Media Blog

Ronan Farrow: I Focus on ‘Substantive Hard News Coverage’

Jennifer Vineyard of New York magazine ran into Lil’ Blue Eyes at a party for Time magazine, and asked about his low-rated show on MSNBC. An excerpt:

Farrow said that his show launched at a time when few other cable news programs (except those on MSNBC, obviously) “were hitting a diverse range of substantive topics. It was a time when one story was getting hammered over and over again.” Ronan Farrow Daily, he insisted, did not aim for “low-hanging fruit” but “substantive hard news coverage.”

What he’s saying is that he had the misfortune of launching his show (February 24) just days before the “low-hanging fruit” story of missing Malaysia Airways flight 370 (March 8) and CNN’s airplane coverage ate his lunch.

But that’s the easy excuse. Farrow is 1) guilty of going after his own low-hanging fruit stories; and 2) he’s confusing “substantive hard news coverage” with reporting on current events. Yesterday’s segments were on photoshopped magazine pictures, Donald Sterling, Donald Sterling’s girlfriend, and the execution in Oklahoma. In other words: fruit, fruit, fruit, and a real story. 

Farrow’s coverage of the Oklahoma execution could have been substantive, but in typical MSNBC fashion, Farrow only had one guest to speak about the issue, Mother Jones’s Stephanie Mencimer. Mencimer is no fan of lethal injection, which is fine, but one opinion on a five-minute segment does not count as substantive coverage. 

If Farrow wants to do substantive reporting, by all means, do so. Maybe there’s an audience for that. But Farrow is lying to himself if he really believes his show is special in any way. 



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