‘Something Is Wrong at NBC’

By Chris Ariens 

A year ago, Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Megyn Kelly, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd all stood on the stage of Radio City Music Hall pitching the bold reporting and leadership position of NBC News to thousands of advertisers at the NBCU upfront. In a couple hours, the stars of NBCU will be back on that stage for the 2018 upfront. But for NBC News, what a difference a year makes. Here are three new stories following last week’s announcement of the results of an internal investigation into Matt Lauer.

  • Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan says it’s a leadership problem: “Something is wrong at NBC, and by the traditional standard that the person at the top sets the tone and bears ultimate responsibility, it’s hard to absolve NBC Chairman Andy Lack…. To critics it would seem that network leadership isn’t taking that seriously enough, believing perhaps that the public is mostly unaware, and that advertisers don’t mind.”
  • New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow may be ready to open up about his departure last year. The best-selling author is about to write a new book called Catch & Kill. Farrow told CNN’s Brian Stelter: “It’s been important to me to keep the spotlight focused on the survivors of sexual violence who risked so much to speak to me and other reporters whose work I admire. I’ve also always said that the questions about the behind-the-scenes mechanics that suppressed these revelations are legitimate — and that, when enough time had passed, and once I had marshaled the evidence needed to tell this story, I would find a way to do so. ‘Catch and Kill’ is that story.”
  • The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani writes about the results of the 5-month internal investigation: “[N]ews staffers are allegedly demanding answers on why network leadership didn’t hire outside investigators, instead of NBC officials, to conduct the inquiry. According to the insiders, that arrangement smacked of self-dealing; and many women at NBC viewed the report and Lack’s memo to the staff as an attempt to whitewash and clear the largely male news division leadership of missteps or wrongdoing.”