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NBC News chief defends network's handling of Weinstein story

NBC News chief defends network's handling of Weinstein story

According to The Huffington Post, NBC chose not to run with Ronan Farrow's reporting over "concerns related to the story's sourcing and cleared Farrow to take it to The New Yorker".

"By several accounts, at least eight women claiming to have been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted by Weinstein had agreed to go on camera - majority anonymously in shadow, but two alleged victims with their names and faces", according to the Beast. He rejected the idea that the story "wasn't ready to go" and alluded to the idea that NBC may have caved to pressure from the accused.

"The stunning story, the incredible story that we all read yesterday, was not the story that we were looking at when we made our judgment several months ago", NBC News Chief Noah Oppenheim told staff on Wednesday, according to sources. He told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that earlier this year, he had a woman who granted an on-camera interview about Weinstein's behavior.

The executive said Farrow asked if he could bring the story to a print outlet, presumably because sources might be more willing to cooperate if they did not have to go on camera. "He definitely never said a word about the New Yorker".

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The finished New Yorker story named multiple on-the-record accounts from accusers, and included damning audio of Weinstein from a 2015 police sting. He was sacked from the production company he helped create over the weekend and has admitted he needs to seek counseling, even as he has threatened to sue the New York Times and media companies allege huge pressure from him and his lawyers to kill the stories.

Farrow replied: "I walked into the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC". "We reached a point over the summer, where as an organization, we didn't feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it. Ronan very understandably wanted to keep forging ahead, so, we didn't want to stand in his way and he took it to the New Yorker and did a ton more extraordinary work. That is real. And in the course of this reporting, I was threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein". Anonymous sources said the same to the Daily Beast. When pressed for what those specific concerns were, those with knowledge of NBC's decision to kill the story claimed Farrow's piece was "nowhere close to what ultimately ran in the NY Times or The New Yorker".

The Washington Post published the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape that included then-candidate President Donald Trump talking about grabbing women without their permission on October 8. His show got the axe, but he still has a non-exclusive deal with NBC News.

So, given that at least two arms of the NBC machine have chose to ignore the Weinstein story it's worth asking: Is NBC afraid of the former movie mogul - as Farrow implies - or were they engaged in a pattern of protecting him until the story got to big? Some people who worked on that show say the producers are sitting on tapes that feature the president making racist and sexist remarks, but no such tapes have come to light.


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