If you’re wondering how Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah have been covering the alleged sexual assault by Joe Biden, the answer is mostly by not mentioning it at all. As the Daily Beast points out today, that a change from the various late-night show’s approach to allegations about Donald Trump.
All of the aforementioned late-night hosts have repeatedly hammered Trump on his numerous sexual-assault allegations. Most recently, when columnist E. Jean Carroll came forward to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1980s (Trump claimed that it “never happened” because “she’s not my type”), they mobilized against him. Meyers said she was “courageously telling the truth,” while Noah argued, “If your denial leaves people thinking there is a type of woman that you would rape, that’s not a good denial.” Colbert even took the media to task for what he perceived as unfair coverage of the Carroll allegation—including The New York Times, joking that they included it in their ‘Books’ section because “they knew it was the one place the president would never look.”
Now that there is a similar allegation against Biden, the late-night shows have been remarkably quiet about it.
Among the late-night set, the only hosts to address the Reade story were HBO’s John Oliver and Bill Maher. And they did so in passing, with Oliver issuing a disclaimer of sorts that she “deserves to be heard” before moving on to the latest Trump scandal, and Maher, a noted #MeToo critic, dismissing it by saying he thought it was “ridiculous and that it would go away and no one would pay any attention to it.”
The big four politically inclined late-night hosts, however—Colbert, Kimmel, Meyers and Noah? Radio silence. Instead of addressing it on his popular Late Show program, Colbert relegated the Reade news to his new Tooning Out the News animated series, albeit in a rather playful bit poking fun at her upcoming interview with Megyn Kelly…
The Daily Beast reached out to representatives for Colbert, Kimmel, Meyers and Noah for comment on why they’ve tiptoed around the Reade story but none of them responded.
That fact that none of them wanted to talk about which allegations get frequent treatment on their shows and which ones don’t doesn’t look very good.
But to be fair, I’m not sure the Daily Beast story is completely accurate, at least when it comes to Colbert. His “Tooning Out the News” clips are posted on YouTube under both CBS All Access channel and Colbert’s Late Night channel. There may be a clip in which the Reade allegations are discussed. However, it appears Colbert also discussed the Reade allegations during an animated monologue on his May 1 show. You can see the full segment below.
Still, one mention by one host appears to be a different standard than these same hosts have applied to Trump in the past. And we all know where these hosts stand politically. Jimmy Kimmel was just caught manipulating video of VP Pence to claim he had delivered empty boxes of PPE for a photo op. Kimmel deleted his misleading segment but didn’t admit that he knew it was misleading all along. With the late-night hosts, comedy is just one more way to make partisan points.
Here’s the Colbert segment on Tara Reade.