The Nagging Question

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Nagging Question

"What did he know and when did he know it?" is a phrase that was in vogue during the National nightmare known as "Watergate."

In the wake of the startling dismissal of 20-year veteran "Today" host Matt Lauer by NBC in the wake of a formal complaint of "inappropriate sexual behavior" lodged against him by a female employee, a variation of that question becomes relevant.

"What did they know, and when did they know it?"

The initial story was that the female staffer and her attorney approached NBC late Monday and in a two-hour meeting presented a detailed complaint that Lauer had made unwelcomed sexual advances to her in 2014 when the two of them were in Russia covering the Sochi Olympics.

It took the Peacock approximately 30 hours to conclude that their $20+ million morning host had to go, and viewers tuned in Wednesday morning to hear co-host Savannah Guthrie emotionally announce Lauer's firing.

Interestingly, it was quickly learned that at least two publications, including Variety, were preparing stories about Lauer's sexual depredations with other women, but none of these other incidents seem to have come to NBC's attention.

They also missed a red flag moment in 2014 when Lauer threw a curve at actress Anne Hathaway who was making the morning show rounds promoting the opening of her film "Les Misérables," the same week an on-line gossip site published a paparazzi "upskirt" photo of the young woman exiting a limousine.

Lauer immediately went off-script and made a gratuitous reference to the unintentionally revealing photograph.

Lauer's unscripted off-color sally was defty and gracefully handled by Hathaway:

"It was obviously an unfortunate incident. It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment, and rather than delete it, and do the decent thing, sells it.

And I'm sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants. Which brings us back to Les Mis...."

Did NBC fail to read the tea leaves, or just ignore them?

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