Source to CNN: NBC basically told Ronan Farrow to stop working on the Harvey Weinstein story
Any “Johnny Dangerously” fans out there? Farrow’s ordeal in trying to get NBC to bite on a bombshell about one of the most formidable scumbags in Hollywood reminds of the scene where Johnny’s brother goes to his boss, the crooked D.A., saying that he’s got the goods on the elusive mobster Dangerously. “Notarized depositions! Tire prints! Blood samples! I’ve got eyewitness accounts! Murder weapons! Fingerprints!”
“Hold it, kid, hold it,” says the D.A., who’s on the take from Johnny, of course. “It’s … flimsy. It’s not enough. It’ll never hold up, not in a court of law.”
How many more women were harassed, groped, assaulted, and/or raped by Weinstein between the time Farrow was first turned away by NBC this summer, seemingly with more than enough evidence to justify an initial news report about the producer, and the time his story finally ran in the New Yorker?
“Ronan was basically told to stop working on this,” according to a source, who called the network’s decision “indefensible.”…
One account describes a “stand down order” that stymied Farrow and left staffers wondering why executives were trying to avoid breaking a big story…
“I don’t know how you can defend sitting on an audio tape for months,” said a source who remains troubled by the NBC News decision…
The prevailing view inside The New Yorker is that NBC made a questionable decision, and that it’s “their loss, The New Yorker’s gain,” as one veteran journalist said.
“They were scared. It’s as simple as that,” the person added.
NBC’s version of what happened is that Farrow worked on the story for months but never quite piled up enough evidence to make it publishable. Somehow, after just a few more months of working on it, it was an explosive expose in the New Yorker. He had, per one account, no fewer than eight women willing to do on-camera interviews — some, but not all, in silhouette — plus another willing to go on the record when he first approached NBC about running it. More importantly he had the NYPD audio of Weinstein that’s been circulating, in which Weinstein appears to tell one victim “I’m used to that” when she complains about him having groped her. Watch below as Jake Tapper marvels to Farrow that “it seems like a real lie” by NBC that there wasn’t enough evidence to justify running the story when he initially approached them.
It’s flimsy, kid. It’ll never hold up.
Farrow obviously had *something* of interest when he discussed this with NBC this past summer. It defies belief to think that accusers only started talking to him within the past few months, after he’d brought the story over to the New Yorker. If he had promising leads earlier this year that pointed to a mega-bombshell about Weinstein in the making, why didn’t NBC try to lock him down by paying him something to keep going and giving him, say, until the end of the year to report it out? Why let a scoop for the ages about Hollywood slip away to another outlet when Farrow could have delivered it to them last week?
And why, as some of CNN’s sources are wondering, hasn’t NBC aired the on-camera interviews with Weinstein’s victims that Farrow did now that the story is out there?
I wonder, by the way, why Farrow ended up shopping this to a print magazine rather than a TV news outlet. The “innocent” explanation for that would be that a story like this needed to be told at length, in print. But that’s stupid: A Weinstein expose could have been featured on its own hourlong program on NBC or MSNBC, or even multiple episodes of the same program, like “Dateline.” Another semi-innocent explanation would be that Farrow’s status as an NBC contributor precluded him from shopping it to one of NBC’s television competitors, although it’s gross to think of the network bottling up a story like this for business reasons if, say, ABC or CBS had showed some balls and offered to run it. The not so innocent explanation would be that Farrow was free to bring the story to any outlet he liked … and, possibly, no other TV network wanted to touch it either. Big Harv has too many friends in the industry, even now. He had to go to print, where Weinstein’s influence isn’t as acute.
Here’s his interview with Tapper. Farrow refuses to get into details of how his scoop ended up at the New Yorker rather than NBC, not wanting to redirect the focus of the coverage away from Weinstein and his victims. I dunno, though — the whole point of the story is that the conspiracy of silence protecting Weinstein extended much further than anyone could have imagined. If NBC’s part of that conspiracy to some degree, that’s a big part of the story.