When Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in a September 2018 interview with The Washington Post, prominent Democrats and media organizations rushed to the story — demanding answers and, in many cases, the end of Kavanaugh’s career.
In the weeks after Tara Reade publicly charged in a podcast released March 25 that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, however, those same politicians and outlets have become either silent or equivocal — even as mounting video and testimonial evidence corroborates Reade’s claim, where Ford presented no contemporaneous support for her allegations.
A Fox News chronology, beginning the day of each accusation, shows the extent to which Reade’s claims have been handled differently from Ford’s.
Fox News has reached out to Democratic lawmakers for comment about Reade, but has not heard back. Similarly, not a single Democratic senator responded when The Daily Caller gave each lawmaker 24 hours to provide comment on Reade’s allegations.
SEPT. 16, 2018
Within minutes of The Washington Post’s story outlining Ford’s claims, The New York Times immediately publishes a story stating that Kavanaugh’s nomination was “in turmoil.”
CNN also reports the news immediately with an article. And another (likening the news to the Anita Hill testimony). And another (describing the White House as mounting an “intense” effort to squash the accusation.) And another (describing a senator’s assessments of how Kavanaugh’s nomination would go forward). And another (describing how Democrats would push for a delay in Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.)
Sen. Dianne Feinsten, D-Calif., announces her opposition to Kavanaugh. “Supreme Court justices should not be an extension of the Republican Party,” she says. “They must also have unquestionable character and integrity, and serious questions remain about Judge Kavanaugh in this regard, as indicated in information I referred to the FBI.” (Feinstein had first received Ford’s accusation weeks earlier, but chose not to release them until after his hearings had concluded.)
MARCH. 25, 2020
“It happened all at once, and then … his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” Reade tells podcast host Katie Halper on Wednesday. “He said ‘come on, man, I heard you liked me. For me, it was like, everything shattered … I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”
Meanwhile, CNN wonders, “Why is Bernie Sanders still running for president?” The Reade claim is not mentioned on the network, neither on-air nor online.
The New York Times publishes a story explaining that Biden was growing “impatient” with the idea of more debates with Bernie Sanders. The Reade claim is not mentioned anywhere in the paper, which asked as early as August 2018 why Republicans were “covering up” Kavanaugh’s “past.”
The Intercept reports that a darling of the “Me Too” movement, the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, refused to help Reade with legal expenses as she made her claim, citing Biden’s presidential run and its nonprofit status.
Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)
SEPT. 17, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calls for an FBI background investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh. “We need the FBI to step forward to ensure that the Senate and American public have complete information about this troubling alleged incident before a hearing is held,” Schumer said.
CNN calls the Ford accusation a “watershed moment for the GOP.”
Huffington Post runs a story quoting Biden as saying, “Women’s Claims Of Sexual Assault Should Be Presumed To Be True.” Biden remarked: “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time. … But nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron.”
MARCH. 26, 2020
Jimmy Kimmel interviews Biden, and the two discuss “Where’s Waldo?” Kimmel does not ask Biden about Reade’s accusation.
CNN teases an upcoming CNN town hall with Joe Biden. The Reade accusations are not discussed on-air in the network’s preview coverage.
SEPT. 18, 2018
Kavanaugh’s nomination officially “descends into chaos,” CNN reports.
The New York Times publishes an op-ed from Anita Hill, who argues: “With the current heightened awareness of sexual violence comes heightened accountability for our representatives.”
As new, unsubstantiated and in some cases instantly discredited accusations emerge against Kavanaugh, The Washington Post reports that some Democrats are “backing away” from claims against Kavanaugh.
MARCH. 27, 2020
CNN’s Anderson Cooper does not ask Biden about Reade’s claims in a lengthy virtual town hall. In its writeup of the event, CNN assures readers, “Joe Biden: He’s just like the rest of us.”
“We sit on our back porch and they sit out on the lawn with two chairs,” the network quotes Biden as saying. “They talk through everything that’s happened during their day now that they are home from school, who’s driving who crazy.”
SEPT. 19, 2018
The Guardian reports that Christine Ford’s life has been “turned upside down” by her accusation, noting that she has received threats. The paper does not note that Kavanaugh and his family, as well as Republican senators, also had received threats to their lives.
MARCH. 28, 2020
The Guardian laments: “It hugely frustrating to see conservatives, who couldn’t give a damn about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, weaponize the accusations against Biden. However, it’s also frustrating to see so many liberals turning a blind eye. The accusations against the former vice-president are serious; why aren’t they being taken seriously?”
LGBT supporters gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, in Washington. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in its first cases on LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy was a voice for gay rights while his successor, Brett Kavanaugh, is regarded as more conservative. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
SEPT. 27, 2018
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham erupts, accusing Democrats of orchestrating “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”
“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020,” Graham said, before turning to Kavanaugh. “Are you a gang rapist?” he asked sarcastically, referring to an unsubstantiated accusation by Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick.
The New York Times describes Kavanaugh and Graham’s behavior as a typical display of “white male anger.”
Guy Benson, a Townhall.com political editor and Fox News contributor, tweeted this week that a “non-conservative” contact in the media had messaged him to belatedly praise Graham’s comments. “I thought he was a loon” to say the Kavanaugh hearings were all about power, the source said. “In reality he was right all along.”
APRIL 5, 2020
A self-described movie enthusiast posts a transcript of Reade’s claims on a message board. CNN and The New York Times have not mentioned the claims once.
OCT. 1, 2018
The New York Times does a deep dive, reporting that Kavanaugh was once questioned by police after a bar fight in 1985. A police report even said Kavanaugh “threw ice at another patron.”
APRIL 9, 2020
Reade files a criminal complaint with the Washington, D.C. police, alleging that she was sexually assaulted in 1993.
OCT. 3, 2018
Protesters let out a collective “STOP KAVANAUGH” scream at a protest in Brooklyn.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, assures demonstrators in Washington: “This isn’t about politics or anything else.”
APRIL 12, 2020
The Times covers Reade’s accusations, and makes sure to note that Reade could face criminal penalties if she filed a false police report. Attempting to explain why the Times waited so much longer to report on Reade’s accusation, Times executive editor Dean Baquet claimed that “Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way” — although he did not explain why that logic did not apply to Biden, who was sealing up the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.
The article notes that Reade told two friends about the episode around the time it occurred.
Baquet would also admit the story was edited after publication at the request of the Biden campaign to remove a reference to Biden’s past history of inappropriate touching.
According to a copy of the Times’ article saved by the Internet archive Wayback Machine, the Times originally reported: “No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
After the Biden campaign’s request, the paragraph now reads: “No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.”
Later in the day, The Washington Post also covers Reade’s claims for the first time. Both the Post and the Times mention accusations against President Trump.
OCT. 6, 2018
Anti-Kavanaugh protesters bang on the walls of the Supreme Court to protest his confirmation.
APRIL 15, 2020
The Washington Post openly struggles with Reade’s claims: “What to make of former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade’s allegations that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sexually assaulted her in 1993?” wrote the paper’s deputy editorial page editor, Ruth Marcus. “This is a difficult and important question — not least for those who were persuaded by Christine Blasey Ford’s assertion that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were high school students in the 1980s.”
Marcus goes on to admit that “we all suffer from the inclination, whether knowing or unknowing, to assess evidence through the lens of preexisting biases.”
OCT. 15, 2018
The Guardian reports that witches are planning to hex Kavanaugh.
APRIL 24, 2020
A resurfaced clip of “Larry King Live” from 1993 appears to include the mother of Tara Reade — who has accused Joe Biden of past sexual assault while in the Senate — alluding to “problems” her daughter faced while working as a staffer for the then-U.S. senator from Delaware.
In a telephone interview with Fox News, Reade confirmed that her mother called in to the show. Biden’s presidential campaign has adamantly denied Reade’s allegations but the video could be cited as evidence supporting Reade’s allegation – even though her late mother, in the clip, does not specifically refer to a sexual assault claim. CNN would not cover the clip until the following afternoon, well after most other media organizations.
The Intercept had reported earlier that Reade said her late mother once called into CNN’s “Larry King Live” to discuss her daughter’s “experience on Capitol Hill,” where the alleged encounter with Biden took place. Reade didn’t recall other information, such as the date or even year, and The Intercept managed to dig up a transcript of the call but not the video.
OCT. 17, 2018
The Washington Post speculates about “two ways Democrats can remove Kavanaugh — without impeaching him.”
APRIL 26, 2020
The 1993 episode of CNN’s “Larry King Live” apparently featuring Reade’s mother is discovered missing from the Google Play store.
Twitter user J.L. Hamilton shared a screenshot showing the Aug. 11, 1993, broadcast of “Larry King Live” was no longer listed in the season three catalog of the iconic CNN talk show. Mysteriously, though, the Aug. 10 broadcast, which is listed as “Episode 154” is followed by the Aug. 12 broadcast, which is listed as “Episode 155,” suggesting that episode and the ones that follow could be incorrectly listed and off by a number.
Fox News later verified the Aug. 11 episode is not listed on the streaming service. It is unclear when it was removed from the catalog.
Neither CNN nor Google immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment. Fox News also reached out to the representation of Larry King and have not heard a response.
Fox News’ Joseph Wulfson and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.