The New York Times was blasted on Sunday after declaring its investigators had found "no pattern of sexual misconduct" against Joe Biden, before proceeding to list a pattern of sexual misconduct.
Last week, Tara Reade filed a criminal complaint alleging that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she worked in his U.S. Senate office. The statute of limitations on the alleged assault has passed, and Reade said she filed the complaint "for safety reasons only."
After Reade's allegation surfaced last month, the Times said its reporters began working to corroborate her story.
On Sunday, when publishing its findings — that none of Biden's former staff corroborated Reade's allegation — the Times claimed their investigation did not uncover a "pattern of sexual misconduct" in Biden's history.
"We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable," the outlet said.
That line in particular generated backlash because of Biden's history of questionably touching women, including being "being too handsy with children," Vox reported.
What was the response?
The Times was excoriated for refusing to acknowledge that Biden's history of "hugs, kisses and touching" amounted to sexual misconduct. Many also noted the Times has not extended such latitude to others accused of sexual misconduct, like Brett Kavanaugh.
"Kissing & touching women who do not want to be kissed and touched is in fact sexual misconduct," one person, Molly Conger, said.
"Must've been a long zoom meeting with the @DNC to iron out the wording of this journalism," another person reacted.
One person mocked, "'we found no pattern of sexual misconduct by biden, other than all the hugs, kisses, and innapropriate touching that made women uncomfortable' amazing."
"Huh. Kind of seems you guys *did* find a pattern though," another person pointed out.
"You have literally crucified and called for the imprisonment of other dudes found to have done the same," another person noted.
"The Times was unable to corroborate the allegation against Biden, which may remind you of the charges against Brett Kavanaugh. But I don't recall the Times ever quite saying that about the Kavanaugh case. Oh, and there were no "hugs, kisses and touching" claims against Kavanaugh," Brit Hume said.
The Times was unable to corroborate the allegation against Biden, which may remind you of the charges against Brett… https://t.co/pSwBTIbAEG— Brit Hume (@Brit Hume)1586702279.0
"Zero journalistic integrity. This is an elite institution providing cover for their class interests," another person said.
The Times appears to have already edited its story, which included the same line as the tweet. The update removed language about inappropriate touching and kissing. The story now simply declares that the Times has found "no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden."
Biden denies Reade's allegations.
Editor's note: The New York Times has since deleted its tweet. This story has been updated to include a screen capture of the Times's tweet.