First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton walks with Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and is followed by actress Gwyneth Paltrow into the premier of her new movie “Shakespeare in Love,” in New York Thursday Dec. 3, 1998. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
For my lede on this I’m going to quote Ben Domenech in today’s edition of The Transom (subscription based but well worth it):
It was interesting how various news channels responded to the Harvey Weinstein story yesterday. CNN went wall-to-wall on it – it was the top story at nearly every hour, playing the audio they have now thanks to The New Yorker report. Fox was running the story on the ticker and touching on it regularly, but it wasn’t wall-to-wall with red siren coverage. But it was readily apparent that NBC doesn’t want to touch the story. First there was the SNL thing, with Lorne Michaels’ ludicrous “it’s a New York thing” excuse for not mocking the mogul. But on MSNBC yesterday there was a distinct lack of attention to it, leading the hour with talking about Trump’s Bob Corker tweets and their feud all day, even narrating over an empty White House podium about it. As Jake Tapper noted: It’s very odd that NBC reporter Ronan Farrow would write this for The New Yorker instead of NBC.
Last night, Farrow was interviewed by Rachel Maddow and she asked him why he had to run the story in The New Yorker and not on NBC:
Why did you end up publishing this story for The New Yorker and not for NBC News?
Look, you would have to ask NBC and NBC executives.
As a matter of disclosure, I don’t have a lot of interest in this whole episode beyond making it as unpleasant as possible for everyone vaguely associated with Weinstein…which has the virtue of making things miserable for progressive and communist Democrats. I don’t really watch movies and I don’t watch any movie that tries to raise my consciousness or preach at me. But Hollywood has tried to remake itself into some kind of bastion of social morality. Why else would we get actors and actresses testifying before Congress on subjects they know jack sh** about simply because they played a role in a movie.
Three movie stars who played distressed farm wives offered sometimes tearful testimony to congressional Democrats today about the emotional toll being exacted by America’s agriculture crisis.
“It is heartbreaking to witness their anguish as they watch their lives being stripped away,” Jessica Lange, who starred in the film “Country,” said through tears as she spoke to a dozen Democratic congressmen on the party’s House farm task force.
Lange was joined by Sissy Spacek, who produced and starred in “The River,” and Jane Fonda, who developed and played the title role in the television film “The Dollmaker.” Both films were about stresses facing farm families.
So watching them hoisted by their own petard and being forced to live to their own publicly professed standards is enjoyable from where I sit.
The Weinstein story is making it abundantly clear that if there was no widespread conspiracy to cover for the man, there were a crapload of people so scared of what he could do to their careers and business interests that they meekly looked the other way. This includes some of the women who are the major complainants today. And the silence persists. Jennifer Lawrence was mentored by Weinstein and she claims to be gobsmacked by the allegations. Designer Donna Karan mused that the women might have been “asking for it.” (In Karan’s defense, I’ve no doubt that there are a non-trivial number of women–and men–who would trade sex for a movie role and not blink an eye.)
Of course, the larger question here is why NBC refused to run with a blockbuster story on which they had first dibs because one of their reporters was breaking it and then why, once the story broke, they have ignored it. The answer, unfortunately, is that a lot of news decisions are made based on political considerations not on journalistic principles. Let’s not forget that it was Newsweek that did the legwork to break the Monica Lewinsky story but spiked it, it took a leak to Matt Drudge to make it happen.