"Twitter feed reporting on the accusations of “sexual assault” against Joe Biden"
by Michael Tracy, Excerpted Transcript (last updated May 9, 2020)
@mtracey Sorry, I meant pump the "brakes." What's "breaking" is the credibility of journalists and pundits who pushed this thing.
@mtracey “I am PLEADING with the journalists and pundits who've credulously hyped the Tara Reade story to pump the breaks. Let me assure you, this story is not going to end well. Don't burn your credibility any more than you already have.”
@mtracey “Can any experts in domestic/sexual violence please share their perspective on whether it's common for victims to "tease" information about their rape on social media?”
* Ryan Grim @ryangrim – Mar 3 “A head-to-head Biden vs Sanders contest will force voters to take a close look at Biden again. That went very badly for him last time”
* taratweets (Alexandra Tara Reade) @ReadeAlexandra (replying to @ryangrim and @johncusack)
“Yup. Timing… wait for it… tic toc”
@mtracey I'm also tired of people constantly bringing up Christine Blasey Ford. I'm evaluating this situation on its own merits. I did the same with Ford a year and a half ago (and my view then was not "BELIEVE WOMEN"). It's not necessary to keep invoking the comparison nonstop. We get it
@mtracey There's plenty of additional information concerning Tara Reade's personal background that I have NOT tweeted, because it's not strictly relevant. But this charge is clearly relevant, by dint of its chronological timing: just a matter of days before she is officially terminated
@mtracey It’s bizarre that people are so offended by my reporting this. They’d prefer that pertinent information remain concealed, I guess. “PLEASE DON’T GIVE ME FACTS!” That’s what happens when you use “belief” as your evaluative standard, like we’re dealing with a religious dogma
@mtracey Me: Reports publicly available facts Idiots on Twitter: OMG YOU LOVE JOE BIDEN!
@mtracey Tara Reade's new lawyer has confirmed that she was charged with fraud in San Luis Obispo on August 2, 1993. She was terminated from Biden's office on August 6, 1993. Reade's mother called "Larry King Live" on August 11, 1993 to report her daughter's "problems"
@mtracey I think jettisoning all critical faculties when evaluating claims like these -- because you have some political ax to grind, or for any other reason -- is really bad in the long run for US politics and culture. And yes, that also applies to claims made against Republicans
@mtracey I'm happy to get ratio'd on these tweets. If you want to pretend that patently non-corroborative evidence is corroborative, if you want to pretend that a Larry King phone call substantiates a rape claim when it absolutely doesn't, that's your problem. It's pathetic, actually
@mtracey It's not a matter of "believing" or "disbelieving" Tara Reade, it's about assessing the credibility of the claim she's making. That's what is required journalistically and logically. So far, every single development has undercut the credibility of her claim
@mtracey Tucker did a segment on Tara Reade a few days ago dispassionately outlining the facts of the situation, and he ended up landing on a skeptical view of the accusation. Obviously that's counter to Fox's partisan interests. But it shows you what direction this story is heading in
@mtracey Tara Reade's claims were first fervently promoted by Bernie supporters desperate for a last-minute miracle to sink Biden. Her claims are now most fervently denied by Biden supporters. If you can't set aside your political preferences when evaluating this story, maybe sit it out
@mtracey In her new Megyn Kelly interview, Tara Reade reveals a previously undisclosed detail, and claims that Joe Biden told her: "I want to fuck you." Odd that Tara Reade would not have disclosed this incredibly salacious detail in the many previous interviews she's done on the subject
@mtracey If you're wondering how I can be simultaneously scornful of Russiagate lies, coronavirus trutherism, and this sad Tara Reade debacle, it's because I try to think independently and critically about every issue and back that up with evidence and reporting. Not rocket science!
@mtracey I've rarely seen a more egregious case of the phenomenon known as "confirmation bias" than in how online progressives recklessly hyped the Tara Reade allegations without even doing a shred of basic vetting. Great job killing your credibility, guys!
@mtracey Tara Reade has claimed that she was "silenced" and "shut down" by the media, but in reality the media was desperate to cover her story from the moment she started making allegations in April 2019. She spoke extensively to the NYT, WaPo, AP, Vox, among others. Why lie about this?
@mtracey Has anyone noticed that @theintercept still has not reported directly on Tara Reade's rape claim? It's been six weeks since she went public with the latest version of her story, and they haven't done an investigation into the claim itself -- only on ancillary issues. Curious.
@mtracey The anonymous friend who allegedly "corroborates" Tara Reade's rape claim explicitly told the media last year that Joe Biden did NOT physically assault Reade. Her "corroborating" testimony would be thrown out of court in about two seconds.
@mtracey I've done independent reporting on the Tara Reade allegation, and will publish when it's ready. But the process has DRASTICALLY increased my skepticism. "Online progressives" really need to learn how to journalistically vet stuff, or else they end up looking really stupid
@mtracey I don't support Joe Biden, or really give much of a shit about him on any level. But there is no credible corroboration of Tara Reade's rape claim. And I know this tweet is going to get "ratio'd" but I don't care, I'd rather be journalistically truthful than get Twitter plaudits
@mtracey In the 1990s, Dronen worked as a legislative aide for former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). He now runs a computer business in California. So we'll have to hear more from him at some point.
@mtracey Tara Reade's ex-husband Ted Dronen, who has now been publicly identified by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, hasn't been responding to inquiries. Reade previously accused him of "sociopathic" violence: killing cats, assaulting babies, and being wanted by the FBI for multiple murders
@mtracey This isn’t corroboration of a rape/assault allegation. We already know Reade had problems working in Biden’s office, and she was negatively affected by those problems. The question is whether Reade was raped as she alleges, and this document provides zero corroboration of that
The declaration – exclusively obtained by The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California – does not say Biden committed the harassment nor does it mention Reade’s more recent allegations of sexual assault.
Josh Barro @jbarro In which one of Tara Reade’s allegedly corroborating witnesses claims to have misled a reporter in 2019 because of Reade’s own wishes: https://vox.com/platform/amp/2
I spoke with Reade’s friend again this week. She said that Reade had told her about the alleged assault the week it happened in 1993. I asked the friend why, then, did she volunteer so explicitly that Biden “never tried to kiss her” or touch her inappropriately. “It just organically rolled out that way,” the friend said. “[Reade] and I had many conversations a year ago about what her degree of comfort was. She wanted to leave a layer there, and I did not want to betray that. It just wasn’t my place.”
@mtracey A 1996 court document from Tara Reade’s ex-husband makes no mention of rape, and doesn’t even implicate Biden directly. Like most other evidence in this story that’s falsely spun as “corroboration,” this undermines Reade’s case rather than bolsters it
@mtracey The author of this piece states that her hope is for Biden to be prevented from getting the Dem nomination as a result of the allegation. She favors this outcome, because she wishes to enshrine the underlying premises of MeToo -- i.e., "Believe Women"
Kate Manne @kate_manne My hope is it will put Joe Biden's presumptive nomination on the line. The #metoo movement is bigger than Biden. https://twitter.com/CornellCAS/sta
@mtracey "Suspend critical judgment when it's politically opportunistic" seems to be the only real takeaway from this story. Lots of different political factions demonstrate that tendency: liberals, leftists, even conservatives at times. A universal trait.
@mtracey So is the takeaway from this mess of a story that we ARE in fact required to reflexively "believe" claims of this nature -- no matter how contradictory or outlandish -- purely because a woman leveled them? I can't figure it out
The Nation @thenation I Believe Tara Reade. And You Should, Too. https://bit.ly/35wIOcO
@mtracey One of the big problems with "Believe Women" is that like many overly-simplistic slogans, it was always poorly-suited to addressing a multifaceted, ethically complicated set of issues. Thinking in slogans always makes you dumber
@mtracey “I know the nature of memory is complicated, but does it sound plausible that you’d “forget” about someone telling you they were raped by a US Senator?”
McHugh: When did this come on your radar again?
LaCasse: Just recently. Tara called me and said: “Oh my gosh, this Joe Biden thing is coming up again.” I said, “Oh my God. That. I had forgotten about it.
@mtracey Tara Reade spent much of 2019 and 2020 promoting a Medium post she wrote describing her experience in Biden's office. Then on March 24, she retroactively edited the post to align with the new rape charge she was leveling.
@mtracey We should "believe" women with a demonstrable pattern of public lying -- not just lying in general, but about the specifics of the allegation? OK, good luck with that.
@mtracey It seems like a lot of the "progressives" relentlessly hammering the liberal hypocrisy point think that we SHOULD in fact "Believe Women." Is that the standard you're advocating? Turns out, we really should "Believe All Women"?
@mtracey If you don't care at all about whether the alleged rape actually occurred, and care solely about the hypocrisy/double standards angle, then I have to question your moral priorities. "Did the rape happen" seems more important than whether Alyssa Milano is intellectually consistent
@mtracey Sexual assault is a grave crime and thus has to be evaluated as rationally as possible. Unfortunately, evaluating such crimes through the prism of a left/liberal professional class Culture War movement achieves the exact opposite effect
@mtracey You have some exceptions around the margins. A handful of conservatives got destroyed too: mostly those who also travel in circles otherwise dominated by left/liberals. But for the most part this was an inter-left phenomenon, which is why they're always the ones self-destructing
@mtracey Left/liberals, many of whom privately believed the charges being leveled were often hysterical and irrational, nevertheless had to publicly concede in solemn tones that they were "taking them seriously." Meanwhile conservatives could just dismiss them outright
@mtracey Ironically, though the mania was clearly spawned by left/liberal reaction to 2016, most of the casualties were *themselves* on the liberal/left. Media, Hollywood, Democratic Party, etc. (Kavanaugh fiasco is in its own special, toxic category)
@mtracey The "conversation" around MeToo was always driven by left/liberal media elites traumatized by the 2016 election. So if you ever expected rational, consistent standards to be applied, you were fundamentally misreading the situation: traumatized people don't reason logically
@mtracey The problem with MeToo is that it was always an elite left/liberal social project rather than anything structural or substantial
@mtracey It should go without saying that every sexual assault victim doesn't need to be perfectly consistent for their claims to have merit, but in evaluating the credibility of a specific allegation, repeated inconsistencies clearly have to be taken into consideration
@mtracey Tara Reade’s description of the complaint she claimed she filed in 1993 has now changed significantly. And in 2019, she told the AP that she walked into the relevant Senate personnel office, but “chickened out” and left
@mtracey The neighbor purportedly told about the assault in 1995 or 1996 says prior to coming forward to Business Insider as a corroborating source, she spoke to Tara Reade several times on the phone. Yesterday, she told Democracy Now that she now finds Biden "very believable"
@mtracey Chris Wallace is generally regarded as a fair interviewer and wouldn't be instinctually defensive of Biden. So I'm curious to know what motivated Tara Reade to cancel this interview:
@mtracey People keep telling me variations of: "It doesn't matter whether this actually happened. All that matters is the hypocrisy." Wow, that's a pretty morally impoverished perspective. I do view potential rape as the morally salient detail. But I guess that's now considered quaint
@mtracey I think it's important to go through these details as rationally as possible. And I'm not doing it as a hypocritical "Believe All Women" freak, but rather as someone interested in knowing the truth about whether a person running for president committed rape
@mtracey In her initial interview, Tara Reade claimed she told only three people about the alleged assault: her mother, her brother, and one friend. Later, a neighbor claimed Tara Reade told her about the assault two or three years after the fact. What explains this discrepancy?
@mtracey Whether Joe Biden -- for the first and only time in his life as far as we're aware -- cornered someone in a public hallway and raped her, to me is mainly an empirical question. I want to know whether it really happened. I understand others have different priorities and agendas
@mtracey According to the Seattle University magazine item from 2009, Reade "testifies in criminal cases as an expert witness about domestic violence." Yet she still publicly lied about the circumstances of her alleged assault, knowing the credibility issues that would inevitably raise?
@mtracey I didn't reflexively "believe" the Kavanaugh allegations either, so don't try battering me over the head with that one. I'm far more interested in whether it's actually true that Biden committed assault than the furious meta-arguments people are having
@mtracey So those are two reasons why I'm still skeptical. There are others, but I don't want to spend all day on this. I'm not smearing Reade; I'm not saying she's consciously lying now; I'm not defending hypocritical "Believe Women" Dems. I'm trying to rationally evaluate the situation
@mtracey However, the friend had vivid memories of Reade telling her about various workplace problems and struggles in Biden's office, which caused Reade upset and eventually led to her leaving the office. But she doesn't have any direct memories of being told about the alleged assault.
@mtracey In a podcast interview, one of Reade's unnamed friends who's been widely cited as a corroborating source stated that she "repressed on purpose" the memory of Reade telling her about the alleged assault. "I haven't made a point to try to remember it," the friend said.
@mtracey So presumably Tara Reade would have greater familiarity with the nuances of sexual assault reporting than the average victim. Which raises additional questions about why she would overtly lie about her assault in public venues.
@mtracey Can details of a sexual assault be revealed gradually over time? Sure. That's common. But Tara Reade is a law school graduate who worked as a victims' advocate for the Kings County, WA prosecutor's office. She wrote publicly about her experiences with an allegedly abusive husband
@mtracey Reade repeatedly denied that Biden had done anything of a sexual nature toward her. This idea that her story was being ignored by the media is demonstrably untrue, because she spoke to multiple major media outlets, including the Washington Post, AP, and her local newspaper
@mtracey If it's true that Tara Reade was sexually assaulted, then she must have lied to the media on multiple occasions last year, when she explicitly denied that Biden had committed any misconduct.
@mtracey Notice, none of these reasons for skepticism will have anything to do with her weird blog posts about Putin or Russia. Dem partisans who bring that stuff up are morons.
@mtracey OK, I'm going to give some reasons why I'm still skeptical of the Tara Reade allegations. If you want to accuse me of being a Biden shill: fine. I confronted Biden last year on his Iraq War lies, but if you want to believe that I'm suddenly shilling for him... knock yourself out
@mtracey The politicization and weaponization of sexual assault/sexual harassment is such a horrendous cultural shit-show -- it's almost impossible to deal with any aspect of it rationally, and it makes everyone involved look like hypocritical, vindictive, mud-slinging partisans
@mtracey Raise your hand if you, like me, didn't automatically "believe" any of the Kavanaugh accusers -- and are applying the same standard to the Biden accuser [crickets]