When they say All In with Chris Hayes, they really mean it. This monologue from MSNBC’s host at the end of his program last night took a lot of guts, and it might end up as a valediction. While NBC News management has gone all in with its pushback against former employee Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill as a “smear,” Hayes asks the obvious question, and provides the obvious answer. If Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein was as poor as NBC News wants us to believe now, how did it hit the mark so well just a few weeks after he took it to the New Yorker? And more to the point, why didn’t NBC News want to help Farrow develop his Pulitzer Prize reporting?
Because, Hayes tells his MSNBC audience, NBC News had “a conspiracy of silence” regarding sexual misconduct at its highest ranks, and apparently still does (via Twitchy):
“It’s the kind of journalism that you want to do as a journalist,” Hayes declares, “that everyone who works in this business should want to facilitate.” So why didn’t NBC News choose to facilitate it? Why did it choose to spike the story rather than help Farrow develop it? I asked this question after Andrew Lack’s heated denials of Farrow’s reporting last week, too. That sequence of events that forced Farrow to take his blockbuster reporting outside of NBC has no good explanation — except, as Hayes maintains here, as part of a conspiracy of silence.
Hayes takes shots at the NBA and Republicans who cover for Donald Trump too, but that’s just a pretext for his cruise missile at NBC News. Business Insider calls this a none-too-subtle shot at his own network, but Hayes explicitly aimed this segment at his own corporate headquarters, especially in his final comments about the path of least resistance and real journalism:
Hayes then not-so-subtly called out NBC itself, saying, “the path of least resistance is always there, beckoning seductively with an entirely plausible cover story. You’ve got bigger fish to fry, this isn’t the hill to die on, the story isn’t ready. But of course, it’s the very ease of that path that makes it the enemy of the very work that we as journalists are trying to do.”
That might be letting NBC News execs off lightly. The least-resistance explanation made some sense if the only issue was Big Harv’s economic, legal, and political clout. With Matt Lauer and other NBC News execs at risk of being exposed, assuming Farrow’s reporting on Lack and Noah Oppenheim are correct, it wasn’t the path of least resistance that they took but full resistance.
So what will happen to Hayes? NBC News probably won’t burn him immediately, but you can bet they’re not going to stand idly by while one of their own featured hosts calls their management liars on NBC News’ own air at MSNBC. If Lack and Oppenheim manage to survive Catch and Kill, you can bet Hayes won’t.