The New York Times is under fire after deleting a portion of its report on the sexual assault allegations against former Senator and presidential candidate, Joe Biden.
In its investigative piece co-authored by Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember, The Times discussed sexual assault allegations against Biden from a former employee named Tara Reade. She previously alleged Biden placed his hand up her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers while she helped in his senate office in 1992.
“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 authors wrote.
Then authors wrote this sentence, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.” However, when initially published, the above sentence read very differently.
“The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable,” noted the authors before the italicized phrase was deleted by editors.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) April 12, 2020
It is rare when The New York Times deletes a portion of a story after publication. Skilled writers and layers of editors are in place to make sure final editions are prepared correctly. In the rare case of a story being edited after it is published, it is standard protocol for The Times to put a note from the editors explaining the edits and the purpose of each.
In this case of the deletion in the story on Biden’s sexual assault allegation, there are no notes explaining the change.
The absence of those notes of explanation are curious given the gravity of The Times report and its importance in the upcoming presidential election.
In response, the newspaper released a statement on Twitter, writing, “We’ve deleted a tweet in this thread that had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.”
We've deleted a tweet in this thread that had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 12, 2020
The deleted language had also appeared in a tweet from the New York Times which was also subsequently deleted.