Allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden by a former Senate aide, Tara Reade, got mainstream traction over the weekend when the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NBC News joined the outlets reporting on them. But critics (including supporters of Bernie Sanders and of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh) want to know what took so long, given that Reade made the allegations on a podcast in March. She alleges that Biden assaulted her in 1993 by groping her and penetrating her with his fingers, accusations that are strongly denied by Biden. Times media writer Ben Smith grilled the executive editor of his own newspaper, Dean Baquet, about why the Times waited 19 days to report on the allegations. The full interview is here. Some highlights:
- Baquet: "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."