The New York Times teaches journalism lessons to Ronan Farrow
The big family of cinema? Very little for him. No offense to his parents, Ronan Farrow did not choose the seventh art, a path all traced by his ancestry to make a career, but the fourth power. Today, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner is no longer referred to as the son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, but as the man who brought down Harvey Weinstein.
Publicized all over the world, his investigation into sexual harassment in Hollywood led to the producer being sentenced to 23 years in prison. She also shuffled the cards in the world of cinema and questioned American society in depth. But is all this too good to be true?
The question is asked by the New York Times, in an investigation signed Ben Smith. The journalist, former editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed News, questions the rigor of Farrow. An article published in 2018 by Farrow in the New Yorker would cast doubt on its respect for ethics.
The 32-year-old reporter explains that the United States Department of the Treasury would have removed documents from Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for Donald Trump, from the public registers. However, it has been proven that these documents were in fact in restricted access - a procedure frequently used to avoid a possible leak. A potential certainly mentioned in his article but minimized by Farrow, says Smith. But that's not all ! In this story, he also allegedly reduced the role of Michael Avenatti, a fiercely anti-Trump lawyer indicted for attempted extortion last February.
"Mr. Farrow is not a liar "
So, omissions or lack of rigor characterized? "His narration is very cinematic - with good guys and bad guys - and often omits the nuance and details that could harm the dramaturgy of the story, writes Ben Smith, not frankly brotherly. Sometimes he does not follow the journalistic imperatives of corroboration of facts and transparency, or even suggests the existence of attractive plots but which he is unable to prove. ”
"Mr. Farrow is not a liar, however nuances the New York Times reporter. His job can be misleading, but he doesn't invent facts. ” Smith still deplores a temptation for a journalist as committed as Farrow, at a time when stigma on social networks sometimes matters more than the truth.
The journalist then interrogates several colleagues from the Pulitzer to the New Yorker. Notably its editor David Remnick who sees in his protege's work journalism "scrupulous, tireless, and above all, just" and Ken Auletta, editor contacted by Farrow in the context of his article on Harvey Weinstein, who evokes some gaps in the work but highlights the beneficial results of the survey.
In his right of reply to the American media, Farrow said to put "attention, rigor and nuance" in each of his articles. Before concluding: "I am proud of all of my publications that have helped to expose wrongdoing and important stories in the public sphere."