Ronan Farrow used a visit to Fox News to call out the network for its [mis]handling of sexual harassment, point out the credible allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump and highlight modern-day attacks on a free press that may have included veiled references to Fox.
Was Farrow calling out Fox News tactics?
Early in the interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News @ Night, Farrow responded to an NBC executive who reportedly called him a terrorist. Farrow sounded like he was also sending a message to Fox News.
“We’re living in a moment where our political leaders also have sometimes used authoritarian rhetoric to try to describe the press as the ‘enemy of the people,’” Farrow said. It's an accusation Fox has endorsed. Farrow also said that his book is about more than what happened with NBC.
Farrow is a smart guy so I suspect he was aiming at Fox when he said his book is also about “threats to the free press” and “the ways in which powerful people can seek protection and a lack of accountability for alleged crimes through media organizations, sometimes, who assist in the suppression of stories.”
At least I’d like to think he knew about Fox News’ suppression of the Stormy Daniels hush money story (which it reportedly knew before the election) or Sean Hannity’s suppression of the Trump campaign’s meeting with Russians at Trump Tower or Hannity’s attempts to frame a murdered DNC staffer for the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks or the network's avoidance of E. Jean Carroll's report that Trump sexually assaulted her.
If host Shannon Bream had any inkling that Fox fit the bill, she didn’t let on. She agreed, “It’s a very frightening picture when you talk about the elite or the powerful somehow being able to scare or buy their way out of very serious allegations.”
“That’s exactly right,” Farrow said. Then he tossed a hand grenade at Trump.
Farrow highlighted allegations of sexual assault against Trump that have been suppressed
Farrow said, “Transparency and the free flow of information is at the heart of our basic rights and keeping our democracy free. And when you see powerful people subverting the press in the way Donald Trump did with the National Enquirer – a lot of the reporting in this book is about how the National Enquirer buried story after story for Donald Trump.”
Bream jumped in to defend the Fan in Chief. She thought it important to make clear that the stories the Enquirer buried about Trump involved “alleged consensual relationships,” unlike Harvey Weinstein’s or Matt Lauer’s which are at the heart of Farrow’s book.
Farrow pushed back. “Sure, but this is the first example of a reporter looking at the master list of all of the killed stories that the Enquirer had about Trump and on that list was, for instance, the Jill Harth allegation which is an allegation of non-consensual contact, of assault. So you know it’s important to know when we talk about Trump, there are those serious allegations in the mix as well.
Bream argued that Harth’s accusation and another one was “found to be unfounded.”
It was not clear in Farrow's next remarks which case was which. But he made it very clear that there are serious accusations of sexual assault against Trump that have not been disproved or discredited.
Not surprisingly, Bream quickly steered the discussion back to NBC, Weinstein and Lauer.
But Farrow was not so easily manipulated. He said his book documents how “alleged predators were kept in positions of power, and more people allegedly got hurt as a result, but also a broader set of corporate practices.”
Farrow called out Fox News
After receiving a letter from four women who settled lawsuits over their mistreatment at Fox, Farrow subsequently apologized for having praised Fox’s “great job” of handling sexual misconduct when he appeared on Special Report last week. He made up for it this time:
BREAM [interrupting] And important to note that we’ve had a massive change, obviously in leadership and internal policy and reporting in HR and everything that goes along with that.”
FARROW: For sure and we’re seeing, Shannon, some other companies resist that kind of change. It is important to note the change was real at Fox but there are multiple women who have gotten in touch with me to say, look, even after leadership changes there are still problems. That’s true at CBS that I reported on, it’s true at Fox, there is more work to be done. This is not just an NBC problem.
Bream said “there’s always more work to be done in corporations across America” but that her own experience has been that Fox has changed.
Before closing, she took a swipe at NBC which has resisted an outside investigation. “It’s good when we ask tough questions internally and externally. We had an external probe here I think that was very important and I think some others would [benefit].”
Watch Farrow speak truth to Fox below, from the October 24, 2019 Fox News @ Night.
Crossposted with permission from Newshounds.