The press has long been considered the watchdog for the rest of the industrial world, and as movies like "Spotlight" and the Washington Post’s newly-minted slogan “democracy dies in darkness” would suggest, it doesn’t hesitate to flaunt this responsibility.
The recent news surrounding Harvey Weinstein, though, reveals that the media isn’t always timely in its investigative work, especially when the person at the center of a high-profile story is an acquaintance of those tasked with breaking it.
Ronan Farrow’s exposé of the media mogul was first reported by The New Yorker last week, but it never should have made it there. Farrow had been working on the story for 10 months at NBC News but was told repeatedly that his report was not ready for print, despite the firsthand accounts by 13 women who had been harassed or abused by Weinstein. NBC News Chief Noah Oppenheim stood by the organization’s decision to hold off on the story at an employee meeting last week, stating: “The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive for all of us.”
However, the authenticity of Oppenheim’s remarks seems questionable considering Weinstein’s attorneys had previously reached out to NBC about the allegations on at least one occasion. Coupled with the fact that last year NBC also withheld the tape of Donald Trump’s “grab 'em by the p---y” remarks during a 2005 appearance on the Billy Bush show, Oppenheim’s defense is unconvincing at best.
Farrow contradicted Oppenheim’s efforts to save face, claiming in an interview last week, “There were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”