Fox News reports CNN’s Brian Stelter has largely ignored Tara Reade’s bombshell allegation that the Democrats’ presumptive 2020 presidential nominee, Joe Biden, sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, which in turn has drawn the notice of some media watchers saying a brief mention in his newsletter and single tweet do not compare well to his extensive coverage of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 2018.
“At this point, it’s hard to pretend like Stelter is a journalist. The same guy who put Michael Avenatti on air… who treated every allegation against Justice Kavanaugh as the gospel truth and who is happy to peddle tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories about President Trump, can’t find his way to even mention serious and contemporaneously corroborated claims of sexual assault against the presumptive Democratic nominee for president,” conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News. Avenatti, an attorney, represented adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against Trump; he later was convicted in a separate case linked to extortion attempts.
Stelter had been stone-silent for nearly a month since Reade first came forward with claims against Biden. The story expanded from a political narrative to a potential media scandal this past Friday when decades-old footage from Stelter’s own network was unearthed, appearing to show Reade’s late mother alluding to her daughter’s claims.
Reade, a former staffer for then-Sen. Biden, confirmed to Fox News that the woman heard in the “Larry King Live” clip was her mother, Jeanette Altimus, who died in 2016.
Still, despite the fact the clip was from CNN itself, Stelter buried the story in his Saturday night newsletter labeled, “In other news.” He then failed to cover it during his Sunday morning media show, “Reliable Sources.”
Why CNN didn’t dig up its own clip containing the words of the accuser’s late mother, especially considering how much time the network focused on assault accusations against Kavanaugh, then became a media story in and of itself.
CNN finally started covering Reade’s assault claim against Biden after a month-long on-air drought on Saturday afternoon amid an onslaught of criticism. But Stelter, the network’s in-house media watcher, didn’t partake.
As a result, media watchdogs anticipated Stelter’s Sunday show, which has claimed to examine the media world on a weekly basis, to see if he would finally address the situation surrounding Reade on air.
Larry King may have had the biggest scoop of his CNN career this evening … And it’s an open question whether his former employer will say a word about it
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) April 25, 2020
Those observers were left disappointed, as Stelter never mentioned the scandal.
“CNN has a public perception problem, reflected in its low ratings. Taking a serious news approach to the Tara Reade case is an opportunity for CNN to help restore reporting credibility. Unfortunately, it appears CNN will miss this opportunity,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News.
Stelter, who has been extremely active on Twitter, had not even mentioned Reade’s name in a tweet or acknowledged her claims as of Sunday night — well over 48 hours after the 1993 CNN tape was uncovered and roughly a month since Reade’s claims first became public.
On Monday, the story continued to unfold and Stelter finally broke his Twitter silence, sort of.
Business Insider’s Rich McHugh tweeted a story that Reade’s former neighbor came forward to corroborate her sexual assault claims against Biden.
Stelter took to Twitter to highlight that the neighbor “is the first person to independently corroborate, in detail and on the record, that Reade had told others about her assault allegations contemporaneously,” quoting from McHugh’s report.
Lynda LaCasse "is the first person to independently corroborate, in detail and on the record, that Reade had told others about her assault allegations contemporaneously:" https://t.co/vUUcrSZ8n2
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 27, 2020