Ronan Farrow responded Monday to a piece from newly-instated New York Times media critic Ben Smith, saying, “I stand by my reporting.”
Farrow addressed various instances brought up by Smith in his column on Farrow’s “misleading” and “dangerous” journalism.
“Ben notes a Weinstein script from NBC and a radio interview I gave about it. The book discusses that draft and its account is accurate. In the interview, I misspoke. What I should have said was that there were at least two women named or willing to be named, as the book lays out,” he wrote. “Those women have publicly affirmed their willingness to be named in the NBC story.”
Farrow went on, providing detailed pushback, before concluding, “I stand by my reporting.”
He also pointed to tweets from New Yorker digital editor Michael Luo, which, he said, “pointed out facts that contradict aspects of @benyt‘s column.” (Reached for comment by TheWrap, Farrow directed back to both his and Luo’s tweets.)
In his own thread of response tweets, Luo noted he has “respect” for Smith, but said he “does the same thing he accuses Ronan of–sanding the inconvenient edges off of facts in order to suit the narrative he wants to deliver.”
In the provocative piece released Sunday night, Smith questioned whether Farrow flies “too close to the sun”: “Because if you scratch at Mr. Farrow’s reporting in The New Yorker and in his 2019 bestseller, ‘Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,’ you start to see some shakiness at its foundation. He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic. At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove.”
Though he pointed out examples of reporting that didn’t hold up over the years — like a piece on “missing files” on Trump fixer Michael Cohen within the Treasury Department that turned out to be “simply put on restricted access” — Smith insisted Farrow “does not make things up.” Still, he spoke to the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, who worked to bring Farrow’s reporting to the magazine, and Auletta shone a light on what he thinks Farrow’s strategy is, if not making things up.
“Are all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted? No,” Auletta said. “You’re still left with the bottom line — he delivered the goods.”