Variety and The Huffington Post are reporting that NBC News passed on Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual exploitation of women. NBC declined to comment on the record as to why it would let this scoop slip away. Unnamed sources said the story Farrow brought to NBC was underbaked. On Tuesday night's The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Farrow objected to that spin.
Maddow demonstrated some independence by asking Farrow about this internal matter, as transcribed by MRC's Curtis Houck:
RACHEL MADDOW: So, Ronan, you just said that one of these women spoke on camera back in January. Why did you end up reporting this story for The New Yorker and not for NBC News
RONAN FARROW: Look, you would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details of that story. I'm not going to comment on any news organization's story that they, you know, 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. In the course of this reporting, I was threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein and, you know, we've already seen that The Times has been publicly threatened with a suit. I don't want to describe any suits leveled at other organizations that I work with, but, you know, certainly this is a considerable amount of pressure that outlets get as well.
MADDOW: And NBC says that, you know, you didn't — that the story wasn't publishable, that it wasn't ready to go by the time that you brought it to them, but obviously it was ready to go by the time you got it to The New Yorker.
FARROW: 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.
Journalist Lynn Hirshberg told HuffPost that Farrow asked for help on the story. She said this wasn't about the quality of the reporting: "It's really a question about NBC's courage."
One obvious question is whether Farrow is "too close" to the Hollywood sex-abuse story, considering charges his sister Dylan made against their famous father, Woody Allen.