The media’s momentum from #BelieveWomen to #ImpeachOneWoman continues apace today at the New York Times. A few days after CNN reported that Tara Reade might have exaggerated her educational credentials, the NYT has a new report out this morning that also finds discrepancies in her accounts. This might matter in a legal sense, as Reade spent nearly a decade testifying as an expert witness at trials.
The subtext of the article is impossible to miss — did Reade perjure herself? And did people get convicted as a result?
Defense lawyers in California are reviewing criminal cases in which Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who has accused Joseph R. Biden Jr. of sexual assault, served as an expert witness on domestic violence, concerned that she misrepresented her educational credentials in court.
Then known as Alexandra McCabe, Ms. Reade testified as a government witness in Monterey County courts for nearly a decade, describing herself as an expert in the dynamics of domestic violence who had counseled hundreds of victims.
But lawyers who had faced off against her in court began raising questions about the legitimacy of her testimony, and the verdicts that followed, after news reports this week that Antioch University had disputed her claim of receiving a bachelor’s degree from its Seattle campus. …
Ms. Reade told The New York Times that she had obtained her degree through a “protected program” for victims of spousal abuse, which, court records show, she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband in the mid-1990s. That history, she said, caused her to change her name, leading to confusion about her status at the school. She later received a law degree from Seattle University.
But an Antioch spokeswoman, Karen Hamilton, told The Times that while Ms. Reade had attended classes, she was certain Ms. Reade had not received a degree.
This article raises more questions than it answers, as is somewhat typical for this genre. Other than the spokesperson’s statement, no evidence is presented that Reade lied about it. There is much quoting of random lawyers who express horror at the complications that will ensue if Reade lied, and discussion of investigations into the question itself, along with the discussion of the use of a professional name for a while.
A read through the article, however, leaves all of these questions unanswered. All we know is that they exist … mainly because media outlets have been interested enough to ask. As Allahpundit wrote with CNN’s report, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the circumstances of Reade’s allegations against Biden require establishment of credibility. We already know that Reade has told inconsistent stories about Biden’s alleged sexual assault on her, so if she exaggerates or gives inconsistent accounts of other aspects of her life, that should go to credibility.
However, if that’s the process in place now, it should have been the process in place all along. Why didn’t the NYT and CNN do deep dives on the backgrounds and work histories of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick? Reade at the least has much more contemporaneous corroboration for this allegation than the others, who had none at all and whose credibility was therefore even more suspect.
More to the point, why were attempts to raise even the potential of doing so greeted with angry allegations of attempting to smear the “victims” with irrelevant issues? This NYT dive into Reade’s background has nothing to do with her allegation against Biden; all of it is irrelevant to her allegation. It’s possible to embellish a resumé and still have been victimized in a sexual assault by a powerful politician, after all.
As credibility is almost the only currency available in these kinds of disputes, Reade’s history is fair game for media scrutiny. That should be the case with every similar case — rather than #BelieveWomen, the media and the rest of us should vet their credibility. Will the media exhibit the same standards and enthusiasm the next time someone they don’t like gets similarly accused? Don’t bet your life on it.
Update: The timing on this is interesting:
Doug Wigdor announces he is no longer representing Tara Reade pic.twitter.com/ETMrgfIruq
— Matt Viser (@mviser) May 22, 2020
If the decision was made on May 20, then it predates this NYT report — but it was just after CNN’s. Did they get blindsided by something in these?