Journalist and author Ronan Farrow responded Thursday night to reports that an NBC executive called him a “terrorist” and he defended his reporting about media corruption and abuse of power his new book, “Catch and Kill.”
Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his explosive report exposing Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults, told "Fox News @ Night" host Shannon Bream that what the anonymous executive said about him is no different than what some political leaders have said about members of the press.
“When you hear rhetoric like journalists being called terrorists, 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.
The former NBC reporter described his book as “extremely fair” to his former employer, as well other media companies discussed in the book, such as AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer.
“This book itself is an example of precise, fact-checked journalism. It’s two years of investigative reporting. One of the senior fact-checkers at The New Yorker combed through every sentence,” Farrow said.
Farrow won the Pulitzer in 2018 for his report for The New Yorker exposing sexual misconduct allegations made by multiple women against disgraced film producer Weinstein, after he said NBC refused to air his initial findings of Weinstein in 2016. His New Yorker piece helped to ignite the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and other industries.
“We witnessed a shutdown of the story. We had multiple named women in every draft of this story; an audio recording of Harvey Weinstein from a police sting operation admitting to not just one sexual assault, but a pattern of them.”
Farrow said that news organizations and other companies burying reports of sexual misconduct and assault or abuse of power are “fundamental threats to the free flow of information.”
He described a scene in his book where he claims the powers that be at NBC pushed back against having an internal investigation regarding sexual misconduct and cover-ups, to the dismay of some journalists at the company.
NBC News President Noah Oppenheim wrote that Farrow's reporting fell far short of proving that NBC News had tried to conceal anything.
“At a certain point, the general counsel, Kim Harris, gets fed up and says, if the press would just stop talking about this, the problem will go away. And a journalist in the room says, we are the press,” Farrow said.
“Journalists are the hero of this story. We need a free press,” he added. “Yes, it is incredibly admirable that people like Chris Hayes have gotten on-air and said, look, if there is a pattern of secrets at this company and people are maybe getting hurt as a result and coverage is getting distorted as a result, that's a significant problem to look at.”