The New York Times reported Sunday that it found no pattern of sexual misconduct involving former Vice President Joe Biden. Well, except for his long history of kissing, touching, and pawing at women who say he made them uncomfortable.
The newspaper amended its report later to remove all mentions of Biden’s history of inappropriate contact with women, scrubbing from the record any appearance of impropriety by the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee.
The Times claimed in a statement this weekend that it had removed this language merely because it thought it “imprecise.” However, it turns out that the Biden campaign made the article’s controversial edits, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet later suggested.
“Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper,” the editor told the New York Times’s Ben Smith.
“I think 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.”
So, Biden’s campaign got a veto.
The Times’s since-amended story represents its first attempt to report on allegations that Biden sexually abused one of his Senate staffers in the early 1990s. The former aide, Tara Reade, reiterated her allegations most recently on March 25 during a podcast interview.
Reade’s allegation has “dramatically shifted” throughout the years, as my Washington Examiner colleague Tiana Lowe notes. “The corroborating evidence is limited to one friend who says Reade told her about the assault at the time, another who said Reade claimed Biden touched her inappropriately in 2008, and her brother, who has vaguely corroborated the account to left-wing reporters.”
Yet, none of these seeming inconsistencies explains the New York Times’s bizarre editorial choices this weekend.
Its report still includes a quote from a former Nevada state assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, who claims Biden made her uncomfortable when he kissed her and pawed at her during a 2014 campaign event. The New York Times report also includes commentary from additional women who have come forward to say the former vice president similarly made them feel uncomfortable with unwanted contact.
The New York Times report ended originally with a line that read: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
However, the second part of that line was removed soon after publication. The New York Times explained the move later in a statement: “We’ve deleted a tweet in this thread that had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.”
Baquet’s remarks raise two immediate questions: First, what was imprecise about the removed sentence? Baquet never actually addresses this point. By the New York Times’s own admission, multiple women have indeed accused Biden of “hugs, kisses and touching” that they say made them uncomfortable.