Today Show Fails to Mention Own Sexual Harassment Scandals During Segment on Roger Ailes Series
NBC’s Today broadcasted a segment on Monday promoting a new movie about the sexual harassment case against former Fox News honcho, the late Roger Ailes — during which there was much talk about sexual harassment in the workplace, but none about sexual harassment in the NBC workplace.
No one, for example, made even a passing reference to the network’s own scandals, even the one involving former Today co-host Matt Lauer, who we stress to immediately repeat hosted this very show. (And has been defended by those still on it.)
Most of the segment focused, of course, on the actors and their roles, a typical on-air promotion. But the discussion also covered Ailes and the scandal, as well as Fox News. Actress Naomi Watts said she was attracted to the role of Gretchen Carlson by the courage it took to take down someone “at that level of power.”
Gretchen Carlson “was very good at her job, she was at the peak of her career,” said Watts. “To be under-valued and pushed aside because of the way the Fox, you know, system worked– women were told to stay in their place, to fall in line, and not push back. And she wouldn’t settle for that.”
NBC News, in the wake of the Matt Lauer scandal, per an Esquire exposé titled “The Peacock Patriarchy,” was described as having been “a kind of boys’ club in which such peccadilloes and intraoffice flings were swept under the rug.” And although it said that culture was changing broadly at the network and the news division, it specifically cited The Today Show for lagging behind.’
That’s the Today Show, as in, the show from which the above quotes and clips were pulled.
This segment on Today is the latest example of how the sordid details one media company are used as a cudgel by another media company, and vice versa, pretty regularly.
Fox and NBC are competitors. Not just at the top level, but specifically in the news business, and Fox News is winning the ratings game by a lot vs. MSNBC. It’s harder to reckon it with NBC News, considering the broadcast network, its affiliates, and etc., but suffice it to say the companies are competitors, for eyeballs and ad bucks. Using scandal as a weapon is part of their war.
It shouldn’t have to be hard, even if it’s awkward, to mention it briefly. In a Media Buzz discussion on Fox News Channel, host Howard Kurtz listed both Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes among the scandals recounted as they discussed the initial unwillingness of NBC to cover Harvey Weinstein‘s lewd, abusive, criminal behavior. It can be done.
There is a phrase people use on social media when someone who has been in a scandal weighs in on a similar scandal involving someone else; it involves variations on the phrase, “maybe sit this one out.”
Maybe Today should have sat this one out. Or maybe, like Howard Kurtz, they could make at least small mention of the beam in their eye.
But then, that wouldn’t really help the bottom line that much, would it?
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.