As his network accused former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow of spreading a “conspiracy theory” that NBC News executives downplayed a rape accusation against former Today star Matt Lauer, MSNBC host Chris Hayes took to the air Monday night to back his former colleague while expressing concern over how NBC handled Farrow’s initial reporting on Harvey Weinstein.
Noting how the NBA scrambled to tamp down any other criticism of the Chinese government following a single tweet from an executive showing support for Hong Kong protesters, the All In host proceeded to explain how the “path of least resistance” is rampant in the news lately. While viewers can see it with Republicans who don’t want to be confronted with President Trump’s bigotry, Hayes said, it isn’t just limited to them.
“In fact, the insidious destructive force of the path of least resistance is everywhere you look,” Hayes said. “Heck, I feel the tug of it myself as my own news organization is embroiled in a very public controversy over its conduct.”
The MSNBC host said Farrow suggests in his new book, Catch & Kill, that NBC higher-ups slow-walked and killed his reporting on Weinstein’s long history of alleged sexual harassment and assault to avoid Lauer’s own alleged sexual misconduct coming out.
Adding that the network “vigorously denies” those accusations, Hayes explained that while NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim has contended that the Weinstein story never aired on NBC because it lacked sufficient on-the-record sourcing, Farrow was able to quickly get it published after NBC passed on it.
“One thing, though, is indisputable,” Hayes declared. “Ronan Farrow walked out of NBC News while working on the Weinstein story and, within two months, published an incredible article at The New Yorker that not only won a Pulitzer but helped trigger a massive social and cultural 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,” he added.
After stating that there was a reason why Weinstein was able to keep his secrets locked away for so long, the MSNBC primetime star then circled back to his initial point about the “path of least resistance” causing roadblocks.
“Time and again the path of least resistance for those with power was not to cross Weinstein or his army of friends and lawyers,” he said. “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 concluded. “Beckoning seductively. ‘You’ve got bigger fish to fry.’ ‘This isn’t the hill to die on.’ ‘The story isn’t ready.’ But of course, 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.”