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October 11, 2017

NBC News Tried to Kill Harvey Weinstein Story

Ronan Farrow published his story at the New Yorker, despite being an NBC News freelance correspondent until recently.

Why? Because NBC News claimed the story "wasn't ready for prime time."

The New Yorker seemed to disagree. So did the New York Times, which had a lot of the same reporting.

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show--which, like NBC, is a property of NBC Universal and its parent company Comcast--Farrow disputed what sources said was NBC News President Noah Oppenheim’s judgment this past summer that Farrow's reporting on the movie mogul and the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted wasn’t ready for prime-time.

Addressing a controversy that has been percolating for the past several days in the media ecosystem since The New York Times published its own Weinstein expose--including questions about whether NBC executives caved to the well-connected Weinstein and his formidable lawyers, Charles Harder, Lisa Bloom, and David Boies--Maddow brought it to a boiling point by telling Farrow: "NBC says that the story wasn't publishable, that it wasn't ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

Farrow fired back: "I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that. And it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC."

...

But an NBC source promptly contradicted Farrow’s late-night claim, telling The Daily Beast in a statement: "Ronan has had a non-exclusive relationship with NBC News for the last year. He brought NBC News early reporting [on Weinstein] that didn't meet the standard to go forward with a story; it was nowhere close to what ultimately ran in The New York Times or The New Yorker--for example, at that time he didn't have one accuser willing to go on the record or identify themselves."

Well that's what an anonymous source claims. Why not put a name to that?

Another anonymous source contradicts NBC:

According to a television-industry insider familiar with Farrow's NBC News project, however, "Farrow and his producer had been working this for 10 months. They had eight interviews on camera, with a mix of silhouette and not-silhouette--so eight women speaking. They had an NYPD audio tape, and they had enough for a story. And NBC did everything they could to delay it, complicate it, and ultimately Noah [Oppenheim] killed it. NBC shut it down."

This person continued: “It is what it is, and everybody can see it. It's crazy. There's no reason, journalistically, for the story to have been killed. Obviously, there was some other reason--and I don't know what that is.”

Ken Auletta, who'd been covering Harvey Weinstein for a long time, offered his own opinion in an (unaired) interview with NBC itself: "This evidence is so overwhelming that if NBC News sits on it, that will be a scandal."

Correction: Based on the transcript of Maddow's questioning, I previously wrote that Maddow seemed to be a "worker bee" defending her employer. However, watching the video at Hot Air, she doesn't appear to be defending NBC. She seems to be asking the questions neutrally -- "NBC says this, what do you say?"

Same words, but she comes off more objective in the video.


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posted by Ace at 01:20 PM

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