Former “TODAY” Show host Matt Lauer shocked everyone on Tuesday when he resurfaced to pen a brutal op-ed in which he berates Ronan Farrow and challenges that he never sexually assaulted anyone. Lauer also directly attacks the credibility of Farrow, the journalist who got him fired from NBC after reporting claims made against him to the world.
Son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, Ronan notably rose to fame on the #MeToo movement as he broke stories of allegations which eventually earned him a Pulitzer.
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) April 16, 2018
In case you didn’t notice, the official Pulitzer Prize announcement includes the hashtag: #metoo.
Matt Lauer Blasts Ronan Farrow In Op-Ed
In his op-ed published by Mediaite, Lauer accuses Farrow of engaging in “shoddy journalism” when he reported on claims against Lauer made by Brooke Nevills.
Nevills was the NBC News employee who reportedly alleged that Lauer raped her in a hotel room in Sochi, Russia while they were covering the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“From start to finish Ronan is acting as Brooke’s advocate, not as a journalist investigating her claims,” Lauer wrote.
He then added that Farrow broke “the cardinal rule of journalism” by “coming to a self-serving conclusion first, and then he sees everything through the prism of that assumption.”
Lauer’s piece was a direct response to a recent New York Times article titled, “Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?”
In the NYT piece, reporter Ben Smith was critical of Farrow’s reporting techniques. Most specifically as it relates to Farrow’s investigative journalism into Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
It Was An Affair, Not Rape
Lauer took a similar approach the NYT reporter in criticizing the claims made against him by Farrow in his book “Catch And Kill.”
“I believe Ronan knew his work on Catch and Kill would receive little in the way of scrutiny, from the very beginning,” Lauer wrote. “It’s the only way to explain why he was so willing to abandon common sense and true fact checking in favor of salacious, and deeply flawed, material.”
“I also believe that some of Ronan’s sources felt they could make outrageous claims to him, knowing he (and thus their stories) would not be doubted,” he added.
The former NBC host has long claimed that he engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with Nevils. And Matt Lauer doubled down on this assertion in his Mediaite op-ed.
“At no time did Brooke Nevils ever use the words ‘assault’ or ‘rape’ in regards to any accusation against me while filing her complaint with NBC in November of 2017,” he wrote. “That has been confirmed publicly.”
Matt Lauer’s Op-Ed Disputes Specific Claims By Ronan Farrow
Attacking specific claims that Farrow made against him, Lauer says that he “routinely presented stories in a way that would suit his activist goals.”
“Ronan writes that an unnamed female colleague had sex with me in my office after I pressed a button that remotely shut the door. (At least he stayed away from the myth that I had a button that could lock someone in my office — a fact that NBC has publicly debunked.),” the former “Today” host stated. “He writes that during the sexual encounter, ‘She passed out. Lauer’s assistant took her to a nurse.'”
“Had he called my assistant, she would have told him that she never took anyone to the nurse, who had any kind of medical issue, while in my office. Ever,” he continued.
Ronan Farrow Fires Back
Farrow fired back on Twitter, writing, “All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.”
All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) May 19, 2020
Just a few days prior, Farrow was also compelled to defend his reporting in the wake of the NYT piece.
I stand by my reporting.
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) May 18, 2020
Matt Lauer Fires Warning Shot About Future Of Journalism
In the end, Lauer saw his op-ed as a warning shot to others about where journalism is headed.
“What I found when I read the book was frankly shocking, and it should concern anyone who cares about journalism. This is not just about accusations against the former host of the ‘Today Show,'” Lauer wrote.
“It’s about whether changing social attitudes can be allowed to change the most fundamental rules of journalism,” he added.
“It’s about whether, as journalists, we have a responsibility to check facts and vet sources. It’s about understanding the difference between journalism and activism. It is about whether we are putting far too much trust in journalists whose publicly stated opinions impact their ability to remain objective.”
Whether or not you believe that Lauer’s relationship was consensual or not, we can probably all agree that journalistic integrity has been thrown out the window in the past few years.
Today’s mainstream media will take anything that suits their agenda and run with it. Most of these talking heads don’t even bother to confirm if the story is true or not.
Matt Lauer may not be the best person to sound the alarm on this, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about where journalism is headed.
If the so-called “journalists” in this country don’t start changing their ways, they might soon find themselves with no audience whatsoever.
As it stands, the public already takes what they say with a grain of salt. Soon no one will be listening.