The story of Joe BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE’s former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, is shaping up to be another reason for disgust with the supposed “leaders” of our country who occupy the political class. Her brother, her friend and her former neighbor have all separately verified her claim, going on record about discussions they recall at the time of the alleged incident in 1993. Perhaps even more striking, in video footage of a 1993 episode of CNN’s “Larry King Live” about office power dynamics and sexual assault, a woman who reportedly was Reade’s mother is heard calling into the program to comment on how her “daughter just left [D.C.] after working for a prominent senator and couldn’t get through with her problems at all.”
Of course, Joe Biden deserves due process as the world responds to these claims. Likewise, Tara Reade’s accusation that then-Sen. Biden took advantage of her deserves to be heard and treated with seriousness and care. However, not everyone in the media seems to feel that way.
The New York Times, apparently believing it would be the final authority on the subject, tweeted two weeks ago that “We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” (Whoever hit "tweet" after typing that actually believed it would be reassuring.) The Washington Post — which broke Watergate, mind you — on Monday evening tweeted a link to its article about the Reade accusation; the convoluted story headline read: “Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden.”
When all else fails, blame the president.
It’s easy to point out the hypocrisy of elected officials who fought, tooth and nail, against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRepublicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Why isn't Harris leading the charge against the Texas abortion law? MORE’s nomination and now stand by their endorsements of Joe Biden without any sense of irony. It’s even easier to stand in awe at how pioneers of the “Believe All Women” approach to justice, like actress Alyssa Milano, suddenly appreciate the idea of due process for the accused when, until now, assumption of a guilty verdict was soon to be standard form.
This is no issue to belittle or to use as a political convenience. Likewise, this is not an issue to avoid because, suddenly, on your side, it’s a political inconvenience. Fundamentally, this isn’t about politics at all — and that’s something that Biden’s blustering supporters can’t seem to recognize.
Through their actions, the partnership between some in the media and the Democratic establishment is turning the Tara Reade story into a destructive force more powerful than either of them probably realize. All at once, journalistic credibility and the notion of an actual belief system underlying the party are both rapidly disappearing. “Bad for thee, irrelevant for me,” is becoming their credo — and in a party populated by a growing faction with grand plans based on moral convictions, moral indifference is not the way to keep up with your changing base.
Standing on shaky ground already, as a result of providing years of reporting that could only be described as irresponsible at best, some in the mainstream media are robustly failing the task of informing the public, going so far as to try to deem what is truth over the matter and get rid of the need for further investigation. But beyond their hopes to end debate (or even thought) over this story, what message do they think they’re sending to their readers and viewers by actively avoiding it? Do only some accusers deserve to be heard? Should women working in the Biden campaign today not feel they have the right to speak out?
I say these things not because I hope the political hacks at the Democratic National Committee or their friends in the media do some type of soul-searching. Instead, it’s just to point out that the issue that the Tara Reade story raises, and its implications, are not some hypothetical situation. They are very real, and probably something the nation will have to come to a consensus about how to deal with and respond to moving forward. Trivializing the issue when it applies to someone on your team, and exploiting it when it affects your opponent, doesn’t solve anything.
But the Reade story isn’t over. We don't know the truth yet; we don't know if Reade is right, or if Biden is innocent — but we should know, and we have a right to know. The political class still has a chance to show that it stands on principles, not politics. The media still has a chance to show that it fights for truth, not favoritism. American institutions, during this trying time, could use a boost in credibility to remind everyone that, through it all, we’re still one nation — that even in an era of hyper-partisanship, there’s still an opportunity to stand for what’s right.
Don’t waste it.
Corey R. Lewandowski is President Trump’s former campaign manager and a senior adviser to the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign. He is a senior adviser to the Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence's political action committee. He is co-author with David Bossie of “Trump’s Enemies” and of “Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency.” Follow him on Twitter @CLewandowski_.