(Please see update at the end of this article)
That story about Tara Reade’s mother calling in to the Larry King Live show in 1993 that John wrote about has seemingly taken a turn for the weird. As you probably recall, Newsbusters dredged up the old episode that originally aired on August 11th of that year. King took a call from San Luis Obispo, California. It’s now been as close to definitively confirmed as possible that the call was indeed from Jeanette Altimus, Reade’s mother.
So here’s the weird part. As discovered by Twitter user J.L. Hamilton and reported by Fox News, if you go search for the episode in question on Google Play, it’s not there. The rest of the season is listed (though not currently available for download), but the August 11th episode doesn’t show up. And the details only get stranger from there. (EDIT: The episodes are unavailable because CNN doesn’t have a distribution deal with Google Play. See update at end of article.)
The 1993 episode of CNN’s “Larry King Live” featuring an anonymous caller who was later identified as the mother of Biden accuser Tara Reade was no longer listed in Google Play’s catalog late Saturday.
Twitter user J.L. Hamilton shared a screenshot showing the Aug. 11, 1993, broadcast of “Larry King Live” was no longer listed in the season three catalog of the iconic CNN talk show. Mysteriously, though, the Aug. 10 broadcast, which is listed as “Episode 154” is followed by the Aug. 12 broadcast, which is listed as “Episode 155,” suggesting that episode and the ones that follow could be incorrectly listed and off by a number.
Fox News later verified the Aug. 11 episode is not listed on the streaming service. It is unclear when it was removed from the catalog.
I originally had reservations about the episode because the caller isn’t identified by name and she doesn’t specifically mention which “prominent senator” her daughter worked for or what her “problems” were that prompted her to leave that job. But it’s since been confirmed that Jeanette Altimus did indeed live in San Luis Obispo at that time. It was also the exact period when Tara Reade was leaving Washington. That’s a few too many coincidences to write this off, and Reade has confirmed that it’s her mother’s voice we’re hearing and that she knew her mom had called King’s show.
The real question here is how the show wound up not being listed in the Google Play directory, assuming this isn’t just some bizarre technical glitch. (I have an account and checked myself. It’s not there.)
I suppose, just to be fair, we should at least mention the possibility that either the episodes are mislabeled or the original was never loaded. But the dates of the shows all line up until August 10th, episode 154. And the next entry is dated August 12th, but it’s labeled as episode 155. Again, we’re asking the word “coincidence” to do a lot of heavy lifting to sweep this away as some sort of glitch.
So let’s move on to the seemingly more likely possibility that the episode existed at one time but is no longer there. Does this mean that it was recently removed by CNN from the Google Play offerings, perhaps after the recent news story broke? Could they really be that dumb as to think nobody would notice? Or, perhaps, was it removed somewhere further in the past, perhaps during Biden’s time as Vice President when someone remembered the potentially incriminating show segment? The final possibility is that they never loaded it in the first place when Google Play went live.
Making all of this smell even worse is the numbering of the episodes. If this was some technical error where the August 11th show just wasn’t loaded, the next show should have been episode 156. But it isn’t. Doesn’t that imply that all of the subsequent episodes were renumbered in the Google Play lineup to intentionally mask the fact that the original episode 155 had been deleted?
In any event, it’s too late for both Biden and CNN at this point as far as the Larry King Live show goes. Newsbusters has the relevant clip on their site. (I linked to it above in case you haven’t watched it yet.) Does that definitively prove anything about Reade’s allegations? No, but it’s certainly one more piece of kindling on what’s slowly turning out to be more of a fire than I’d originally suspected. If Reade’s complaint had just involved inappropriate hugging, touching, hair sniffing, or any of Uncle Joe’s other well-known habits, would she have left her job over it? Would her mother have been so distressed upon hearing her daughter’s tale that she’d call Larry King about it? It just seems unlikely in the extreme.
Exit question: How ticked off is Bernie Sanders right about now? The rest of the Democrats chased him off the field of battle, but he’s going to feel bitterly vindicated if Biden somehow winds up collapsing amid a sexual assault scandal.
While this doesn’t change the beyond suspicious facts of that specific episode disappearing from the Google Play directory, CNN may well not have been involved at all. None of the episodes of Larry King Live are available because, according to CNN’s Head of Strategic Communications, Matt Dornic, CNN doesn’t even have a distribution deal with Google Play. What they display in their catalog about Larry King Live didn’t come from CNN, so Google controls whatever is displayed there.
This is B.S. CNN didn’t remove anything. We do not have a distro deal for LKL w/ Google Play. Listings on the site are not sourced thru CNN. Click any episode, it will say “not available to watch.” True for @foxnews programs too. I’ll wait 4 ur correction & apology. Screenshots: pic.twitter.com/Lb2ZJw3kcX
— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) April 26, 2020
When I asked Matt about it, he reiterated that CNN has no control over “unavailable” listings on Google Play.
As you know, I don’t work for Google. But my understanding is that they pull in listings using metadata from a third-party site. If they get enough requests for a season of some program, it would signal that they may want to do a license deal or distro the content. pic.twitter.com/ptN8oJ3eBD
— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) April 26, 2020
This brings us to some additional and very interesting questions, but we’ll start fresh on this story tomorrow after I have time to make a few more inquiries.