Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

NBC Passed on Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein Reporting

NBC Passed on Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein Reporting

Despite months of reporting, NBC declined to move ahead with reporter Ronan Farrow's blockbuster story involving harassment and rape allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. It included a recording of Weinstein admitting he had groped a woman without her permission, obtained in a police sting operation. Yet when Maddow mentioned NBC's belief that the story wasn't "publishable", Farrow fought back.

Weinstein has denied many - though not all - of the allegations, including all accusations of sexual assault. In The New Yorker story, several women spoke on the record about their encounters with Weinstein.

And NBC is being criticized as one of those companies who caved to the pressure. Speaking to a videographer for The Daily Mail who noted that the show had made no mention of Mr. Weinstein, Mr. Michaels said, "It's a NY thing". Farrow is expected to discuss his story Tuesday evening on NBC's "NBC Nightly News", according to a person familiar with the matter.

So, given that at least two arms of the NBC machine have chose to ignore the Weinstein story it's worth asking: Is NBC afraid of the former movie mogul - as Farrow implies - or were they engaged in a pattern of protecting him until the story got to big? "I will say that, over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so". "But obviously it was ready to go by the time you got it to the New Yorker".

Farrow eventually took the story to The New Yorker magazine, which published the explosive story earlier this week. "In fact, there were multiple determinations at NBC that it was reportable", Farrow continued. Weinstein personally threatened to sue him while he was working on the report, Farrow said, adding that his story was clearly "reportable" when NBC had it. Anonymous sources said the same to the Daily Beast.

Although Farrow's background and connections to Hollywood figures may have been an advantage in reporting the story, some NBC News executives were concerned about his personal involvement in another story involving sexual misconduct by a Hollywood figure - namely, Woody Allen.

What's more, there was some concern within NBC News about whether Farrow's involvement in the story created a conflict of interest. For NBC, the swirling media controversy was immediately reminiscent of another missed opportunity for its news division - the internal leak of its infamous Access Hollywood Donald Trump tape to the Washington Post nearly exactly one year ago. But they were not the first media outlet that had access to the NBC-owned Access Hollywood tape.

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