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FILE – This Jan. 17, 2001 file photo shows pedestrians entering CNN Center, the headquarters for CNN, in downtown Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ric Feld, File)

It took CNN over 3 weeks to report on the sexual assault allegation Joe Biden’s former Senate staffer Tara Reade made against him last month in an interview with podcaster Katie Halper.

Much of their initial “reporting” on the story heavily relied on biased reports from other news sources, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, in spite of the fact that the network has its own team of investigative reporters who could do their own digging into this story if they were truly interested in it.

A week after CNN’s first report was filed, they cranked out another one – over 24 hours after the story broke at The Intercept website on how a 1993 Larry King Live interview has surfaced that is allegedly a conversation between Reade’s late mother and King where her mother anonymously talked about “problems” she said her daughter had with a “prominent Senator” in Washington, D.C.

While CNN’s crack media correspondents team of Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter haven’t had much to say about the very obvious media angle to this story, CNN correspondent MJ Lee filed a report on the Larry King Live tape, and talked about it during a live segment on Saturday.

Newsbusters’ Curtis Houck astutely pointed out that the segment sounded like an attempt at downplaying and discrediting Reade’s allegations, but something else about what Lee reported caught my attention:

LEE: Well, what is important is that several media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, they have done some extensive reporting on this allegation and story and The New York Times says that they spoke with a friend of Reade’s who told The Times that Reade told her about this alleged assault at the time that it happened. They also spoke with a second friend who says that Reade told her in 2008 about Biden touching her inappropriately. The Washington Post also spoke with Tara Reade’s brother who initially told The Post, “I heard that there was a gym bag incident….and that he was inappropriate. I remember her telling me he said she was nothing to him.” Now interestingly, several days later, according to The Post, Tara Reade’s brother got back in touch with the paper and said he did remember her saying that Biden had put his hands under her clothes.

Note how often she references the Times and the Post. And that’s only an excerpt – she actually referenced them several more times.

Almost the entirety of Lee’s report was based on the Washington Post’s and the New York Times’ previous respective reports on Reade’s allegations, rather than any independent reporting from CNN. Lee did note that she was able to do a phone interview with Reade herself Friday night and had gotten a text back from Reade’s brother Collin Moulton on Saturday, but there is no mention anywhere in her live report or online report on how or if CNN has reached out to any other sources beyond Reade or her brother.

What’s she’s inadvertently admitting here is that 4 weeks after the allegation was publicly made, CNN has only given this story obligatory coverage, and that the “coverage” they’re bringing to their viewers and readers is really only happening because of reports from other news sources, not from any real digging CNN has done on their own.

Watch the full segment below:

This is really remarkable – and is truly a major media scandal in and of itself. CNN literally has reporters on standby to monitor Trump’s every tweet, every utterance, but on a major story involving sexual assault allegations against the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee, the best they can do is reference the work of other news outlets instead of doing their own investigative reporting – a full month after the story first broke?

To make matters worse, it appears CNN might be trying to memory-hole the Larry King clip itself.

So much for “facts first.” CNN’s new motto appears to be “Biden first.”

Sister Toldjah
Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year writer with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars.
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