From Ronan Farrow to Shepard Smith, the Media News Is Nonstop (Column)

Ronan Farrow Shepard Smith
Shutterstock/Fox News

There are so many big stories erupting on the media news front right now, it makes your head spin. All the upheaval is spurring spirited conversations across the industry that are sure to rage on for months.

Of course, there’s the open warfare that’s broken out between Ronan Farrow and NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and his team. In his new book, “Catch and Kill,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writes that NBC News leadership quashed the story he was chasing about sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein in order to shield the network from its own history of alleged misconduct.

NBC News has launched an aggressive defense against many of the allegations in Farrow’s book, and yet the media is abuzz with speculation about whether Oppenheim and his boss, Andy Lack, will ultimately lose their jobs over the matter.

Then there was the shocking Oct. 11 resignation of Fox News’ longtime anchor Shepard Smith, one of the right-wing networks’ more balanced reporters. There’s much scuttlebutt over whether Smith left because he just couldn’t take it anymore or whether something more nefarious was at hand, given his announced departure came on the heels of a mysterious conversation that took place between Attorney General William Barr and Rupert Murdoch, presumed to be prompted by our wigged-out president’s recent criticism of the network.

Speaking of Fox News, Jay Roach’s upcoming movie, “Bombshell,” about the stunning fall of former honcho and accused sexual predator Roger Ailes, will now enter the public discourse and industry debate over the movie’s portrayal of the real-life figures at the center of the story: former Fox anchors Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson (played by Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, respectively), who brought down the then most powerful mogul in TV news but are flawed in their own right. As the lights came up at Sunday night’s screening, I asked Gloria Allred, sitting two seats away, what she thought.

“It’s complicated,” she told me.

Well, I would say that descriptor aptly applies to everything that’s going down in the media business and what makes covering all these developing stories so compelling.