Also, it could be false: Is it possible that Tara Reade's accusation is true? Is it possible that Joe Biden assaulted Reade in 1993, as Reade has now said?
Yes, of course it's possible! In part, Reade's accusation is possible because every accusation is.
Stating the obvious, every claim is possibly true until someone can prove that it isn't. That's true of Tara Reade's accusation, which could of course be true.
Unfortunately, it's also possible that Tara Reade's accusation is false. Until someone can prove that her claim is true, that's totally possible too!
Some claims do turn out to be false. Ineptly, let's try to remember:
Eventually, the accusation in the Duke lacrosse case turned out to be false. After that, the accusation in the UVa frat party case also turned out to be false.
The tragic accuser in the Duke lacrosse case is now in prison, where she's serving 14 to 18 years for second-degree murder. The accuser in the UVa case left school and was presumably treated for mental health issues.
Meanwhile, are we still supposed to believe that Julie Swetnick's claims concerning Brett Kavanaugh were true? Like all other claims, her claims certainly could have been true. But they also could have been false!
Swetnick's champion, Michael Avenatti, has been in and out of jail himself since the glorious days when we liberals stampeded to believe his latest client's latest claims—since the days when we even thought the great man might maybe should run for the White House himself.
(Also, since the days when we swallowed the manifest nonsense being served by Stormy Daniels. Since the days when we keened and wailed about the fact that we hadn't been able to hear her say that Candidate Trump had engaged in consensual sex with her, on one occasion, a full ten years before. These are the sorts of claims our tiny brains clamor to hear.)
Many accusations are true; some accusations are false. In all honesty, we liberals have a flawed track record distinguishing one group of claims and claimants from the other.
Above all else, we deeply limited human beings have always had a difficult time coming to terms with a basic fact. In the current context, we'll add a second basic fact we've had a hard time processing:
Two basic facts:The human brain just isn't wired to deal with that first basic fact. Our human brain is wired to come to conclusions, and we persistently do.
1) In many cases of this type, there will never be a way to show that the accusation is true (or false).
2) Sometimes, the claims of female accusers are false.
In the current context, we liberals are constantly devising ways to sidestep that second basic fact. But only because we're so moral and so high-minded!
Is Tara Reade lying in this case? Might she "have problems," as Emily Bazelon seemed to suggest in that podcast at Slate?
We have no way of knowing how to answer those questions. Obviously, though, it's possible that her claim is false—but also, that it isn't.
Concerning this case, let us make the following statement. Almost surely, there will never be a way to demonstrate whether Reade's claim is true, although of course it could be.
There will also never be away to demonstrate that it's false.
Why do we offer that assessment? As a partial answer to your question, consider another recent claim made against Joe Biden.
This claim has apparently been proven false, though it's very hard to make any such demonstration in a way which will satisfy all comers.
What is this other recent claim? All too briefly, Michelle Goldberg provided the grisly play by play in her column in yesterday's New York Times. We apologize for repeating an ugly claim which seems to have been shown to be false:
GOLDBERG (5/5/20): On Friday, the website Law & Crime reported that a niece of Christine O’Donnell, a former Republican Senate candidate in Delaware, said that Biden commented on her breasts at a 2008 Gridiron Club dinner, when she was 14. Several people said they were told about this at the time, but it emerged that Biden wasn’t at the dinner. O’Donnell then said it might have happened at the Gridiron dinner in 2007, but Biden wasn’t at that one either. It was a demonstration of how easily #MeToo can be misused as a political weapon.Somewhat remarkably, O'Donnell was indeed the Republican nominee for the United States Senate from Delaware in both 2008 and 2010. On balance, she has been seen as a highly marginal figure by major figures in both major parties, though she also got a lot of votes on each of those occasions.
In the case of this recent accusation, a basic mistake was made. The O'Donnell group named a particular time and place at which the alleged misconduct had allegedly occurred!
This gave the accused a chance to prove that he had been somewhere else at the time of the alleged misconduct. When a second, replacement time and place was offered, a second proof appeared.
The O'Donnell camp had made a basic mistake! They had stated a time and a place, thereby giving the accused a chance to prove that the specific claim was false.
(Needless to say, true believers will always believe that the offense must have happened somewhere. This is the way our humans brains have always taught us to react.)
The O'Donnell camp had made a rookie mistake. But in the current claim under review, Reade cites no date on which the alleged offense occurred.
This means there will be no way that the accused could show that he was somewhere else at the specified time. Of course, he might have been right there in that Senate hallway, committing the alleged offense! Or he might be innocent of the charge, though present in that Senate office building on the day in question!
Stating the obvious, human history stinks with false accusations. Here's another example:
In May 1999, Kathleen Willey accused a journalist of having threatened her outside her Richmond, Virginia home. The journalist was allegedly carrying out this threat on behalf of President Clinton, or on behalf of his murderous gang.
Willey made the accusation on Hardball. She was goaded into voicing her claim by Chris Matthews, whose anti-Clinton/Gore behavior was routinely out of control at this point in time.
(This helped send George Bush to the White House, and the U.S. army into Iraq. Hardball was much more influential at that time than it was in recent years.)
At the time of this accusation, Willey had been hailed, by one and all, as the most credible accuser in the history of the planet. Smitten male journalists had stood in line to say how blatantly honest she blatantly was in her various accusations, which surely had to accurate.
Luckily, the accused journalist was able to show that he had been in California at the time of the alleged incident. Matthews apologized for his astonishing conduct, and in line with Mandated Standard Press Corps Behavior, the incident was never mentioned again.
(Before the journalist was able to show that Willey's accusation was false, a man with a history of mental illness was arrested at his home. He had gone there with a gun, apparently planning to shoot the man who had threatened the highly credible Willey.)
This morning, we give up! We give up because we read the bullroar shown below. It comes from the keyboard of Susan Matthews (no relation), who has done good work in the past.
The bosses were willing to print it at Slate. For fuller context, read Matthews' piece. For now, gaze upon the endless works of our human race:
MATTHEWS (5/5/20): And, more relevantly, the 25-year window does not reach back to 1993, when Biden’s then-interns recall Tara Reade being abruptly removed from her duties as their supervisor, and when Reade’s mother phoned in to Larry King Live to say her daughter had been mistreated by a prominent senator. People may have strong reasons to want to believe Biden’s flat declaration that “it didn’t happen,” but if Biden didn’t reach his fingers up her skirt, what did happen then?In 1993, did Reade's mother "phone in to Larry King Live to say her daughter had been mistreated by a prominent senator?"
Actually, that isn't what the woman in question said—a woman who seems to have been Reade's mother. That's only what the caller said when her words are filtered through human ears—through the ears of at rue believer.
The woman who called Larry King said something quite different from that. It's also true that Tara Reade's mother would have no first-hand way of knowing what had, or hadn't occurred.
At any rate, that isn't what the caller said to Larry King that night. But all through our frequently gruesome human history, true believers have always heard such things being said when they've made their ardent pleas on behalf of some tribal verity.
Around the world, this has led to killing fields and to detention camps. Over Here, it helped produce the election of Donald J. Trump, and it may yet keep him in office.
Nothing will stop misparaphrase from emerging from our human brains. Nothing will stop editors from waving such claims into print.
Meanwhile, is it possible that Tara Reade's accusation true? As with every claim that's ever been made, yes, it certainly is!
Tomorrow, we'll show you what Emily Bazelon was apparently talking about when she seemed to be say that Reade wasn't all that credible—that she might even "have problems," as with other high-profile accusers in recent years.
None of this will matter, of course. Our press corps has covered for the Willeys all along, and large chunks of it always will.
Also, Reade's accusation could be true! Every claim could be true until someone can show that it isn't—and with this, as with most claims, we can all feel fairly sure that nobody ever will.
Tomorrow: Back to Bazelon