Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The reckoning continues (UPDATE: Maybe I gave NBC too much credit)

For a TV network which hasn't exactly covered itself in glory over the past few years, NBC acted swiftly (and justifiably) in gassing one of its most well known news personalities.

NBC has fired news anchor Matt Lauer over sexual harassment allegations by an employee, the network’s president for news said in a memo to his staff Wednesday.

The “Today” show host was canned for “inappropriate workplace conduct,” according to NBC Chairman Andy Lack.

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” Lack wrote.

“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” he wrote.

“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.

“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization – and do it in as transparent a manner as we can. To that end, Noah [NBC News President Noah Oppenheim] and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.”

Lauer's abhorrent behavior had been a rumor for some time. In fact, both the New York Times and Variety had been working on stories which were set to reveal Lauer's multiple indiscretions.

If nothing else, NBC was the outlet to break the story of one of their own. This comes just weeks after Ronan Farrow, who did freelance work with NBC, was not allowed to break the Harvey Weinstein story on the network. Given the fallout from that particular saga, NBC was left with proverbial egg on its face. And every time serial fabricator Brian Williams appears on an NBC-affiliated station, it only undermines their credibility. I'm not going to pretend that NBC has completely redeemed itself by having Lauer's former Today Show colleagues elaborate on what was breaking news, but at least they didn't just release the obligatory statement and then drop it altogether.

No sooner had the Lauer story broke then we hear of a well-known Minnesotan being accused of repugnant behavior.

Veteran radio host and writer Garrison Keillor confirmed Wednesday that he was fired by his longtime broadcast home, Minnesota Public Radio, over accusations of improper behavior.

After confirming the news in an email to the Associated Press, Keillor issued a follow-up statement saying he was terminated over “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.” However, he did not elaborate.

MPR issued a statement from communications director Angie Andresen on its website Wednesday announcing it would “end its business relationship with Keillor’s media companies effective immediately.” That includes ending distribution and broadcast of The Writer's Almanac, a daily syndicated program that Keillor continued to write and produce, in addition to rebroadcasts of The Best of A Prairie Home Companion.

The news of Keillor's demise comes literally the day after he penned a column saying it's "absurd" that fellow Minnesota proggie sleaze bag Sen. Al Franken should resign over his own indiscretions.


UPDATE: Maybe I gave NBC too much credit for what I perceived was an expeditious response to the Lauer saga. In a piece at Variety, it's alleged that management may have covered for some of Lauer's despicable activities. Yikes! 


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