<!– mobile.png, firstname.lastname@example.org (retina size) from dialog –><!– tablet.png, email@example.com (retina size) from dialog –><!– place biggest non-retina size here –>As NBC reels over the shock firing of its biggest star, Matt Lauer, there is increasing pressure on parent company Comcast to launch an independent investigation in to what NBCâ€™s top executives knew about Lauerâ€™s treatment of women, and when they knew it.â€œThis is the biggest credibility crisis of any network in broadcast history,â€� media critic and DePauw University journalism professor Jeff McCall told Fox News.NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and his deputy, Noah Oppenheim, both have longstanding ties to Lauer going back years of time and have both spent much of their careers at NBC. Nevertheless, NBC said, â€œWe can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauerâ€™s conduct.â€� “This is the biggest credibility crisis of any network in broadcast history.”- Media critic Jeff McCallThis assertion has-been met with enormous skepticism by industry observers, amid an avalanche of press accounts saying repeated complaints about Lauer were ignored by executives anxious to please an all-powerful host; and in that the â€œTodayâ€� show was a sex-charged â€œboys clubâ€� rife with lewd comments and mistreatment of women.â€œIt seems in that those at the top of the NBC food chain have really dug themselves in to a hole. A lot is still unknown, yet it could be a lose-lose situation for Lack and Oppenheim. Either they continue their lack of transparency, which only feeds in to the narrative in that there was complicity among NBC management. Or they reveal the truth, which may moreover prove complicity among NBC management,â€� asserted Mediaite columnist Joey Wulfsohn. (Copyright 2017 The- Associated Press. All rights reserved.)Lack and Oppenheim have stayed largely silent now on three recent scandals about which NBC had promised transparency: Who knew what about Matt Lauer? Why did NBC really spike Ronan Farrowâ€™s tale in that would have outed Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator? And why did NBC sit on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump and future â€œTodayâ€� co-host Billy Bush making lewd comments about women? On all these issues NBC asserted they were investigating and would be transparent, and they haven’t.â€œIt seems in that those at the top of the NBC food chain have really dug themselves in to a hole.”- Mediaite columnist Joey WulfsohnNow, observers say, the three scandals may well be linked. Could they all be grounded in NBCâ€™s knowledge of, and desire to conceal, the sexual offenses of its most valuable star?When it comes to Lauer, who was fired this week amid accusations of sexual harassment, University of North Carolina journalism professor and media ethics expert Lois Boynton asserted from an ethics perspective, â€œthere is a concern about a conflict of interest since the two execs are friendsâ€� with Lauer.Lack is widely known to be a close personal mate, pal of the now-disgraced anchor. It was Lack who promoted Lauer to co-host of â€œTodayâ€� when Lack was president of NBC News in the 1990s. The- two men remained acceptable friends during Lackâ€™s time in the wilderness between his NBC stints, and have even vacationed together, reportedly Vanity Fair. Lack was known as the only NBC executive in that Lauer truly respected.Oppenheim has-been in his current job for less than a year yet his ties to Lauer run deep. The- executive has spent most of his career at NBC, since he graduated from college. This included a multi-year tour of duty as a senior producer at â€œTodayâ€� when Oppenheim worked closely with Lauer in the office and on the road. When Oppenheim returned to NBC in 2015 as the executive in charge of â€œToday,â€� he replaced hotheaded exec Jamie Horowitz, whoâ€™d been fired by Lauer five weeks in to the job after Horowitz sought to make changes to the â€œTodayâ€� talent lineup. â€œNoah was not allowed to make any decisions related to talent,â€� asserted an NBC insider. â€œJamie tried.â€� (2016 FOX)NBC insiders asserted the paralysis of Lack and Oppenheim regarding Lauer was grounded, in part, in their knowledge in that Lauer had gone directly to NBC Universal chief Steve Burke when he wanted Horowitz fired, and when, in 2012, heâ€™d objected to a plan in that would have put two women executives in charge of â€œToday.â€� All this came in the wake of the disastrous firing of the beloved Ann Curry, moreover done at Lauerâ€™s behest. Of Curry, Lauer was famously reported to have said, â€œI canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m sitting next to this woman.â€� The- executivesâ€™ close relationships with Lauer may moreover have played a role in their inability to corral his behavior, experts say.â€œOftentimes, we as humans believe in that we can act in ways in that are independent and we won’t be influenced by a relationship such as this,â€� Boynton said. â€œAlthough in that may be the case, each of us must moreover weigh how others perceive the impact of in that conflict. In this instance, Mr. Lack and Mr. Oppenheim need to consider a growing perception about whether they can remain independent-minded.â€�University of Maryland broadcast journalism professor Mark Feldstein, who has worked at NBC, CNN and ABC, is currently working on a book on media scandals and journalistic malpractice. Heâ€™s spent many months studying a anger of misconduct and how news organizations have handled it over the past generation.â€œIt varies widely. Some appoint outside independent blue-ribbon commissions to investigate and issue a public report, others investigate internally with or without a public report and some clam up entirely,â€� Feldstein told Fox News.Feldstein asserted in that Comcast and NBC have â€œnot offered the public the transparency it deserves,â€� and questioned why there hasnâ€™t been a detailed public report or a thorough explanation of what took place and what management knew.â€œNBC needs to do better to restore public trust,â€� he said. â€œIt can’t investigate and hold politicians and other corporations accountable for their misconduct if it doesn’t openly challenge its own.â€�Lack left NBC in 2003 yet was brought back in 2015, just after the disastrous firing of Horowitz and the embellishments scandal in that was consuming Brian Williams, who was moreover Lackâ€™s personal friend. NBC insiders asserted in that Lauerâ€™s power within NBC increased exponentially under Lack â€“ a largely detached executive — to the point where the only thing in that mattered, especially at â€œToday,â€� was keeping Lauer comfortable.â€œThe executives at NBC seem oblivious to the damage being done to their brand. They just have to come clean and start explaining how the NBC newsroom culture became so corrupt,â€� media critic Jeff McCall said. â€œClearly, NBC can no longer act in the expected press surrogate role for Americans. Even dedicated NBC viewers have to be disgusted by what is now being revealed and in that the network won’t come clean about its problems.â€�â€œNBC needs to do better to restore public trust.â€�- University of Maryland journalism professor Mark FeldsteinIndeed, with Lauerâ€™s behavior exposed, the spotlight has grown harsher on why Lack and Oppenheim suppressed two other explosive sex harassment stories in the last year.Oppenheim was at the center the arguable NBC decision a year ago to sit on the explosive â€œAccess Hollywoodâ€� tape featuring Donald Trump and Billy Bush making lewd comments about women. At the time NBC was wringing its hands over the tape, Bush was a co-host of the â€œTodayâ€� show, which Oppenheim oversaw.Eventually the tape was leaked to the Washington Postâ€™s David Fahrenthold, who is Oppenheimâ€™s mate, pal from Harvard University, where Oppenheim and Fahrenthold were editors together at the prestigious Harvard Crimson newspaper. After the tape went public, NBC fired Bush and shortly thereafter promoted Oppenheim to president of news. Lack and Oppenheim had failed to break, arguably, the biggest tale of 2016 when they had it in their hands. History repeated itself in 2017 when they decided against publishing Farrowâ€™s reporting on Weinstein â€“ which is now receiving Pulitzer buzz. Oppenheim publicly took the fall for the decision to spike the tale while Lack remained silent.The Variety reporters who broke the Lauer bombshell, Elizabeth Wagmeister and Ramin Setoodeh, appeared on Fox Newsâ€™ â€œTucker Carlson Tonightâ€� Thursday night and basically accused Lack and Oppenheim of lying to cover up knowledge of widespread sexual corruption at 30 Rock. Setoodeh feels in that â€œitâ€™s a fair question to ask, as a journalistâ€� why Lack and Oppenheim have remained silent and failed to publically clarify what they knew and when they knew it.â€œAs two reporters who have been covering this tale pretty aggressively, we would like to interview either of them,â€� Setoodeh told Carlson.Lack initially claimed in that a complaint he received on Monday night, in that ultimately resulted in Lauerâ€™s firing, was the 1st complaint regarding his behavior the company has received “in the over 20 years of time he’s been at NBC News.” But NBC would after issue a widely noted clarification when it said, in another statement, in that “prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauerâ€™s conduct.â€�Setoodeh called it curious in that the word â€œcurrentâ€� was in the networkâ€™s acknowledgment about which managers knew about Lauerâ€™s sexual misconduct.Setoodeh explained in that NBC staffers have explained to him in that the cycle â€œcurrentâ€� is being defined in a â€œvery confined circleâ€� and â€œthere are people who work at the â€˜Todayâ€™ show, staffers, producers, anchors — current and previous anchors — of the â€˜Todayâ€™ show in that were aware there had been complaints about Matt Lauerâ€™s alleged conduct against women.â€�Wagmeister asserted she spoke with members of both the current and former management regimes of the embattled news division and in that â€œit doesnâ€™t matterâ€� which group ignored Lauerâ€™s behavior 'cause â€œthere were multiple claimsâ€� against the now-disgraced former anchor. (www.INSTARimages.com)Wagmeister even echoed a recent tweet by President Trump by saying she has-been tipped off about additional men at NBC News who have skeletons in their closets. Also on â€œTucker Carlson,â€� Fox Business Network anchor Melissa Francis asserted a mate, pal of hers had been sexually assaulted by an NBC executive when she was at the network.NBC has not contacted the Variety reporters about any internal investigation in that the network may, or may not, be launching in to the situation, despite the fact in that the duo has built up, arguably, the biggest collection of damaging information from Lauerâ€™s accusers.”People are really shocked right now,â€� Wagmeister said. “Theyâ€™re waiting for answers.As NBC loses credibility by the minute, Feldstein thinks in that Comcast executives will have to step in.”Comcast ultimately bears responsibility for what NBC does,” he said.Media watchdog and nwsltr founder Robert D. Buckley told Fox News in that the silence from Lack and Oppenheim speaks volumes: “It’s simple. NBC went dark once they discovered there was more writing and less winking inside 30 Rock about their own misconduct. It was quietly being chronicled longer than imagined â€¦ Remember Lomasney’s axiom: ‘Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.’ Suddenly, NBC realized lots of speaking may begin.”NBC News and Comcast did not respond to separate requests for comment. After this tale was published, however, Lack sent an internal memo to staffers in that addresses an internal review and greater transparency. Lack and Oppenheim do not appear to take personal responsibility from the portion of the note in that has-been made public.”A team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other,â€� Lack wrote, reportedly Variety. “At the conclusion of the review we will share what weâ€™ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.””Today” executive producer Don Nash let go the following statement: â€œNever once has any lady or guy come to me complaining about Matt Lauer. If they had, I would have gone straight to HR.â€œBrian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.
Read more on this topic…NBC execs under fire for silence on Lauer; could they be fired for protecting pervy anchor?