Politics

Trump Rips ‘Fake NBC News’ Amid Weinstein Reporting Scandal

After the network targeted Ronan Farrow's reporting, POTUS weighed in, pointing out he's been a critic for quite a while

President Donald Trump slammed “NBC FAKE NEWS” Tuesday for “killing” Ronan Farrow’s exposé of multiple allegations of sexual assault by disgraced former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct,” Trump tweeted. “I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards — worse than even CNN. Look at their license?”

The New Yorker and The New York Times exposed the allegations of rape, assault and harassment against Weinstein in October 2017. The reporting led to the birth of the #MeToo campaign and the downfall of numerous powerful men stretching beyond the entertainment industry.

Farrow, the investigative reporter who left NBC and took the Weinstein story to The New Yorker, earned the publication a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018. Farrow left NBC News after somebody there killed his exposé in 2016.

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NBC News chairman Andy Lack came to the network’s defense with a 10-page memo he issued to NBC staffers Monday.

“We spent eight months pursuing the story but at the end of that time, NBC News — like many others before us – still did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record,” Lack wrote.

“So we had nothing yet fit to broadcast. But Farrow did not agree with that standard. That’s where we parted ways — agreeing to his request to take his reporting to a print outlet that he said was ready to move forward immediately.

“We regret the deterioration of NBC’s relationship with Ronan, and genuinely wish we had found a path to move forward together. That is why, in August of 2017, when Farrow objected to his editors’ conclusion, we convened an independent group of the most experienced investigative journalists in our organization to review his material with fresh eyes.”

Lack claimed that “it was Farrow’s decision, in the midst of this process, to pursue the story elsewhere. If some believe that decision a failure of our competitive instincts, so be it.”

Farrow issued a blistering response Monday night on Twitter, writing, “I’ve avoided commenting on the specifics of NBC’s role in the Weinstein story to keep the focus on the women and their allegations. But executives there have now produced a memo that contains numerous false or misleading statements, so I’ll say briefly: their list of sources is incomplete and omits women who were either identified in the NBC story or offered to be.”

“The suggestion to take the story to another outlet was first raised by NBC, not me, and I took them up on it only after it became clear that I was being blocked from further reporting,” Farrow added. “The story was twice cleared and deemed ‘reportable’ by legal and standards only to be blocked by executives who refused to allow us to seek comment from Harvey Weinstein.”

Although Farrow said that he “loved my time at NBC,” he insisted that the “talented, dedicated journalists, many of whom have reached out to me in frustration” from NBC “are owed an honest accounting of what happened.”

Related: Weinstein, Charged with Rape, Smiles and Smirks in Handcuffs

Even NBC News host Megyn Kelly called for an outside investigation into her own network Tuesday on “Megyn Kelly Today.”

“There is the question about whether there should be an outside investigator to take a hard look at this,” Kelly said, “between the investigation NBC did internally on Matt Lauer, to now this.”

Lauer, a former anchor for NBC News’ “Today” show, was ousted from the network in November 2017 after multiple women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

“There’s the question of the faith and confidence of the public in the reporting of NBC on matters involving itself,” Kelly said. “For me, as a lawyer, it’s always better if you just send it outside. And then people can have more faith in it.”

(photo credit, article image: Shutterstock / Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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