After My Meeting With Matt Lauer, Ronan Farrow Ducking an Interview is Very Telling
A week ago, I met with former NBC News anchor Matt Lauer for about six hours to do an unorthodox, off-the-record interview with him, the first extensive exchange he has done with a member of the media since his sudden firing in late 2017, and the release of Ronan Farrow’s new book accusing him of sexual assault. If you count our many interactions on the phone, I have now easily engaged in about 9-10 hours of conversation with Lauer regarding the issues related to this story.
In short, regardless of what you want to believe about Lauer’s side of this saga, there is no question that I am in possession of information and a perspective that Farrow, who met very briefly with Lauer just before his book was published (when Farrow inexplicably told Lauer that Brooke Nevils came to her allegation of the former Today show host having committed a violent act against her “in hindsight”), simply does not have. Also, because the story I wrote about my meeting with Lauer was widely reported in various parts of the media, there is little to no chance that Farrow is unaware of this development.
Obviously, one of the basic tenets of good journalism, especially in a situation as potentially murky as five-year-old adulterous affair and an alleged systematic NBC cover-up of Lauer’s alleged abuse, is to at least hear both sides of a controversy before coming to any conclusions. Therefore, you would think that, since Farrow has now been knighted by the mainstream media as a hero of the industry, he would be quite interested in getting to the bottom of all of this and confirming that his reporting is as fair and accurate as possible.
Quite tellingly, there is no evidence this is actually the case. In fact, since I returned from New York to Los Angeles and allowed things to die down, I have reached out to Farrow twice, via text and personal email on both occasions, asking him to do an interview with me about his reporting on Lauer, even offering to have an off-the-record discussion ourselves so that we could share information and see if we can figure out what the truth is (assuming that is the actual goal here for more than one of us).
I have received no response at all from Farrow.
I fully realize that, at least from a PR perspective, this is probably a smart move on Farrow’s part. He is a celebrity who is a media darling, and I am a non-celebrity who is largely loathed by the media.
Therefore, Farrow knows well that he will receive no blowback at all from his many sycophants in the fourth estate for not engaging someone like me. He also knows that if he did an interview with me that the many basic concerns with his journalistic standards, investigative method, and obvious personal bias on this story, would be addressed in a manner which could be very dangerous to his recent reputation as journalism’s new Chosen One.
For the record, here is just a small sampling of the many questions I would have asked him if he had the courage to grant me an interview:
- At what point in your discussions with Nevils did she first indicate that according to you, “in hindsight,” that Lauer committed an act of violence against her?
- Since there is no evidence Nevils described the episode in that way before speaking to you, isn’t it fair to suspect your interaction with the former NBC producer could have influenced her description of what happened with Lauer, and could have caused her, over five years later, to perceive the episode differently than it actually happened?
- You refer in your book to emails and text messages between Lauer and Nevils on the night in question. Have you seen them? If they exist, why are they not in your book? If you didn’t see them, why do you presume that they happened exactly as Nevils told you?
- Why are almost all of your sources on Lauer, like you, former NBC employees, and therefore people with a possible axe to grind, as well as potentially invested in a narrative which helps rationalize their own possible failures with the network? Why did you apparently not seek to speak to people close to Lauer still at NBC whose stories may support a very different storyline?
Just a few days ago, NBC, under pressure from Farrow and former NBC host Megyn Kelly, agreed to allow anyone who signed an NDA upon leaving the network, and who comes to them to ask for a release, to speak publicly about alleged abuse there. This is an issue which, in my opinion, has been grossly misrepresented by Farrow, and misperceived by much of the news media.
Both NBC and Lauer are on the record saying that they know of no one who was paid to keep silent about alleged abuse by Lauer. Considering that it would be very easy to disprove those contentions, and thus far that has not happened, it seems to fair to treat those denials, at least for now, as credible.
If NBC did pay someone off to be quiet about such abuse and Lauer was never disciplined, or at least informed, they would have been opening themselves up to a gigantic lawsuit by others, specifically Nevils, who were allegedly abused after that happened. Lying about it now, especially when their new action could theoretically allow that lie to become public, would only make that situation far worse and would be colossally idiotic, even by the already low standards of network TV executives.
If Lauer had been informed of such action, presumably any accusers would be aware, and any revelation of his lying about this would devastate whatever credibility he might have left in the public eye. On the flip side, this could also leave open the possibility that someone who signed a nondescript and — contrary to Farrow’s assertions in his book — fairly routine NDA while leaving the network, could now level a theoretically false claim against Lauer, with the media then giving it instant credibility because of Farrow’s unproven and self-serving narrative that NBC was engaged in a large and nonsensical cover-up here.
For Farrow, this is almost a no-lose situation. If no new accusers come forward, Farrow’s adoring fans in the media will just forget about the issue and pretend that the deafening silence doesn’t really blow up a huge portion of his book’s premise. If someone does make a new claim, he and his admirers will immediately scream, “See?! We told you so!” regardless of how credible their story may, or may not, be.
Of course, this presumes that Farrow’s motivations have little or anything to do with finding the truth, which is the only way I can interpret him refusing to even have a conversation with me.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.