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NBC Spiked Harvey Weinstein Story Despite Passing Network’s Fact-Checking, Legal Hurdles (Report)

The Wrap Thursday, 12 October 2017 ()
NBC Spiked Harvey Weinstein Story Despite Passing Network’s Fact-Checking, Legal Hurdles (Report)NBC News spiked Ronan Farrow’s explosive story about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct despite the fact that his reporting passed the network’s fact-checking and legal hurdles, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday evening.

The piece, co-authored by freelancer Yashar Ali and HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen, quoted 12 sources “with direct knowledge of the reporting behind Farrow’s story” all of whom were only willing to speak anonymously.

According to Ali and Polgreen, Farrow was ordered to abandon the project, paid camera crews out of his own pocket and ultimately won permission to take it to another outlet — which is how The New Yorker wound up publishing his incendiary story on Tuesday.

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While the HuffPost piece avoids making any specific accusations about NBC’s motivation, Ali and Polgreen ultimately conclude that “it became difficult to tell where the Weinstein team’s attempts to discredit the story left off and NBC News’ editorial forbearance began.”

Representatives for NBC News did not immediately respond to email’s from The Wrap.

The new reporting backs up Farrow’s account — first offered on the Rachel Maddow show Tuesday — that his original story had repeatedly been found “reportable” by NBC before it was dropped, meaning that it met the network’s fact-checking and legal standards.

“I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier and immediately, obviously The New Yorker recognized that,” Farrow told the MSNBC host. “And it is not accurate to say it was not reportable and there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”

During a Wednesday company town hall, NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim directly refuted Farrow and reiterated the company line that the story was not “reportable” — a determination that seems increasingly tenuous after Ali and Polgreen’s reporting.

“We reached a point over the summer, where as an organization, we didn’t feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it,” Oppenheim said. “Ronan very understandably wanted to keep forging ahead, so, we didn’t want to stand in his way and he took it to the New Yorker and did a ton more extraordinary work.”

*Related stories from TheWrap:*

Harvey Weinstein Scandal: 9 Things We Still Don't Know

New Yorker Editor Defends Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein Story That NBC Rejected

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Harvey Weinstein Says He's 'Profoundly Devastated' That His Wife Is Leaving Him
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