Weinstein collateral damage: NBC News
As a news story, the Weinstein scandal has it all: sex, glamor, Hollywood, power, hypocrisy, possible crime, and lots of famous people and institutions compromised by their silence and worse. Oh yes, and connections to politics and presidents.
That's why it has legs.
And that's why there is going to be a lot of collateral damage among the progressives, both institutions and individuals.
Compared to the Clinton Oval Office scandal, this one will have few people defending the target and committed to diverting attention onto the accusers. Women's attitudes toward sexual harassment have justifiably toughened up. And there are many who passionately believe in the importance of speaking up. They do blame people who know about and fail to call out sexual exploitation in the workplace. And of course, there are damages to be litigated.
The latest progressive pillar to be called out is venerable NBC News.
The HuffPost, not Breitbart, broke the story that NBC let slip away the audio of Weinstein harassing a young model wearing a wire for the police.
Ronan Farrow's investigation into Harvey Weinstein's long history of alleged sexual misconduct was in NBC's hands as recently as August, according to multiple sources both inside and outside the network. By then, Farrow, an NBC contributor and investigative reporter, had already obtained damning audio of an encounter Weinstein had with a woman, in which Weinstein admits to having groped her, sources told HuffPost.
Instead, Farrow's story – and the audio, from a 2015 New York Police Department sting – appeared Tuesday on the website of The New Yorker. Sources told HuffPost that NBC had concerns related to the story's sourcing and cleared Farrow to take it to The New Yorker.
Not only from rivals, but even within the NBC-Comcast family came bewilderment at best. Rachel Maddow – MSNBC's sole major cable news star – asked Farrow about it on her show last night:
Rush transcript via Grabien:
MADDOW: "You said one woman spoke on camera in January. Why did you end up reporting this for the new Yorker and not the NBC News?"
FARROW: "You would have to ask the executives. I'm not going to comment. I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so. 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. We've already seen that the times has been publicly threatened. I don't want to describe any other lawsuits against other organizations I work with."
>> NBC says that you didn't – that – the story wasn't publishable. It wasn't ready to go by the time you brought it to them. Obviously it was ready to go when you gave it to the new Yorker.
>> I walked into the new Yorker with an explosive P that should have been reported.
>> Ronan farrow, I know parts of the story in terms the of the reporting side of it is not the easiest stuff to talk about it and I know you don't want to make yourself there center of the story.
>> That is important. These women came forward with up credibly scary allegations. This should not be a story about me or the wonderful work that
– Joey Kanter did. I hope people here the women's voices and focus on that.
Clarice Feldman remarked that just about every potential Dem candidate for president has some connection with Weinstein. The only question is whether anyone will remember in three years. My guess is that yes, some will.