NBC News chairman Andy Lack responded Monday to accusations included in a damaging report published last week by The Daily Beast, which claims the network “threatened” former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow if he continued to report on Harvey Weinstein, and suggests that NBC News President Noah Oppenheim had ulterior motives for suppressing Farrow’s story. But Lack’s attempt to set the record straight has resulted in yet more accusations of “false” and “misleading” statements by the reporter at the center of the controversy.
In a memo issued to NBC employees Monday (full text below), Lack said that in this “unusual situation for a news division,” he felt it necessary to “lay out all the facts dispassionately and in necessary detail – from start to finish.” After complaining about other news outlets reporting on NBC’s handling of the story, Lack presented his version of events. Lack said that Farrow’s reporting did not meet the network’s journalistic standards because he “did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record.” When he finally published the story with The New Yorker, Lack claims, Farrow cited seven victims who were not included in his report when he was at NBC
In an op-ed published on Monday, NBC’s political director, Chuck Todd, issued a fiery denunciation of both President Donald Trump’s administration and Fox News.
Both, according to Todd, tried to delegitimize the media as part of a broader assault on the press that started with former President Richard Nixon.
Todd alleged that Nixon encouraged his “angry foot soldiers,” like former Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, to continue attacking the media after he left office.
“The president faces little penalty with his voters, no matter how disparagingly he talks about the press corps; it’s precisely what Ailes conditioned them to believe,” he added.
Todd proposed that journalists start “fighting back” rather than letting their work speak for itself.