The allegations have been all over the Internet since March 25. Tara Reade, who worked for Biden when he was a senator, alleges in 1993 Biden pushed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent, while telling her, “Come on man, I thought you liked me.”
To address the growing criticism that the Times sat on the story for political reasons, the Times also published an interview with Baquet under the headline: “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.” The headline promised an explanation, but the only thing the story delivered was humiliation for Baquet and his newspaper.
The Times’ recently hired media critic, former BuzzFeed Editor Ben Smith, asked Baquet some obvious questions about the paper’s coverage, including why the paper never hesitated to report on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Here’s Baquet’s answer to that question in full:
"Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way. Kavanaugh’s status as a Supreme Court justice was in question because of a very serious allegation. And when I say in a public way, I don’t mean in the public way of Tara Reade’s. If you ask the average person in America, they didn’t know about the Tara Reade case. So I thought in that case, if The New York Times was going to introduce this to readers, we needed to introduce it with some reporting and perspective. Kavanaugh was in a very different situation. It was a live, ongoing story that had become the biggest political story in the country. It was just a different news judgment moment."
The executive editor of the of the New York Times is actually arguing that Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination meant he was already subject to scrutiny, but Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is not a “public forum in a large way.” This is absurd.
His further equivocating didn’t help. Baquet stated that “Kavanaugh’s status as a Supreme Court justice was in question because of a very serious allegation.” But what constitutes a serious allegation when it comes to sexual assault? By almost any standard, Reade’s accusations against Biden are far more “serious,” not to mention more credible, than the accusations brought against Kavanaugh just a year and a half ago. For instance, no one disputes that Reade worked for Biden and had some contact with him. To this day, no one has presented any outside evidence Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, ever even met.
The four witnesses Blasey Ford named as being present at the party where Kavanaugh allegedly tried to assault her all refused to corroborate her story. Yet, The Washington Post, lacking any corroboration, rushed to print with Blasey Ford’s accusations, touching off a national firestorm.
The Times, at Baquet’s direction, quickly joined the frenzy. In the interview on the Biden accusations, Ben Smith specifically asked Baquet to justify the Times’ treatment of Kavanaugh. To his credit, Smith noted that the Times also regurgitated additional -- and truly absurd -- claims that as a young man Kavanaugh had regularly participated in suburban gang rape parties.
These lurid tales were spun by Julie Swetnick, who has history of being party to dubious lawsuits, and her now-disbarred lawyer Michael Avenatti, who at the time had been accused of numerous instances of fraud and has since been convicted of extortion. Yet, the Times reported the Swetnick allegations the same day they were made, even though their report noted “none of Ms. Swetnick’s claims could be independently corroborated.”
Baquet is  probably correct when he asserted, “If you ask the average person in America, they didn’t know about the Tara Reade case.” But why is that? Although her allegations were aired extensively by conservative media and among the Bernie Sanders-supporting left, for weeks there was a near total blackout of the story by the legacy media, including the Times.
As the Washington Free Beacon recently noted, “Joe Biden has been asked 81 questions in over two hours' worth of media interviews since a former staffer in his U.S. Senate office accused him of sexual assault three weeks ago. He hasn't fielded a single question about the allegation.” If the average person doesn’t know about Reade’s allegations, it’s because gatekeepers such as Dean Baquet chose not to inform them.