So Far, There Is No Reason Not to Believe Tara Reade

Tara Reade Urges Joe Biden to Release Private Senate Papers

            Did Joe Biden finger-rape Tara Reade in the Capitol in 1993? No one knows but the two of them. (Given the former vice president’s obviously fragile mental state, he might not remember.)

            Pending the miraculous discovery of ancient surveillance footage, we may never know the truth about this alleged sexual assault. Still, the issue is worth discussing. To paraphrase Richard Nixon, the American people have the right to consider the possibility that their presidential candidate may be a rapist. Tara Reade has the right to be fully heard, Joe Biden has the right to a vigorous defense, and voters have the right to decide whether or not we believe her.

            What I find interesting, in part due to my own experience taking on The Los Angeles Times, is the pretzel logic that America’s political and media establishment deploys to fend off accusations against elites.

            Former prosecutor Michael J. Stern wrote an op-ed for USA Today that has become Democrats’ go-to list of reasons we can be “skeptical about Tara Reade’s sexual assault claim against Biden.” It is entirely devoid of fact, logical reasoning or common sense. And it is the way that many Americans, including those employed by major media outlets, think.
            It is also the reason that many victims, probably most victims, and not just of sexual crimes, don’t come forward. The system is set up, not to ask reasonable questions based on America’s constitutionally-guaranteed presumption of innocence, but to discourage legitimate victims from pursuing justice.

            “It is reasonable to consider a 27-year reporting delay when assessing the believability of any criminal allegation,” Stern writes. Did Gannett furlough its factcheckers? Reade says she filed a complaint with the appropriate U.S. Senate office at the time and that it was ignored. Even if she had waited 27 years — which she didn’t — surely it’s possible to imagine having been sexually violated by a U.S. senator, watching the guy rise to vice president and then run for president and then, when he wins the nomination for president, say to yourself: Enough is enough! I can’t stand the thought of seeing this guy as President of the United States for the next four to eight years! I’m going to break my silence.

            Christine Blasey Ford did the same thing. She spoke up when Brett Kavanaugh was elevated to the highest court in the land. Anita Hill reacted to Clarence Thomas’s nomination similarly.

            The corrupt billionaire bastard who libeled me as a favor to his allies in the LAPD is currently superintendent of LA public schools. That’s annoying. If Austin Beutner is ever up for something big with a national profile, however, that will truly be too much for me to bear. I will scream until some reporter finally pays attention to what he did to me.

            Reade says she didn’t reveal the vaginal penetration aspect of her story to a media outlet because she didn’t feel comfortable with the reporter. “It is hard to believe a reporter would discourage this kind of scoop,” Stern writes. “Regardless, it’s also hard to accept that it took Reade 12 months to find another reporter eager to break that bombshell story.” Why should that be hard to believe? She has corroborating witnesses now, yet still has difficulty getting media outlets interested in interviewing her. It isn’t easy to find a smart reporter who gets what you have to say.

Woodward and Bernstein are dead. Five years in, I’m still waiting for so-called journalists to get back to me about a shocking story of political corruption, the legal ownership of a major newspaper chain by a police department which uses its money and influence to fire, smear and bankrupt critics and whistleblowers.

Stern says Reade’s claim that “she cannot remember the date, time or exact location of the alleged assault…could easily be perceived as bulletproofing a false allegation.” When your personal space is brutally violated, whether it is sexual assault or a mugging or police brutality, you are shocked. You focus on the trauma: what happened to you, and who did it, not the where and when. Memories of trauma tend to be fragmented and incomplete. It would be preferable if Reade had had the presence of mind to recall that data. But not having it doesn’t make her a liar.

Stern says Reade lied about how she left Biden’s employ. “Leaving a job after refusing to serve drinks at a Biden fundraiser is vastly different than being fired as retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate,” Stern alleges. Actually, there is hardly any difference. The law calls what happened to her “constructive termination.” Most retaliation in the workplace takes the form of being demeaned until the victim quits. It’s an illegal firing and you can be sued for it.

The silliest smears against Reade concern her politics: “Reade essentially dismissed the idea of Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election as hype.” So do I. So do 40% of Americans. So what? Stern notes her support for Bernie Sanders. “The confluence of Reade’s support of Sanders, distaste for the traditional American democracy epitomized by Biden, and the timing of her allegation should give pause to even the most strident Biden critics,” Stern declares.

If your politics are slightly unconventional, according to this former prosecutor, you must be lying when you say you were raped. Or, just maybe, she supported Bernie Sanders in part because he never tried to rape her. Perhaps “the timing of her allegation” stemmed from her dismay that her rapist was about to become President of the United States. And the cheap psychological gambit that Joe “Captain America” Biden epitomizes “traditional American democracy” is so ridiculous that it merits no response.

The truth may come out and it may vindicate Joe Biden. Even so, the media will remain guilty and complicit of stupidity in the service of the rich and powerful.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


8 thoughts on “So Far, There Is No Reason Not to Believe Tara Reade

  1. I keep saying, no one is voting FOR Joe, they’re voting AGAINST Trump. Read the on-line comments: ‘So what if Joe ripped her clothes off, raped her, and used his influence to prevent any investigation or media coverage. Doesn’t matter. Joe’s not Trump. Vote for Joe.’
    Or, after there was a YouTube video of Joe bragging he’d paid $1 billion of US taxpayer money to get a prosecutor fired. The video disappeared, the MSM said, ‘Every ridiculous claim that Biden was ever engaged in the slightest act that might remotely be thought of as corrupt has been irrefutably debunked over and over!’
    I, on the other hand, see both as unbelievably damaging to the US and the world, and have no idea which is worse, so I’m not voting for either one.
    And, of course, the fact that Biden and Obama were Deporters-in-Chief was never in the MSM, so all say, ‘Just look at how badly Trump treats Hispanics, while Obama and Joe treated them with the greatest respect. Vote for Joe.’

  2. And how much did Stern get paid for this public prosecution by the DNC, the Clinton Foundation and/or the pro-Biden super PAC apparently just set up by Sanders’s 2016 campaign manager and 2020 chief adviser? (NY Times 28April by S. Goldmancher)

    I’d suggest the only responsible citizens remaining are precisely those who have a profound “distaste for the traditional American democracy epitomized by Biden.”

    The premise that an attitude and/or institution is valuable simply because it is a “tradition” is absurd on its face. Stern’s hit piece is a perfect example of the clearly anti-“American” tradition of “… not to ask reasonable questions based on America’s constitutionally-guaranteed presumption of innocence, but to discourage legitimate victims from pursuing justice.” This following the anti-“American” tradition of sexual harassment in the workplace by the rich, privileged and powerful on their dependent and powerless underlings.

    Note the other traditions in US history: genocide, slavery and getting countries to pay for the wars we wage against them … all in the name of continuing an overabundance of profoundly vile American “traditions.” (A current summary of the “you pay us to kill you” tradition is at the following
    Link )

  3. When it comes to sexual predation, just as when it comes to corruption, voters in the USA are once again being offered a Hobson’s choice, with two different masks. But at least the original Mr Hobson is said to have had some good horses….


    • Fail to understand why using italics in a post causes it to be subject to «moderation»….


  4. And we come to an issue that is both oppositional to our entire 140-character Twitter lifestyle (and the shortened attention span it has ushered in) as well as a perfect expression of the scourge of identity politics.
    With the exception of Tara Reade and her immediate friends and family, no one cares whether she was raped. Biden’s allies want her to just go away. Biden’s opponents want to use her to stop his nomination. The media just wants eyeballs to pages and couch potatoes to remotes. Rape, shmape, as long as our ratings are high. And everyone lies, right to our faces: We support women. We care about rape victims.
    Does anyone, honest to god, think Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi has spent a single second actually “caring” about Reade? Pelosi’s busy shoveling $13 ice cream into her piehole during a pandemic that will cross the 25% unemployment figure in about a week. Clinton? We’ve got evidence of how she treated her husband’s accusers. Plural. And that’s how the women are responding to this.
    This isn’t about rape. This isn’t about “rape culture.” This isn’t even about Biden or Reade. It’s about how nakedly cynical the thirst for power and distraction has grown. With very few exceptions, we “care” about Reade only as a way to get what we want or as a distraction from our own problems.
    If this was about caring about Reade, then getting to the truth would be everyone’s prime goal. The Biden archive in Delaware would be opened, representatives from both sides would meet in hazmat suits to go through it, and we would get answers. Biden and Reade would be required to immediately undergo deposition. We would have news reports pointing out documented cases of Biden lying flat out. And if there are evidentiary pieces of Reade being a flat-out liar, those should be presented, too. People who would know, one way or another, should be compelled to testify. If you have to, arrest them and drag them to the court room. That’s if we care.
    If Reade’s telling the truth, that should be the end of Biden: politically and personally. If he did it, he should go to prison. If he didn’t do it? Even in cases where the accuser is clearly fabricating, that accuser almost never goes to jail. But no one cares about that.

    • Really good analysis. No wonder women hesitate to come forward, why would they want to go through the media hounding and smears?
      This is so much like what Bill and Hillary Clinton did regarding Bill’s treatment of who knows how many women. Again, it is about power, and we know Biden was known to be handsy and breathing down womens’ necks(literally), but it’s OK since he’s old and he can hover over women, it’s only old uncle Joe.

  5. Why would Tara Reade subject herself to the same treatment Biden imposed on Anita Hill by reporting his sexual indiscretions?

    It would be like reporting a rape by a Catholic priest to the Office of the Inquisition.

    Tara knew, sooner or later, of Biden’s indifference to sexual violations by his explicit behavior in the Clarence Thomas hearing.

    Read “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller for an understanding of how the judicial system is a torture system for women looking naively for justice from the justice system.

    It’s just as naive as expecting democracy from the Democratic Party.

  6. This, this is how desperate they are to keep us from getting single-payer health care. This is how desperate they are to keep us enslaved economically to a business model in which you are bankrupted by debt before 23 due to college loans.