October 15, 2019

Chris Hayes took a few minutes out of his show to address Ronan Farrow's accusations that MSNBC intentionally killed his story about Harvey Weinstein and NBC News covered up Matt Lauer's egregious behavior while at the Today Show.

In so doing, Hayes is nipping at the hands that feed him. The thing that should happen is the removal of NBC News' Noah Oppenheim and MSNBC's Andrew Lack, at a minimum. Let's hope standing up for the truth doesn't cause Chris Hayes some pain but instead lands on the shoulders of those who most need to hear it.

After noting that the NBA has shut down any criticism of China for fear of offending them, Hayes said, "This kind of shying away from confrontation, choosing the path of least resistance, quite familiar in the news because it's what so many Republican members of Congress do every day, when confronted with the bile, bigotry, rank corruption and abuse of power by the man who is head of their party. But it is not limited to them."

"In fact, the insidious destructive force of the path of least resistance is everywhere you look," he continued. "I feel the tug of it myself as my own news organization is embroiled in a very public controversy over its conduct."

You can read more about that conduct here, and NBC President Noah Oppenheim's furious response here.

Noah Oppenheim has a woman problem reaching all the way back to his days at Harvard, where he wrote screeds like this for the Harvard Crimson:

“Many women argue that the clubs are objectionable because of their demeaning treatment of female guests—particularly the restriction of movement and the sexually aggressive atmosphere,” he wrote. “Women who fell [sic] threatened by the clubs’ environments should seek tamer pastures.”

“However,” Oppenheim concluded, “apparently women enjoy being confined, pumped full of alcohol and preyed upon. They feel desired, not demeaned.”

That was written in 1998, not 1948, and was specifically dealing with fraternity rush parties.

But when confronted with the reality that the story which Ronan Farrow won the Pulitzer for was squelched by NBC News, Oppenheim claimed in a memo to employees that "Farrow’s effort to defame NBC News is clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind."

Let's see what they do with Chris Hayes' criticisms of their decision to look the other way on the Harvey Weinstein story and also with Matt Lauer's.

Hayes, said this about Farrow's book:

Since Farrow's departure two years ago, the Weinstein story was never broadcast because it lacked sufficient on the record sourcing even after NBC supported Farrow's assignment for seven months.

One thing, though, is indisputable. Ronan Farrow walked out and within two months published an incredible article that not only won a Pulitzer but help aid a social reckoning that continues to this day. It's the kind of journalism that you want to do as a journalist, that everyone who works in this business should want to facilitate.

Of course there's a reason it took so long for the true story about Weinstein to be told, many allegations to stay locked in a vault. Time and again the path of least resistance for those of power was not to cross Weinstein or his army of friends and lawyers. Same goes for the many, many, many other powerful predators we've come to know about.

"The path of least resistance is always there," Hayes observed. "Beckoning seductively, with an entirely plausible cover story, you've got bigger fish to fry. This isn't the hill to die on. The story isn't ready."

"It's the very ease of that path that makes it the enemy to the kind of work we, as journalists, are supposed to do," he concluded.

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