An editor of the New York Times admitted in an interview that the paper made changes to their story covering the sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden, in a manner specifically aimed at satisfying the Biden campaign’s requests, according to Fox News.
In the Monday interview, the Times’ exclusive editor Dean Baquet sat down with one of his own reporters, Ben Smith, and answered questions regarding a portion of the story that was slightly altered, which read the following: “No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
The excerpt, which was posted in a tweet, was changed and the tweet was deleted several hours later, which the Times claimed “had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.” When Smith questioned Baquet about the change, Baquet admitted that “the [Biden] campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct, and that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.”
When Smith followed up by asking why Baquet didn’t simply explain the change, Baquet replied that “we didn’t think it was a factual mistake. I thought it was an awkward phrasing issue that could be read different ways and that it wasn’t something factual we were correcting.”
Baquet further tried to justify the Times’ handling of the allegation in comparison to its reporting on the false accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that “Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way…if you ask the average person in America, they didn’t know about the Tara Reade case.” Therefore, Baquet said, “we needed to introduce it with some reporting and perspective,” while also saying that it was intended 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.”