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ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams had some critical words for the New York Times over its double standards.
Abrams called out the publication for its failure to treat sexual allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden as “breaking news” while giving headline publicity to allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh back in 2018.
(Source: Dan Abrams Show)
“Ben Smith, who is the media correspondent for the New York Times, did a column today where he interviewed the editor of the New York Times and asked all the questions I was going to ask,” Abrams said during SiriusXM’s “The Dan Abrams Show” on Tuesday, referring to an interview of Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.
Abrams shared that he became “concerned” about the “timing” of the report as the editor attempted to explain why the newspaper covered the sexual-assault allegations so differently and why it took until April 12 for The Times to address the allegations against Biden which were covered by other outlets as breaking news nearly two weeks prior.
Former congressional staffer Tara Reade had leveled a 1993 sexual assault accusation against Biden in a March 25 interview that was basically ignored by the mainstream media which was obsessed with covering the coronavirus pandemic. Though some outlets eventually picked up the story, The New York Times and The Washington Post appeared to remain silent, even though the left-wing papers were quick to announce each of the sex assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
Biden has denied the allegation and media outlets have failed to ask him about it, leading The Onion to mock the Times last week with the headline: “‘New York Times’ Pledges To Cover Biden Sexual Assault Allegations in Upcoming Crossword.”
The Times decided to finally run a story about Reade’s allegations on Easter Sunday and Baquet was asked about the obviously different ways the Biden and Kavanaugh accusations were treated by the newspaper.
“Mainly I thought that what The New York Times could offer and should try to offer was the reporting to help people understand what to make of a fairly serious allegation against a guy who had been a vice president of the United States and was knocking on the door of being his party’s nominee,” he responded. “Look, I get the argument. Just do a short, straightforward news story. But I’m not sure that doing this sort of straightforward news story would have helped the reader understand. Have all the information he or she needs to think about what to make of this thing.”
Abrams found the interview raised more questions than it answered, as he went on in his podcast.
“When I was prepared to do this story yesterday, I was going to say that I thought on the whole the Times had done a pretty good, measured job of covering it. The one issue I had, the big one in comparison to Kavanaugh, was why the Times did a news report on an allegation by this third woman, Julie Swetnick, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct,” he said, referring to the newspaper running with the story the same day Swetnick made the claims.
“Well, I became more concerned about the timing of the Times’ report on this — not less — as a result of this interview. Meaning, I think Law & Crime did the right thing by publishing it as a news story on the 26th and a follow up shortly thereafter,” Abrams continued. “And the Times, and the Post, and AP, and NBC, who have taken until now to cover it, I think are at fault, and I say that now more confidently after reading the answers given by the editor of the New York Times.”
Baquet’s interview “doesn’t answer the question to me of why was it not covered as breaking news,” Abrams noted. “Of why did they cover this third woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh, who was this Avenatti client, who then backed off a bit later.”
“Why did they cover that as breaking news and not this?” he wondered.
When the Times editor was asked about the delay in covering the Biden accusation as compared to how Kavanaugh was treated, he contended that “Kavanaugh was in a very different situation” than the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.
“It was a live, ongoing story that had become the biggest political story in the country. It was just a different news judgment moment,” Baquet said.
“I don’t believe that the Times’ explanation for the differing treatments of Tara Reade and Julie Swetnick makes sense,” Abrams argued.
“I think the Times has to say they made a mistake by covering the Julie Swetnick allegations, or that they made a mistake by not covering this as a news story,” he concluded. “But I don’t think there’s any way for them to justify not covering this, again, the way my site Law&Crime did at the time, and cover Julie Swetnick as a news story.”
Many others have called out the mainstream media and notably The New York Times for deliberately dragging their feet on the story. NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck slammed the outlet for its obvious bias.
“The liberal media’s slowness has provided a whole new meaning to the term ‘kicking and screaming,’ because that’s exactly how the press have approached Reade’s story. Not only have they deceptively tried to sneak this in to coincide with Easter, but they’ve displayed shameful skepticism and even disgust when evaluating her,” he told Fox News.
“Most disturbingly, the Times chose to allow the Biden campaign to edit their story,” he added, “and it illustrated the depths to which the press will go to show that Biden is no Brett Kavanaugh.”
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