Awkward: NBC reporter can’t tell MSNBC anchor why NBC didn’t want his Weinstein story

Awkward: NBC reporter can’t tell MSNBC anchor why NBC didn’t want his Weinstein story
Ronan Farrow, the reporter behind the explosive Harvey Weinstein story, said he brought NBC News a complete investigative report into Weinstein's sexual assault allegations months ago, but the network chose to pass on the story. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

What’s the story? 

Ronan Farrow, the reporter behind the explosive Harvey Weinstein story, told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow late Tuesday that even though he brought NBC News a complete investigative report into  Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations months ago, the network chose to pass on the story.

When Farrow was asked by Maddow why, as an NBC News contributor, he published his report with The New Yorker and not NBC News, Farrow simply responded, “You would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details of that story. I’m not going to comment on any news organization’s story that they did or didn’t run.”

What reason is NBC News giving for passing on the bombshell report?

“Ronan has had a non-exclusive relationship with NBC News for the last year. He brought NBC News early reporting [on Weinstein] that didn’t meet the standard to go forward with a story; it was nowhere close to what ultimately ran in The New York Times or The New Yorker — for example, at that time he didn’t have one accuser willing to go on the record or identify themselves,” NBC News said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

But Farrow pushed back on that claim Tuesday.

“I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosive reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that and it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable,” Farrow told Maddow.

As The Daily Beast points out, there are several sources inside and outside the network who concurred with Farrow’s account, acknowledging he had at least eight women who admitted they were assaulted by Weinstein who agreed to go on camera, albeit in silhouette form or other anonymous fashion. Sources also said by that point Farrow had already obtained the smoking gun: an audio file of Weinstein pressuring a young woman to leave with him and admitting that he had groped her in the past.

Why else would NBC have killed the story?

Obviously that is speculative, but Farrow mentioned a possibility Tuesday.

“I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so. And there are now reports emerging publicly about the kinds of pressure that news organizations face in this. And that is real,” he said.

“In the course of this reporting, I was threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein, and we’ve already seen that the Times has been publicly threatened with a suit,” Farrow added.

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