Hypocrisy of MeToo is on full display with Joe Biden

Leftists have to make up their minds.

Either they "believe all women" or they don't. They can't have it both ways.

Either a man can be destroyed on the uncorroborated word of an accuser recounting an alleged sexual assault said to have occurred decades earlier - or he remains innocent until proven guilty.

But, for the left, it doesn't matter how plausible the allegation. All that matters is who the perpetrator is.

If it's one of them, especially a Democrat, he gets a free pass. If it's a conservative, every tawdry detail is spun into an incriminating farrago of guilt by association. Case closed. He did it. And, hey, even if he didn't, he deserves to suffer because he's evil anyway.

This is how the once august New York Times plays the game, its hypocrisy laid bare in the vastly contrasting ways it has reported sexual assault allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and conservative Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Burying the former story on Easter Sunday, the Times reported on an accusation by former Biden staffer Tara Reade that, in 1993, Biden had sexually assaulted her.

She first made the claim in a podcast last month, saying that her then-boss had pushed her against a wall, forcibly kissed her, pulled up her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers.

She also claimed that when she resisted, he said: "C'mon, man. I heard you liked me."

former Biden staffer Tara Reade that, in 1993, Biden had sexually assaulted her. Picture: AP/Matt Rourke
former Biden staffer Tara Reade that, in 1993, Biden had sexually assaulted her. Picture: AP/Matt Rourke

The Times reported the story in matter of fact fashion under the anodyne headline: 'Examining Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden.'

Very different were the sympathetic headlines over dozens of pieces last year about Kavanaugh's accuser, such as: 'With Caffeine and Determination, Christine Blasey Ford Relives Her Trauma.'

In Sunday's Biden piece, the paper initially included this dynamite line: "TheTimesfound no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

Beyond what? Isn't that the classic definition of sexual harassment, at least? Hugs, kisses and touching that makes women feel uncomfortable?

Somehow, a publication that has been all in on the "Me Too" movement apparently now condones behaviour that everyone of any ideological stripe can agree is untoward.

The paper also tweeted that line on its official Twitter account.

Whoops!

The Times soon realised it had scored an own goal. A few hours after publication it slyly deleted the second half of that sentence from its story, along with the corresponding tweet.

The sentence now reads: "The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden". Full stop.

There was no editor's note, as is customary, to explain why the sentence had been changed to mean something very different from its original version.

 

Of course, Twitter users had screenshots of the deleted tweet and were busy flaming the Times all Sunday.

So the paper issued a new tweet saying: "We've deleted a tweet in this thread that had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story."

Imprecise language hardly seemed to cover it.

On Monday, in an admirable exercise in damage control, Times executive editor Dean Baquet sat down with his new media reporter Ben Smith and subjected himself to an interrogation of sorts.

Asked why the phrase about "hugs, kisses and touching" had been stealthily deleted, Baquet admitted that it was because of pressure from Biden's campaign, as if that made it OK.

"The 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, and that's not what the sentence was intended to say."

Asked why the change wasn't explained to readers, Baquet said: "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, I didn't think that was necessary."

This is sophistry at its finest. Biden has been accused by at least six women in the past of inappropriate hugs, kisses and touching. There are video mashups online of women cringing at Uncle Joe's awkward embraces. Whitewashing that history from the story was a factual alteration, which required an explanation, according to journalism 101.

 

Moving on, Baquet, tried incoherently to defend how differently the paper treated the Kavanaugh allegations.

"Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way. Kavanaugh's status as a Supreme Court justice was in question because of a very serious allegation …. Kavanaugh was in a very different situation … It was just a different news judgment moment."

Really. If anything, the Biden story is more consequential. He is better known than Kavanaugh and his status as a potential future president is arguably more important.

In the Biden case you have an allegation of a 51-year-old man allegedly assaulting a staffer in her 20s. In the Kavanaugh case, the allegation was teen on teen at a drunken party.

Both sets of allegations should be treated with extreme scepticism, not least because they emerged in the heat of partisan political campaigns. There are no witnesses, no contemporaneous evidence, no complaint to police, and numerous inconsistencies.

It would be better that such stories be investigated by proper authorities than become media fodder for ideological hatchet jobs. That is the consistent conservative view. Everyone deserves "due process".

This is what Trump-hating actor and #MeToo activist Alyssa Milano said last week, defending Biden.

"We have to societally change that mindset to believing women, but that does not mean at the expense of not giving men their due process and investigating situations. It's got to be fair in both directions."

Amen, baby. What sound judgment. Only problem is when it came to Kavanaugh, Milano did the opposite. She "believed" Blasey Ford from day one and enthusiastically joined the pile-on to trash Kavanaugh's reputation.

"Believe all women" they said. But only when it suits them.

The left proves over and over that it's never the principle they defend but only the means to their end.

@mirandadevine

Originally published as Hypocrisy of MeToo is on full display with Joe Biden



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