NBC is dealing with severe accusations that its information division turned down a significant story over strain from top-level executives… once more.
That story, in fact, was MSNBC contributor Ronan Farrow’s exposé on Harvey Weinstein, which wasn’t revealed by MSNBC, however by The New Yorker. And particulars began to emerge on Wednesday as to why. They are not fairly.
Each The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast reported that NBC sought to kill the story. Farrow reportedly spent months engaged on it, and had a lot of essential parts already locked down—together with an audio recording of Weinstein admitting to groping an actress. NBC claimed it wasn’t sufficient.
And perhaps you may keep in mind that over a yr in the past, NBC confronted an analogous scenario—when The Washington Post revealed a tape by which Donald Trump was recorded bragging about groping ladies. The tape got here from the present “Entry Hollywood,” which in fact, is made by NBC.
Who had the tape. And was engaged on a narrative. However very slowly.
“NBC doesn’t look good right here, and no quantity of finessing will make it look any prettier,” wrote Politico’s Jack Shafer after the Trump tape leaked.
Numerous studies got here to comparable conclusions concerning the Trump tape. NBC’s sheer size mixed with cautious lawyers and normal slowness gave the Put up the possibility to get the news. And so they did. NBC responded shortly with its own story, about 10 minutes later.
It was, as Shafer famous, considerably comprehensible.
This time round, NBC arguably seems to be a lot worse—not only for letting the story go, however for its response afteward. As famous by the Huffington Put up, not solely did NBC let the story go—it then proceeded to barely acknowledge its existence whereas each different media outlet jumped on the huge scandal.
Farrow, showing on Rachel Maddow’s present on MSNBC, at first dodged a query about why NBC did not publish the story. To Maddow’s credit score, she adopted up by citing the assertion from NBC that the story was not reportable.
Farrow wasn’t having that.
“I walked into the door on the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that ought to have been public earlier. And instantly, clearly the New Yorker acknowledged that, and it’s not correct to say that it was not reportable. In actual fact, there have been a number of determinations that it was reportable at NBC,” he stated.
There’s not a lot NBC can do aside from provide its “it wasn’t ok” reasoning. Even when that have been fully true, and better ups at NBC did not do something to actively cease the story, the truth’s nonetheless there: the corporate’s information division let one of many largest tales in leisure stroll out its door. That type of incompetence alone can simply get folks fired.
Much more unlucky for NBC is that this seems to be much less like incompetence, and extra like a information division that is not fully in command of what it may and might’t publish. On the very least, NBC Information’ dedication to telling tough tales is doubtful—notably these in an leisure trade that its guardian firm, Comcast, is firmly entrenched.
This is identical Comcast whose CEO Brian Roberts referred to as NBC Information a “crown jewel” not lengthy after shopping for up NBCUniversal.
NBC Information remains to be full of high-quality journalists. It broke the story that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to as Trump a “moron.” There is a laundry checklist of people who find themselves held within the highest regard: Katy Tur, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Richard Engel, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and lots of extra.
Their expertise and judgement aren’t what’s being questioned. The lingering doubt, right here, is whether or not the journalists at NBC Information can do their job figuring out that they’ve the total assist of their editors (and particularly, the executives they report back to). It is a lofty best to which journalism is held, however even this doubt clouds a information group and its work.
For NBC Information, this cloud’s massive, darkish, and may very well be tough to get out from below.