A former NBC producer who worked at the network’s news investigation unit spilled the beans on how the network hindered Ronan Farrow’s investigation of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
According to former NBC News producer Rich McHugh, Farrow’s investigation into sexual assault and rape allegations made against Weinstein was stymied from “the very highest levels of NBC.”
McHugh told the New York Times that NBC’s actions were “a massive breach of journalistic integrity.”
“Three days before Ronan and I were going to head to L.A. to interview a woman with a credible rape allegation against Harvey Weinstein, I was ordered to stop, not to interview this woman,” McHugh said. “And to stand down on the story altogether.”
“Those orders came to me from the highest levels of NBC. That was unethical, and a massive breach of journalistic integrity,” he added.
He understood that direction as “killing the Harvey Weinstein story,” but failed to name the executives who had given the order.
McHugh also spoke about Weinstein putting the heat on the network.
“I knew that Weinstein was calling NBC executives directly,” he said. “One time it even happened when we were in the room.”
Farrow would leave NBC, with the New Yorker then publishing the bombshell story that exposed Weinstein as the sexual predator he is — a report that won a Pulitzer.
Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, denied the allegation.
“He was never told to stop in the way he’s implying,” Oppenheim told the newspaper.
Ironically, the NBC chief cited the lack of on-the-record, on-camera interviews with sources making the allegations.
“We repeatedly made clear to Ronan and Rich McHugh the standard for publication is we needed at least one credible on-the-record victim or witness of misconduct,” Oppenheim said. “And we never met that threshold while Ronan was reporting for us.”
Chris Francescani, who also worked on NBC’s investigative unit in 2016 took to social media in response the The Time’s story to say NBC News is not telling the truth.
I worked in the @NBCNews Investigative Unit in the fall of 2016. @RichMcHughNBC and @RonanFarrow are telling the truth. @NBCNews executives are not,” he tweeted.
I worked in the @NBCNews Investigative Unit in the fall of 2016. @RichMcHughNBC and @RonanFarrow are telling the truth. @NBCNews executives are not. Ronan Farrow’s Ex-Producer Says NBC Impeded Weinstein Reporting https://t.co/WgtDHeMOzJ
— Chris Francescani (@CDFrancescani) August 31, 2018
Farrow is quoted in The Times article saying that he does not believe that NBC “told the truth” about how the matter was handled.
As for Oppenheim’s claim that they needed “on-the-record” sources, how does he explain the derogatory stories about President Donald Trump that use anonymous sources said to be “close to the administration.”
Falling back on the “enemy of the people” narrative, the president ripped the media in a series of tweets on Thursday, calling them out for using anonymous sources — NBC “being the worst,” Trump said of his criticism.
“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!” he tweeted.
This is not the first time Trump has slammed NBC News, hitting the network in May after it corrected a story that the feds had wiretapped the phone lines of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
NBC News attributed its reporting to two anonymous sources with knowledge of legal proceedings against Cohen.
“NBC NEWS is wrong again! They cite ‘sources’ which are constantly wrong. Problem is, like so many others, the sources probably don’t exist, they are fabricated, fiction! NBC, my former home with the Apprentice, is now as bad as Fake News CNN. Sad!” the president tweeted.
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