The Washington Post is accused of killing a story about sexual harassment by top CBS News producer Jeff Fager.
In an article for New York Magazine, Carmon recalls spending four months with reporter Amy Brittain working on a follow-up to a November 2017 story about Rose, who had since been fired from his role as a host of “CBS This Morning” and a “60 Minutes” correspondent. In the course of their investigation, Carmon and Brittain spoke to several women who alleged that Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” had groped them or otherwise acted inappropriately toward them.
Carmon says the story kept getting delayed by Post editor Marty Baron, despite her feeling that it was ready to run with three allegations of groping against Fager and details of a sexual harassment settlement. Ultimately, the Post stripped all allegations against Fager from the article and only published additional allegations against Rose. (RELATED: Insiders React To Allegations Against CBS CEO Les Moonves)
“I didn’t believe the new requirements for our piece were due to friendship or some kind of corrupt arrangement related to the partnership,” Carmon said. “But I did think it was easier for even the most well-meaning editor to empathize with a newsroom leader, a fellow boss with potentially discontented underlings.”
Ronan Farrow later broke his own story on sexual harassment allegations against Fager for The New Yorker. Fager was fired from CBS after he sent a threatening text message to a network reporter who was writing a story about the allegations.
Carmon did not directly claim that the Post killed the story to protect Fager and CBS, but wrote the following:
I don’t believe there is just one reason the Post rejected the Fager story. I think it was a little of everything. The legal squeeze. The close relationship between the paper and 60 Minutes. The easy identification with a powerful executive in our industry as opposed to the people complaining about him. #MeToo fatigue, a growing sense in journalistic circles that the movement might be going too far. I doubt I’ll ever really know.
The Washington Post pushed back on the allegations that they killed a story that was ready for publication.
“The New York Magazine piece is an incomplete story of The Post’s investigation of sexual harassment allegations at CBS, and it sidesteps an essential truth: Certain aspects of that reporting did not meet our standards for publication. The suggestion that The Post’s decision-making — made in agreement by five senior editors — was influenced by anything other than established journalistic standards is baseless and reprehensible”