Media

NYT’s Ben Smith: ‘Ask Biden to open his personal papers to inspection’ after sexual assault allegation

Greg Nash

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith called on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to “open his personal papers to inspection” regarding an allegation of sexual assault by former Senate staffer Tara Reade.

Smith, a former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, also called out “media decision-makers” for believing they can control whether Reade’s story is worthy of coverage. 

“The thing about Reade story — and many like it — is that media decision-makers still operate under illusion they control whether it’s a story,” Smith wrote to his more than 300,000 followers on Wednesday. “Why not shortcut the handwringing, and ask Biden to open his personal papers to inspection, which is where this is headed anyway?” 

Reade on Tuesday also called on Biden to release records from his time as a Delaware senator, a span of 36 years, asking in a Fox News interview on Tuesday why the documents aren’t being made public.  

“I’m calling for the release of the documents being held by the University of Delaware that contain Biden’s staff personnel records because I believe it will have my complaint form, as well as my separation letter and other documents,” Reade said. “Maybe if other staffers that have tried to file complaints would come to light — why are they under seal? And why won’t they be released to the public?” 

Biden’s campaign has denied the claim from Reade, who says Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, though the former vice president has not discussed the matter. He also hasn’t been asked about it in any interviews with national or local news outlets that have been published or broadcast.

Media coverage of the allegations has increased in the past week after Reade’s former neighbor Lynda LaCasse said that she recalled Reade recounting her story of the alleged assault to her in 1993.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), who is reportedly on Biden’s list of possible running mates, have been asked about the allegation in interviews this week. Both said in Tuesday interviews they stood with Biden.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also raised the issue of a double standard in coverage of allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and of those against Biden this week and said all such cases should be treated the same way.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand Mitch McConnell
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