How long will the media allow Biden to avoid the topic of Tara Reade?
Despite an obstacle-strewn ascension similar to a "Game of Thrones" episode, former Vice President Joe Biden managed to slay every metaphorical dragon he faced in becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, from old policy specters to campaign trail gaffes to a primary opponent who was stubborn to concede.
But there are more gauntlets to run. Biden wants to defeat President Trump by drawing strong contrasts on competence and character.
Before that fight, though, Biden will have to contend with another pressing matter that has been bubbling up for months. Her name is Tara Reade.
She alleges that while working for the then-senator in the early 1990s, she was sexually assaulted by Biden and then retaliated against professionally for complaining to his staff. These claims are beginning to get the traction they deserve, with recent stories in mainstream outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN and Politico joining the rash of coverage by conservative and alternative press.
But overall, the media coverage of Reade's allegations has been noticeably muted compared to its handling of claims against other high-profile political figures, from Brett Kavanaugh to Donald Trump. Even former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who succumbed to pressure to resign in 2018 for multiple allegations of groping women, got exponentially more media attention.
Undoubtedly, there is some politics and bias at work in the lack of interest in this story from Democrats and many in the media. It's hard to account for the deafening silence about Tara Reade on MSNBC, for example, with any other explanation.
Or headlines like this one in The Washington Post that contort so gratuitously to avoid injuring Biden that one can almost see the sweat dripping off the writer's brow: "Developments in allegations against Biden amplify efforts to question his behavior."
Reporters, editors, producers and commentators may be loath to give oxygen to such claims against Biden, when Trump has many more similar allegations that have been lodged against him.
But another plausible reason is that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken up nearly all of the media oxygen. In my case, I've been unable to write about much else. As Washington Free Beacon Editor Matt Continetti told Fox's Brett Baier, "I'm worried that this is one area that Joe Biden may be being shielded by coronavirus. As long as the attention of the nation is on the pandemic, I think he may be able to skirt some of these questions for a little while longer."
And skirted he has. No one has directly asked Joe Biden about the allegations yet. No one.