NY Times Answers Why They Took 19 Days to Report Tara Reade’s Accusation Against Biden

In a new article, the NY Times claims that they took 19 days to report the accusation against Biden because they were waiting for enough reporting to come out to present the readers with more information.

Many social media users pointed out the curious timing of the article about Tara Reade form the NY Times, that came out after Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race.

Per the Ny Times:

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, said the article was published when there was enough reporting “to present to readers for them to make their own judgment.”

On March 25, Tara Reade, a former Senate aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., alleged in an interview on a podcast that Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, had sexually assaulted her in 1993.

The New York Times did not immediately report the allegation.

More than two weeks later, on April 12, The Times published an article by Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember that included an interview with Ms. Reade detailing her claims. The article reported that a friend said that Ms. Reade had recounted the details of the alleged assault to her at the time, and that former Senate colleagues of Ms. Reade said they did not recall any talk of the episode. In the course of their reporting, the authors said, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.”

The timing of the article has been questioned by critics who say that a delay was a way to play down allegations against Mr. Biden in the midst of a race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Biden’s allies, who strenuously deny Ms. Reade’s accusation, believe her allegation is not supported strongly enough to publish at all.

I asked Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, about the decision to wait, and the decision to publish.

Tara Reade made her allegation on a podcast on March 25. Why not cover it then as breaking news?

Lots of people covered it as breaking news at the time. And I just thought that nobody other than The Intercept was actually doing the reporting to help people figure out what to make of it. I thought what The New York Times could do and bring to the story was the expertise we had developed over doing more than a dozen of these kinds of stories.

We did what we always do. One thing we have tried to do, going all the way back to the Bill O’Reilly story, is to find out whether people talk to people contemporaneously, whether they describe their stories to people before they became public. And in fact, she had talked to a couple of people who confirm that to us.

But 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.

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.

How do you think about the timing with a story like this? The story broke at a time when Bernie Sanders was deciding whether or not to drop out of the race. Do you feel some obligation to him or to his supporters to try to figure out what’s going on?

At that time, we didn’t know he was about to drop out of the race. I guess everybody knew he was thinking about it. But I thought the biggest obligation we had, frankly, was to the story and to having multiple conversations with Tara Reade. And to be honest at that point it wasn’t like we were in a heated race with the clock ticking. The main obligation was to get a really sensitive story as close to right as we could.

What about Twitter? You have people on Twitter asking, “Where’s The New York Times?” and a narrative developing that The Times’s decision not to cover it represents a political stance. And you and your team are silent through that. You don’t think to say, “Hey, we’re working on it”?

So this is a tricky question. You wish you could say to the world, “Hey, we’re working on this.” But you don’t actually know what you’re going to end up writing. Let’s say for some reason we found out something that made us not want to write a story. Then what do we say to readers? “We looked at this hard and we found a reason. We found out something that made us not want to write. But we’re not going to tell you about it.” So it felt to me like that wasn’t quite the right alternative either.

Read more here.