Cleanup in aisle 4: NYT clumsily edits its story to exonerate Biden of sexual assault allegations

Cleanup in aisle 4: NYT clumsily edits its story to exonerate Biden of sexual assault allegations

“All the news that’s fit to print.” That slogan, long the motto of the New York Times, has always struck me as a more of a confession than a point of pride. The paper is coming right out and admitting that it has appointed itself the arbiter of what is — and isn’t — newsworthy.

Sometimes the Gray Lady will publish a story and then go back and decide it wasn’t fit to print after all, at least not in its entirety. Take as an example an article that ran yesterday under the headline “Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden.” The authors, Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember, attempt to debunk the former Biden staffer’s claim that the then-senator “went down my skirt but then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers.” The Times writers don’t come right out and repeat those lurid details, which apparently were deemed not “fit to print.”

What they do — or at least did write initially — is summarized in a pull quote that was posted to Twitter late yesterday afternoon.

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But compare that quote with what appears in this morning’s online version of the same article:

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.

Notice in particular that the phrase “beyond hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them feel uncomfortable” has been stripped out in its entirety. Surely, the Times editors couldn’t have found the description so graphic that it was adjudged unfit to print.

Nor do they go into any detail about the sorts of things that made women feel uncomfortable. One of the complainants who accused Biden of getting a little “too familiar,” Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, told New York magazine in 2019:

I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself … “[W]hat in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. … I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.

Could it be that the Times is attempting to dismiss the allegations because they throw shade on the presumptive Democratic nominee?

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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