Accuracy in Media

During a Friday evening town hall on the coronavirus, CNN allegedly declined to ask former vice president Joe Biden about a recent sexual assault accusation. The accuser, Tara Reade, made the accusation public last week, but CNN did not mention it during its town hall with Biden.

Reade, a former Biden staff assistant, told the media that in 1993, Biden “began kissing her without permission, pushed her against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers.” Reade admitted that she is not a political supporter of Biden, but she supported Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Reade’s story has not been corroborated by other sources so far, but the serious accusation should receive more mainstream media attention than it did. Reason, The Hill, Vox, Huffington Post, and The Federalist have covered the Reade accusation, but not the mainstream media outlets such as ABC News, CNN, CBS News, and NBC News.

Instead, CNN’s town hall focused on Biden’s policy proposals on how to handle the coronavirus crisis, such as preventing evictions, government coverage of health care expenses that are related to the virus and a temporary nationwide shutdown.

Considering Biden’s rhetorical support for #MeToo activism, CNN should have asked at least one question on Reade’s accusations, but it chose not to. The mainstream media should take a closer look at Reade’s accusations and verify her story. If the media ignores the story, it fuels further criticism of the media’s allegedly selective coverage of candidates in the 2020 presidential campaign cycle.

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