How does Joe Biden reconcile his previous “Believe All Women” standard with his categorical denial of Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault? Biden and his campaign has been trying to square that circle for weeks. After getting reamed out by Mika Brzezinski eleven days ago over his double standard, Biden has retooled his argument a bit. Today, Biden tells George Stephanopoulos that women should be believed — but only if vetted by the media.
.@JoeBiden to @GStephanopoulos on Tara Reade: "I think women should be believed. They should have an opportunity to have their case…then it's the responsibility of responsible journalists like you and everyone else to go out and investigate those." pic.twitter.com/5Go69jQKzj
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 12, 2020
STEPHANOPOULOS: On these allegations from Tara Reade, I know you deny them, but you’ve also said that women should be believed. So what do you say to Americans who believe Tara Reade and won’t vote for you because of it?
BIDEN: Well, that’s their right. Look here, look, I think women should be believed. They should have an opportunity to have their case and state it just forthrightly, what their case is. Then it’s the responsibility of responsible journalists like you and everyone else to go out and investigate those. The end of the day, the truth is the truth. That’s what should prevail. And the truth is this never happened. This never happened, I assure you. That’s the truth.
Soooo … “women” should be believed, but this particular one’s lying? A woman should be believed unless the man accused says the magic words, “I assure you”? Or is it just that Biden’s declared standard during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing doesn’t apply to those with the magic (D) after their names? We’re still left with Brzezinski’s damning question — “Are women to be believed, unless it pertains to you?”
On top of that, the notion that reporters should dissect their testimony to reach a conclusion about their veracity is completely nuts. I’d expect a due process argument, but due process doesn’t include media investigations. In fact, media investigations tend to interfere with actual due process, which is why actual investigators tend to keep media at arms’ length during legitimate investigations. Biden wants the media as a shield because he thinks — correctly, almost assuredly — that the media won’t take these allegations nearly as credulously as those lodged against Republicans. All we need to do is look at the vast difference in media coverage between Christine Blasey Ford and Reade to grasp why Biden makes this proposal. (Or for that matter, contrast Reade’s coverage with that of Deborah Ramirez or even Julie Swetnick.)
Still, Biden’s argument here boils down to this: Women, come forward — and let the national media trash you for a while. And then, according to the new Biden standard, be prepared to shut up and be ignored if the man says “This never happened, I assure you.” That’s a very far cry from “Believe All Women,” the standard Biden proclaimed in the middle of the Kavanaugh hearing:
“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.”
In other words, kangaroo courts and Salem witch hunts are all fun and games until you’re the one in the dock. That is precisely why American jurisprudence is built around due process and the prosecutorial burden of proof. If Biden would belatedly defend those principles and admit he was wrong earlier to egg on the kangaroo court of the Kavanaugh hearing, at least that would be coherent. Instead, the only standard Biden offers now is ubi est mea.