Dean Baquet who is the executive editor for the New York Times said on Monday that the paper changed an article written about Joe Biden’s sexual assault allegation after his campaign complained about the articles wording.
Baquet told columnist Ben Smith in an interview that the Biden campaign had issues with some of the phrasing in the paper’s report on Biden’s former Senate staffer Tara Reade alleging Biden sexually assaulted and fired her in 1993.
The original article read the following:
“No other allegations about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, or 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 hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”
The paper quickly deleted the portion about hugs, kisses and touching by Biden that women said made them feel uncomfortable after the campaign complained about it.
Smith asked Baquet about the sudden deletion, which wouldn’t be noticed by new readers since the Times did not include a correction or even an editors note in the article.
“I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence, why did you do that?” Smith asked.
“Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went in to the paper, I think that the 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, wand that’s not what the sentence was intended to say,” Baquet answered.
Smith also asked Baquet why it took so long for the Times to report on Reade’s allegations considering she went public on March 25th, and the article was not published until almost 3 weeks later on April 12th.
“I thought that what the Times could offer and should try to offer was the reporting 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 parties nominee,”Baquet said, in explaining why the Times waited to report on the accusation.
Biden’s campaign has denied Reade’s allegations.