Rather than dominating the news cycle, former Senate staffer Tara Reade’s recent allegation that former Vice President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her has been slow to receive coverage in many outlets.
Reade first stepped forward in spring 2019 as one of several women who accused Biden of inappropriate touching, but it wasn’t until March 25, 2020, that Reade alleged Biden had sexually assaulted her while she was a staffer in his office in 1993. In a podcast interview with left-leaning commentator Katie Halper, Reade accused Biden of pushing her against a wall, reaching under her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers. (While some of Reade’s family and friends say Reade told them about the incident shortly thereafter, other Biden staffers at the time do not recall hearing about it, and Biden has denied that it ever took place.) But the story wasn’t really featured in the mainstream media until after April 12, when The New York Times published an in-depth investigation of Reade’s claims.
Since then, the accusation has gotten more attention, starting on April 24, when a “Larry King Live” clip from 1993 emerged in which a caller who may be Reade’s mother describes her daughter’s “problems” with a “prominent senator.” Coverage continued to climb after April 27, when Reade’s former neighbor said that Reade had told her details about the alleged assault in the mid-1990s, and May 1, when Biden himself made his first public comment on the allegation. Nevertheless, our analysis of closed captioning data for Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, pulled from the TV News Archive,<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="1" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-media-has-and-hasnt-covered-tara-reades-allegation-against-joe-biden/#fn-1" data-footnote-content="
We ran a search of Fox News, MSNBC and CNN coverage in the TV News Archive using the GDELT Television API. In that database, daily news footage is split into 15-second clips, and searches return the clips that contain a mention of our search query, which was “Tara Reade” or “Tara Read” or “Tara Reed” or “Tara Reid,” to account for the types of misspellings commonly seen in closed captions. The cutoff for measuring coverage for any given day is midnight Eastern Time.
“>1 and of online news articles from the Media Cloud database<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="2" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-media-has-and-hasnt-covered-tara-reades-allegation-against-joe-biden/#fn-2" data-footnote-content="
We searched for stories that included Reade’s first and last name, with a wildcard marker on “Reade” to ensure we didn’t miss constructions such as “Tara Reade’s allegation.” Media Cloud dates articles based on when the article page says the story was published, which means that it is insensitive to time zones and its cutoff times each day may be slightly different than the times used for the cable news data.
“>2 finds that the volume of coverage of the allegation remained low until very recently, and it has gotten more attention from right-leaning outlets, both on television and online.
Of the three major cable news channels, Fox News has devoted the most attention to Reade so far.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="3" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-media-has-and-hasnt-covered-tara-reades-allegation-against-joe-biden/#fn-3" data-footnote-content="
We also searched the closed captioning data for clips containing Biden’s name along with the words “sexual” or “sexually,” but that search query revealed a similar pattern of coverage to clips that mentioned Reade by name.
“>3 Through Friday, May 1, Fox News mentioned Reade in 371 clips collected by the TV News Archive — 344 of them on or after April 24. Many of these mentions were by the channel’s conservative commentators criticizing Democrats and the media for not giving Reade’s allegation more air time.
By contrast, CNN and MSNBC mostly covered the story with on-air interviews of reporters who had investigated the allegation — but these channels also covered Reade much less. Through May 1, CNN had only mentioned Reade in 35 clips, the first of which aired on April 25. And MSNBC barely mentioned her until last Friday, when Biden personally appeared on the network to deny Reade’s claims. (According to what Reade has told The New York Times, neither CNN nor MSNBC has asked to interview her on air, though they have spoken to her off camera.)
But while cable news didn’t mention Reade at all when the sexual assault allegation was first revealed, online news outlets did. After the story broke on March 25, conservative news organizations like The Blaze and the Daily Caller picked it up right away. But while right-leaning outlets covered the story most heavily, HuffPost, Vox and The Guardian also wrote about the allegations in March. The Guardian and Vox even noted then how the story wasn’t yet appearing in mainstream news outlets. Fox News, which hadn’t yet mentioned Reade on TV, also published an article online about the allegations on March 27. Starting in April, mainstream media coverage of the allegation began to pick up, but the volume of coverage mentioning Reade has still increased the most in conservative-leaning online media, which sometimes published multiple articles a day on the story.<a class="espn-footnote-link" data-footnote-id="4" href="https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-media-has-and-hasnt-covered-tara-reades-allegation-against-joe-biden/#fn-4" data-footnote-content="
Of the 32 outlets in Media Cloud’s U.S. Top Online News 2017 collection — a list of top news websites based on data from comScore, Activate and Alexa — 28 contained articles matching our query for Tara Reade. Of those, we classified six outlets (Fox News, Daily Caller, Breitbart, The Blaze, NewsMax and Drudge Report) as conservative based on Media Cloud’s analysis of who retweeted that outlet and whether they also retweeted Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
At first, though, the headlines about the allegation were similar regardless of the outlet’s ideological bent — compare Breitbart’s “Joe Biden Faces New Sexual Assault Allegation from Former Staffer” to HuffPost’s “Joe Biden Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Senate Aide In 1993,” for example. But if you were looking for articles about the story’s day-to-day developments, such as the emergence of the “Larry King Live” clip, conservative outlets were generally the place to look (although the King clip was originally reported by The Intercept, which is regarded as left-leaning). And after The New York Times’s investigation into Reade’s claims, many conservative outlets also criticized its handling of the story, which evolved into articles about the lack of mainstream media coverage of the allegation.
Once the Times published its investigation in mid-April, other mainstream news organizations began covering the story as well. Some, like Time and Reuters, devoted entire articles to the allegation, but for others, like The Atlantic and Politico, early mentions of Reade appeared in articles that did not focus on her. And others, like CNN and CBS News, mentioned Reade’s allegation not as a straightforward breaking news story but in the context of how other Democrats were reacting. In general, the mainstream media was less likely than conservative outlets to publish follow-up stories containing new developments in the allegation, although that began to change last week as some mainstream outlets joined conservative ones in questioning Biden’s silence on the allegation, which may have led to his appearance on MSNBC on Friday.
Of course, one thing this data can’t tell us is how much coverage the allegation should be receiving; there is no “correct” answer. It could be, as some have argued, that mainstream media outlets have a liberal bias and are avoiding the story for that reason — or it could be that conservative media outlets are simply likelier to run with a story that makes a Democrat look bad. It’s also possible that mainstream outlets investigated the claims and felt that the supporting evidence they were able to find was not enough for them to publish the story.
It’s also difficult to compare coverage of these sexual assault allegations with coverage of the allegations made against President Trump, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or other politicians who have faced similar scandals. Any number of factors — such as the prominence of the person being accused, the seriousness of the allegations and the number of accusers — can influence the amount of media coverage a sexual assault allegation receives, and Biden’s situation is not necessarily a close match along all of these dimensions. (Most obviously, the only other politician of similar prominence to face sexual assault allegations recently — Trump — faced several of them, and also was infamously caught on video bragging about his sexual pursuits.)
And perhaps the biggest confounder is the news environment in which this story has arisen. The coronavirus pandemic is currently sucking up so much of the media oxygen that it is unlikely that any political story would be covered as thoroughly as it would be in normal times. So while it seems clear that coverage of Reade’s allegation has so far been limited, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is.
Are You Missing Life’s Moments Because of Social Media?
Recently my wife and I watched the movie Before Sunrise , starring Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine. While travelling on a Eurail train from Budapest, Jesse, an American, sees Celine, who’s French. It’s Jesse’s last day in Europe before returning to the US. Jesse strikes up a conversation with Celine, and they disembark in Vienna to spend the night wandering Austria’s capital city.
Summary: Before Sunrise is a back-and-forth conversation between a romantic [Celine] and a cynic [Jesse].
During the closing credits, I turned to my wife and said, “That wouldn’t have happened today. Jessie and Celine would have been staring at their respective smartphone throughout the train ride, which in 2021 would have free Wi-Fi, not noticing the passing scenery, their fellow passengers or each other, let alone start a conservation.”
How much of real life are we trading to participate in the digital world?
I have this problem; actually, it’s more of an addiction I need to keep in check constantly. I suffer from FOMO [Fear of Missing Out].
You’ve probably heard of FOMO. Odds are you suffer from it to a degree. FOMO is that uneasy feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you, or worst, living a better life than you. FOMO is why social media participation is as high as it is. FOMO is why you perpetually refresh your social media feeds, so you don’t feel left out—so that you can compare your life. FOMO is what makes social media the dopamine machine it is.
FOMO has become an issue, especially for those under 40. More and more people choose to scroll mindlessly through their social media feeds regardless of whether they’re commuting on public transit, having dinner in a restaurant, or at a sports event. Saying “yes” to the digital world and “no” to real life is now common.
Your soulmate could be sitting a few seats over on the bus (or Eurail train), or at the diner counter, or in the doctor’s waiting room. However, you’re checking your social media to see if Bob’s vacationing in Aruba with Scarlett or if Farid got the new job and may now be making more money than you. Likely, your potential soulmate is probably doing the same.
Look around. Everyone is looking down at the screen in their hand, not up at each other.
We all know Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, et al. [even LinkedIn] doesn’t provide a very well-rounded picture of people’s lives. Most of what people post is cherry-picked to elicit self-affirming responses, such as likes, thumbs-up and hand-clapping emojis, retweets, shares, and those coveted comments of “Congratulations!”, “Way to go!”, “You’re awesome!”, “Looking good!”
The Internet, especially its social media aspect, equates to “Look at me!”
Sometimes I wonder, if bragging and showing off were banned on social media sites, how much would posts decrease?
“Stop paying so much attention to how others around you are doing” was easy advice to follow pre-Internet (the late 90s). Back in the day, it would be only through the grapevine you were a part of that you found out if Bob was in Aruba with Scarlett and that be without pictures. Evidence of how others are doing, strangers included, is pervasive because undeniably, most of us care about status. In 2021 how people are doing is in the palm of our hands, so we tend to give more time to the device we’re holding at the cost of neglecting the real-life happenings within our immediate surroundings.
Social media has made us a restless, anxious bunch underappreciating the present moment. With lockdown restrictions lifting and more social activities taking place, people will be hunkering down on their smartphones more than before to see what others are doing. They’ll see the BBQ they weren’t invited to or people they consider to be friends having a few laughs on the local pub’s patio or camping or at the beach without them. Loneliness, questioning self-worth, depression will be the result.
Trading engaging with those around you to feed your FOMO angst is what we’ve come down to. In my opinion, Guildwood is the GTA’s most walkable neighbourhood. You can choose to take walks around Guildwood, getting exercise, meeting people or stay addicted to the FOMO distress social media is causing you.
Instead of catching up with an old friend or colleague in person over lunch, coffee, or a walk in Guild Park & Gardens, people prefer to text or message each other on social media platforms eliminating face-to-face interactions. Instead of trying to reconnect with old friends verbally, people would rather sit at home with their technology devices and learn what their friends are up to through social media platforms, thus the start of a slippery slope towards anti-social behaviour.
Social media’s irony is it has made us much less social. How Jesse and Celine meet [you’ll have to see the movie] and the resulting in-depth conversation they have as they gradually open up to each other, thus beginning a postmodern romance wouldn’t have happened today. They’d be too preoccupied with their smartphones feeding their FOMO addiction to notice each other.
Social media will always nudge you to give it attention, but that doesn’t mean you have to oblige. Take it from me; there’s more to be had in enjoying life’s moments outside of social media.
Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). You can reach Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org and him on Instagram and Twitter @NKossovan.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck pictured kissing as ‘Bennifer’ returns
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have been pictured exchanging passionate kisses, apparently confirming weeks of fevered rumors that they have rekindled a romance that dominated celebrity media almost 20 years ago.
Paparazzi photos printed in the New York Post on Monday showed the two actors kissing while enjoying a meal with members of Lopez’s family at Malibu’s posh Nobu sushi restaurant west of Los Angeles on Sunday.
Representatives for Lopez, 51, declined to comment on Monday, while Affleck’s publicists did not return a request for comment.
Lopez and “Argo” director Affleck, dubbed “Bennifer,” became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s in a romance marked by his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring. They abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.
The pair have been pictured together several times in Los Angels and Miami in recent weeks, after Lopez and her former baseball player fiance Alex Rodriguez called off their engagement in mid-April after four years together. Monday’s photos were the first in which Lopez and Affleck were seen kissing this time around.
Celebrity outlet E! News quoted an unidentified source last week as saying Lopez was planning to move from Miami to Los Angeles to spend more time with Affleck, 48, and was looking for schools for her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme.
Max and Emme, along with the singer’s sister Lydia, were also photographed walking into the restaurant in Malibu on Sunday.
Lopez married Latin singer Marc Anthony, her third husband, just five months after her 2004 split with Affleck. Affleck went on to marry, and later was divorced from, actress Jennifer Garner.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues
After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on , users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.
Bev Standing, , is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”
TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.
Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and , people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.
For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.
This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.
The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.
According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”
When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.
With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.