Fox News reports after criticism from media critics and the Republican National Committee, the liberal network CNN finally broke its silence on its own footage purportedly showing the mother of Tara Reade, who accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault, alluding to the alleged incident.
At 1:28 pm ET on Saturday, the network’s website published an article on the issue. Prior to that, the story was missing from the network’s coverage, including its “Reliable Source” newsletter from CNN anchor Brian Stelter, in what some critics are calling “journalistic misconduct”.
The Intercept reported earlier that Tara Reade said her late mother once called into CNN’s “Larry King Live” to discuss her daughter’s “experience on Capitol Hill,” where the alleged encounter with Biden took place. Reade didn’t recall other information, such as the date or even year and The Intercept managed to dig up a transcript of the call, but not the video.
Tucked away among hundreds of thousands of hours of old archive footage was the long-forgotten clip which came to light Friday.
But rather than CNN’s team of investigative reporters, it was the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, a conservative group that seeks to expose liberal bias, who exhumed the footage from its own vault.
“It’s truly despicable that this footage existed and yet CNN failed to do its own due diligence within its own archives,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News.
CNN didn’t even mention the tape’s newfound attention during its Friday night primetime lineup. CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter didn’t think it was worth including, either.
CNN has largely ignored Reade’s claims, drawing criticism from media watchdogs that often contrast it with how the liberal network handled allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with hundreds of stories and countless segments. CNN finally published its first story on Reade’s claims on April 17, weeks after they were made, when correspondent MJ Lee framed the story as Democratic leaders and allies of Biden being “asked to respond to an allegation” against the 2020 Democratic frontrunner.
Newly surfaced video from 1993 appears to feature the mother of Tara Reade, a woman who accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of sexual assault, calling into a cable TV show to seek advice around the time of the alleged assault.
In a “Larry King Live” segment that aired on August 11, 1993, on CNN, an unnamed woman calls in to the show with her location identified on the screen as San Luis Obispo, California. The show was about the cutthroat nature of Washington, DC, politics and media.
“Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” she asks. “My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
Larry King responds: “In other words, she had a story to tell but out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?”
“That’s true,” the caller says.
The woman does not mention sexual assault or harassment, nor does she describe in any detail what “problems” she might be referring to. Her daughter’s name and Biden are also not mentioned.
In a phone interview with CNN Friday night, Reade told CNN that she is certain the voice in the video belongs to her mother, Jeanette Altimus, who died a few years ago.”I’ve been crying because I haven’t heard my mom’s voice in a few years. So it’s been a little emotional,” Reade said. “I miss her. I miss her voice.”
CNN separately confirmed that Altimus lived in San Luis Obispo around the time of the newly surfaced clip from “Larry King Live.” The Intercept first reported on the interview.
The Biden campaign declined to comment on the video, referring CNN to statements it previously released denying Reade’s sexual assault allegation.
Those statements include one from Biden’s executive assistant at the time of the allegation who said she never received any complaints.
The 1993 assault allegation
CNN had previously reached out to Reade multiple times but she had not agreed to be interviewed prior to Friday. In that phone interview, she shared similar details of the sexual assault allegation she had told in recent weeks to multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press.
She told CNN that in 1993, when she was working as an aide in Biden’s Senate office, she was asked to deliver a duffle bag to the then-Delaware senator. In a corridor somewhere in the Capitol Hill complex, Reade said Biden “had me up against the wall; he used his knee to spread open my legs,” and “put his fingers inside me.”
Reade said when she pulled away, Biden said to her, “Come on man. I heard — I thought you liked me.” Biden then looked angry, according to Reade, and said, “You are nothing to me. You are nothing.” She said that Biden eventually took her by the shoulders and said words to the effect of, “You’re OK. You’re fine,” before walking away.
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