NBC had the chance to be the first to break open stories of Harvey Weinstein’s numerous sexual harassment exploits but decided not to run the report from former MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, which ended up in The New Yorker.
Farrow’s MSNBC show was canceled in 2015 but the journalist still worked with the company on a non-exclusive basis. He came to NBC News with early reporting of the Weinstein scandal that was brewing, but the story was passed over when NBC executives determined it didn’t meet company standards. They were hesitant to run the story without a specific accuser willing to go on record at the time.
But Farrow says their reasoning for not running the story is completely nonsensical and that when he “walked into the door” of The New Yorker, the magazine “immediately” recognized that the story was ready for publication.
The Daily Beast notes that NBC News President Noah Oppenheim made the decision not to run Farrow’s story. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that Oppenheim is a screenwriter who has oft spoken of returning to Hollywood for a second stint in the industry. NBC has not responded to inquiries on whether The Weinstein Company was involved with any of Oppenheim’s projects.
Farrow did not hesitate to throw NBC under the bus in an interview on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” saying news organizations faced “pressure” with this particular story.
“You would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details of that story,” Farrow said. “I’m not going to comment on any news organization’s story that they did or didn’t run. I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so. And there are now reports emerging publicly about the kinds of pressure that news organizations face in this. And that is real.”
He said the company had essentially determined that the story was okay to run but chose against it.
“In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC,” he said.
The Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali said NBC, in particular, has treated the Weinstein story differently, as CBS and ABC covered the initial New York Times report, but “NBC Nightly News” failed to cover it and “Today” didn’t give it nearly as much attention as NBC’s rivals.
Many were surprised when NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” steered clear of the scandal, as well. The show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, told the Daily Mail “[i]t’s a New York thing,” when he was asked why the show avoided the Weinstein allegations.
Farrow’s standing with the company has also been put forth as a reason for the network’s failure to run the story. Because Ronan publicly supported his mother, Mia Farrow’s campaign to accuse Farrow’s father, Woody Allen, of molesting an adopted daughter, it is believed he lacked credibility within NBC as a journalist, especially on the topic of celebrities accused of sexual offenses, according to Fox News.
Whatever the reason, it marks the second time NBC has allowed its competitors to report an explosive story it obtained first. Roughly one year ago, NBC News sat on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of then-candidate Donald Trump making lewd sexual comments about women.
Coupled with the apparent failure of the ultra-expensive Megyn Kelly-move, issues seem to be mounting for Oppenheim and his boss, Andy Lack.
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