Ronan Farrow wins a Pulitzer Prize after NBC News executives Noah Oppenheim and Andy Lack spiked his reporting on Harvey Weinstein. (Tolga TEZCAN)
NBC News was humiliated on Monday when Ronan Farrow won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for a story that the network mysteriously decided not to run – letting the New Yorker claim an award that could have gone to the Peacock Network.
Pulitzer Administrator Dana Canedy announced at Columbia University that Farrow’s expose in the prestigious New Yorker on now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein shared American’s most glamourous journalism prize when it split the public service award with the New York Times.
Canedy called Farrow’s work “explosive, impactful journalism” that exposed powerful sexual predators and launched the #MeToo movement. Farrow’s reporting helped expose Weinstein as a sexual predator, though the truth about the disgraced Hollywood mogul could have surfaced months earlier if it hadn’t been spiked by embattled NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and his boss, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack.
NBC claimed that Farrow’s story as they’d seen it did not meet their editorial standards. After the Peacock Network passed, The New Yorker jumped at the opportunity to publish Farrow's work and was rewarded with the Pulitzer Prize.
In various media appearances to promote his Weinstein reporting, Farrow took a series of jabs at NBC News for refusing to air his Weinstein reporting, implying that Lack and Oppenheim had maintained a “veil of silence.”
Farrow bluntly rebutted NBC’s contention that his reporting was not up to snuff in an appearance on MSNBC the day his New Yorker piece was published.
Last year, HuffPost reported that “NBC tried to put a stop” to an interview with a woman accusing Weinstein of rape so Farrow “wound up paying out of his own pocket for a camera crew to film an interview.”
Ronan Farrow took his reporting to the New Yorker after NBC News passed.
Farrow has since left NBC for HBO, where he will produce documentaries. HBO has long considered the gold standard in that department.
Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen, also published a still photo from an interview he conducted with actress and Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan that never aired on NBC.
“Farrow knew he could not count on support from NBC News,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote earlier this year. “Multiple sources tell THR that Farrow was told to stand down, though NBC has strongly disputed this and executives have stressed that Farrow did not have one accuser willing to be identified at the time.”
NBC’s critics have pointed out that Oppenheim, the news president, moonlights as a Hollywood screenwriter and had a conflict of interest in passing judgment over Weinstein, long the premier producer of “prestige” Hollywood films. Oppenheim had also sat at a small table with Weinstein at the exclusive “Time 100” dinner in New York last April, when Farrow’s investigation was well underway.
As all this is going on, Lack and Oppenheim have still not explained why they sat on another one of the biggest stories of the decade: the “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women. The tape of Trump caught on a hot mic was leaked from within NBC to The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold, who is Oppenheim's friend from Harvard, where they worked as editors together on the student newspaper. Fahrenthold is now a contributor for NBC News.
NBC continues to struggle with issues pertaining to sexual harassment and misconduct, as parent company Comcast says it is conducting an investigation to determine who knew about now-disgraced former “Today” co-host Matt Lauer’s sexual misbehavior and when they knew it. However, Lauer was ousted nearly five months ago and the network has not provided any transparency on its findings. Some insiders don’t even believe there is an actual investigation taking place.
NBC has not responded to multiple requests for an update.
Observers have recently pondered whether NBC executives’ reluctance to expose other big stars’ bad behavior -- via the "Access Hollywood' tape or Farrow's investigation -- is linked to what Vanity Fair once called a “glass houses” problem.
NBC and parent company NBCUniversal did not respond to a request for comment regarding Farrow’s win and whether or not the network has investigated why the story was spiked.
The Pulitzer Prizes recognize the best journalism of 2017 in newspapers, magazines and websites with 14 categories with another seven prizes for arts and music. The awards started back in 1917.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.