Tara Reade appears alongside Maria Butina on Russian television on May 30. (Sputnik/RIA Novosti/Julia Davis on Twitter)

Tara Reade — the woman who worked for President Joe Biden from 1992-1993 during his tenure as a senator and raised sexual assault allegations against him in 2020 — has defected to Russia.

Or at least that’s how mainstream outlets from CNN (Lean Left bias) to Fox News (Right bias) reported the news, which broke on May 31. 

However, in an exclusive June 7 interview with Rising, a TV program by The Hill (Center bias) hosted by Robby Soave of Reason (Lean Right bias) and Briahna Joy Gray of Current Affairs (Left bias), Reade disputed the news that she was a defector.

Many mainstream sources across the spectrum, including the following, covered Reade’s “move” to Russia and/or the Biden Administration’s denial that Reade would be in any danger in the United States.



Yet at the time of publishing, none of the listed sources have covered the story’s most recent developments from Reade’s interview with Rising. (Rising is a program by The Hill, but The Hill did not run an article on the matter.)

Reade explained her case differently, saying she initially traveled to Moscow for what was only supposed to be seven days because of a book deal offer she received for the “international translation” of her book, not to defect.

For context, Reade, a Democrat until 2020, had supported Biden and endorsed Trump-Russia collusion narratives through 2017, but penned an (now deleted) article in 2018 marking a shift in views. In the article, titled "Why a Liberal Democrat Supports Vladimir Putin," Reade called America a “corporate autocracy” and praised the Russian President, ranging from his “visionary” leadership to his “sensuous image.” 

In 2020, after Reade’s allegations against Biden, many American media outlets referenced this article and associated her with Russia. During this time, Reade, who filed a workplace complaint against Biden in 1993, distanced herself from her glowing comments towards Russia and Putin, calling them “misguided.” 

She now insists her life was “destroyed” by mainstream media’s portrayal of her as a “Russian agent,” noting defamation, threats, and physical abuse she and her family members have endured since the allegations. She told Rising finding work became very difficult for her as a result, leading her to take a job at RT (Lean Right bias) contributing op-eds that paid “not very much money.”

While in Moscow, securing a deal for her book, Reade appeared in a lengthy TV interview with Maria Butina broadcast by state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. In this interview, Reade said she hoped to gain Russian citizenship (she later told Rising she hoped to base herself between both countries) and also that upon landing in Moscow, she felt safe “for the first time in a very long time.”

Butina, now a State Duma member, was convicted as a foreign agent in the U.S. in 2018. (AP)

During her week in Russia, Reade was allegedly warned by former U.S. intelligence community members and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that her freedom and life may both be at risk should she leave Russia. A June 3 appeal that a representative of Reade's made to the United Nations claims she was unable to determine whether her relationship with Russian media would make her a target for detainment abroad.

Reade’s crisis attorney, Radha Stirling, also appeared in the Rising interview and highlighted how easily the U.S. justice system could be weaponized against a suspected “foreign agent” to detain a person of interest long-term. Reade says she has a sealed Grand Jury case in the U.S. from 2020 which she fears "they can indict on... at any time,” but the risk extends beyond the States.

Even though many other countries don’t have extradition clauses with the U.S., Reade and Stirling appear to believe Russia to be the safest country for her right now because of Russia’s obvious unwillingness to aid the U.S. in extradition. Her worries also come shortly after a journalist from The Grayzone (Not Rated) was detained in the United Kingdom and interrogated for hours amid fears he was a Russian agent. He was later released.

Reade maintains that she “will not be bullied” and wants to testify before Congress about the allegations she raised in 2020.

Undoubtedly, Reade’s story is full of pivots and at times lacks context, particularly how she came to correspond with Gaetz, and specifically why he as a U.S. government representative believed her life might be in danger outside of Russia. Without more context around Gaetz’s alleged comments to Reade, one could wonder if they are part of Republican efforts to politicize Reade’s accusations or sincere concerns.

If Reade were to testify before Congress, the hope for the Biden Administration would logically be to clear the President’s name of the allegations and halt any potential Republican momentum. Should Reade lie, she could be subject to a felony, as Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI) pointed out to Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi (Center bias) in April.

As the Foreign Agents Registration Act is increasingly invoked, be it against Paul Manafort or leftists protesting U.S. support of Ukraine – who were both deemed foreign agents acting in the interests of Russia – Reade is not paranoid to believe she could be in the federal government’s crosshairs. Moreover, the lack of media coverage concerning Reade’s rebuttal to Rising demonstrates severe media bias against Reade within the United States.

Even if Reade is committing the horrific act of falsely accusing President Biden of sexual assault, and possibly acting to undermine the U.S. government, news media should be the ones to follow the story through each new development to present the clearest possible picture to the public.

Readers should consider the omission of the developments by news outlets and what it means. It could be possible that newsrooms elected to not cover Reade’s side of the story because they lend little credence to her accounts. Nonetheless, it is clearly a form of media bias, and noteworthy considering how widely covered her “defection” was.

Andy Gorel is a News Curator at AllSides. He has a Center bias.

This blog was reviewed by Joseph Ratliff, Daily News Editor (Lean Left bias), Julie Mastrine, Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias), Henry A. Brechter, Editor-in-Chief (Center bias), and Jonathon Held, Research & Content Intern (Lean Right bias).