The media has a lot to answer for in the Harvey Weinstein contagion that just keeps on coming.
Why did the media fail to report what they knew about Weinstein?
For that matter, why do the media fail to report what they know about so many things.
Case in point – Patriots football coach Bill Belichick is famous for his terse press conferences. But if you have ever seen a BB press conference, it is shocking to see the quality of reporters’ questions.
They are scared of the coach and ask timid questions that probe nothing. Therefore, we are uninformed.
Reporters are around the Patriots all week. They know the players, the coaches and staff. They know stuff. And they don’t report it.
Same thing in politics. Same thing with Weinstein and Kevin Spacey and Ben Affleck and Bill O’Reilly and …
I once worked for a great newspaper editor who would walk by my desk and say – “If you know it, write it.’’
Weinstein created a ‘’matrix’’ (thank you Rebecca Traister of New York Magazine) in which the media depended on him for news. He gave them tips and access to stars in exchange for protection. That matrix only broke down when too many women did too much talking.
But in the end, reporters knew about this behavior and didn’t report it. Even now, after years of portraying Weinstein in tuxedos at fancy parties, the media now shows him in photos in the harshest light – obese, unshaven and alone. They do that to fit a narrative. First he was a big name and the media looked the other way. Now it is safe to pile on. As Traister said this week in a great piece – “The media is breaking the news here – the media is also deeply implicated in the news.’’
Traister’s piece is here:
The media needs to get tougher and ignore the pressure from the matrix. Write what you know. Don’t wait for the coast to be clear.
Journalists to follow (A new feature)
As a journalism observer and a byline junkie, I follow trends in journalism and the work of individual reporters. I will report on their work below and keep a list of the writers you should follow. The list will grow and change as events unfold.
- Jodi Cantor, NY Times – broke the Weinstein story. Showed us the inside workings of Amazon. Watch her as she continues the sexual assault story.
- Maggie Haberman, NY Times – for her chronicling Trump. She walks a very difficult line. Trump calls her when he wants to vent. Yet her reporting remains tough and insightful.