding Tara Reade’s Case
Time Magazine – What We Know About Tara Reade’s Allegation That Joe Biden Sexually Assaulted Her
NYPost – Major cable networks quiet on sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo
I’m just a traveler that writes about my observations. I’m not a journalist. Aggregating this information took me some time. I wrote it while I was trying to understand the big picture. While most of this information is accurate, I cannot guarantee that every detail is spot on.
Please do your own homework to understand exactly what’s going on. There’s a lot of moving parts involved. Feel free to contact me or comment below if you find something to be incorrect.