Firing back at Ronan Farrow's rape allegations levied against him, publicly disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer released a long withheld account of his "own findings."
"I had originally intended to release this piece in November of 2019, but personal considerations at that time, and later news events impacting us all, delayed those plans," Lauer wrote in a Mediaite exclusive Tuesday.
"This week The New York Times published a piece that was highly critical of Ronan Farrow’s journalistic methods and standards. Ronan stood by his reporting in response. The Times story prompted me to move forward with my own findings."
The Times had reviewed Farrow's journalistic work in his book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators." Farrow has been considered the master of the #MeToo movement for his reporting.
Among the claims made in Lauer's opinion piece are his alleged rape was made after a "consensual, yet inappropriate relationship" with a woman at his workplace, which led to his highly publicized firing in November 2017.
"I was shaken, but not surprised, that few in the media were willing to thoroughly challenge the accusations against me, or the person making them," Lauer wrote. The rush to judgment was swift. In fact, on the morning I was falsely accused of rape, and before I could even issue a statement, some journalists were already calling my accuser 'brave' and 'courageous.' While the presumption of innocence is only guaranteed in a court of law, I felt journalists should have, at the very least, recognized and considered it.
"I was also disappointed, but not surprised, that Ronan Farrow's overall reporting faced so little scrutiny. Until this week's critical reporting by The New York Times, many in the media perceived his work as inherently beyond basic questioning. However, he was hardly an unbiased journalist when it came to anything to do with NBC, and he was rarely challenged as he dropped salacious stories in a daily marketing effort designed to create media attention for his book."
Lauer called out "flawed reporting and factual errors" by Farrow in four ways he "betrayed the truth," writing:
- "He consistently failed to confirm stories told to him by his main sources.
- He failed to provide evidence of important communications he alleges took place between accusers and me. In most cases, Ronan doesn't even claim to have personally seen evidence of those communications.
- He used misleading language to manipulate readers into believing things that could easily be false, or were at least unprovable. In some cases he undeniably withheld information from the reader that would call the credibility of sources into question.
- He routinely presented stories in a way that would suit his activist goals, as opposed to any kind of journalistic standards."
Lauer went on to respond to various claims in Farrow's book, which he claims he could debunk with his own reporting, "the work I love," he concluded.
"How will Ronan Farrow respond to this criticism?" Lauer wrote. "I doubt he'll take it lightly, and he shouldn't.
"He may try to change the subject by leveling new claims against me. He may question my credibility, but I have raised issues here that others could have easily raised as well. He may try to enlist allies in an effort to attack me and correct his journalistic lapses, months after the damage has been done. Perhaps his publisher will also rush to his defense.
"Or maybe he'll surprise me. Maybe he'll simply stand up and say, I let a desire to sell books overwhelm my responsibility as a journalist. I should have done more to fact check these stories because errors like these come with a cost."
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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