NEW: WaPo Spiked Story on CBS Sexual Misconduct Allegations
According to a report published by New York Magazine’s The Cut, the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post spiked a months-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against a former “60 Minutes” executive producer and chairman of CBS News.
Irin Carmon was a freelance investigative reporter in March of 2018, when she and Amy Brittain were set to publish a follow-up story after they had exposed longtime CBS and PBS reporter Charlie Rose for sexual harassment, leading to his termination. They were investigating whether there was a culture of maltreatment of female employees as CBS, which led them to Jeff Fager, the former “60 Minutes” boss. At least one source, who would not go on record, told the pair that she had been groped by Fager.
According to Carmon, after months of investigation, Martin Baron, Washington Post’s executive editor, along with other members of the paper’s editorial board, refused to run the story. Carmon’s tale involves details about The Post’s alleged moving of editorial goalposts, stern warnings from CBS attorneys, and ultimately, the buckling of the paper’s editorial team, which chose to gut the story of the allegations against Fager, and only run new allegations against the already-terminated Rose.
Ultimately, Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker would run a story about sexual misconduct allegations against Fager. Several women accused the powerful news executive of touching them inappropriately at company parties. One of the women, Sarah Johansen, went on record accusing Fager of groping her at a party when she was an intern.
The report said:
Johansen said that she had contact with Fager on only two occasions. The first, she said, was at a work party at a bar near the CBS News offices in Manhattan. She was in a group of co-workers when, “all of a sudden, I felt a hand on my ass,” she said. “The hand belonged to an arm which belonged to Jeff Fager.” Another producer told her it was colloquially referred to by women on the team as “the Fager arm,” which several said they were mindful to avoid at parties. “I was shocked,” Johansen said. “His hand should not be anywhere near his intern’s ass.” She said the contact was “more like a stroke. It wasn’t just a ‘Hey, what’s up?’ ” She didn’t think Fager was propositioning her, and interpreted the move as “a power trip.” She told me, “When he grabbed my ass, it was just, like, ‘Welcome to “60 Minutes.” You’re one of us now.’ ” She recalled making eye contact with Fager, laughing and walking away quickly. But she was troubled enough by the incident that, shortly afterward, she told a male producer, who corroborated her story.
Throughout Carmon and Brittain’s investigation, the pair was not able to convince any of their sources to go on record, which became a contingency of publishing the report, per Baron himself. Carmon said that throughout most of the investigation, the anonymity of the sources had not been questioned by lawyers or editors.
The Washington Post told Big League Politics that the story was spiked because it did not meet the paper’s editorial standards. VP of Communications Kris Corratti blasted The Cut’s story, calling it “imcomplete,” claiming it “sidesteps essential truth,” and that the decision to spike the Fager portion of the story was made by “five senior editors” in part because it “did not meet our standards for publication.”
Corratti also claimed Ronan Farrow “did not publish what was left out of our story.”
But The Washington Post is beginning to face questions about a burying stories of sexual misconduct in relation to high-profile Democratic Party politicians.
Earlier today, Big League Politics reported that the paper downplayed former Vice President Joe Biden’s creepy interactions with several women and girls, which have become a topic of national conversation after a former Democratic Party nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada accused Biden of grabbing her shoulders from behind, kissing the back of her head, and smelling her hair before a campaign rally. WaPo described Biden’s well-documented history of such behavior as his “affectionate” style.
Two months ago, after Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, was accused of sexual assault, the public learned that his accuser, Vanessa Tyson, had brought her claims to The Washington Post. The paper dismissed them, alleging that they did not meet editorial standards, despite the fact that Tyson offered Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) as a corroborating witness, at least according to The New York Times.
“She said she had told no one what happened,” said part of statement from Baron explaining why The Post ran the the sexual assault allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but not the allegations made by Tyson against Fairfax.
Big League Politics has reached out for further comment. This story is developing.
Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca
Like Peter D’Abrosca on Facebook: facebook.com/peterdabrosca
Preorder Peter D’Abrosca’s Book: “Enemies: The Press vs. The American People”