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Ronan Farrow's critics are circling. Here's what you should know about his media war

Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, author of the hit 2019 book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," has come under scrutiny this week after The New York Times published a scathing critique of his Pulitzer Prize-winning methods.

On Sunday, New York Times media columnist Ben Smith pondered, "Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?," characterizing Farrow's renowned reporting as flawed and self-serving "resistance journalism."

The column focuses in part on "Catch and Kill," which explores Farrow's investigation into convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, as well as plots allegedly waged by Weinstein and NBC to bury Farrow's findings.

Smith's Sunday criticism of Farrow quickly caused a stir on social media, prompting responses from Farrow, New Yorker staffers, Weinstein accuser Ambra Battilana Gutierrez and even former "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer, who dismissed a rape allegation leveled against him in "Catch and Kill."

As the son of actress Mia Farrow and divisive director Woody Allen, Farrow, 32, was already born into fame before his influential journalism made him a household name -- a rare feat in an industry that doesn't boast many nonbroadcast stars.

Farrow's 2017 New Yorker piece at the center of "Catch and Kill," titled "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories," helped propel the #MeToo movement forward and won Farrow the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, shared with The New York Times' Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for their reporting on Weinstein.

 

In his takedown of the "rare celebrity-journalist," Smith also referenced Farrow's bombshell expose on President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and speculated that Farrow might be "the most famous investigative reporter in America."

Here's a summary of what went down in the media frenzy.

SMITH COMES FOR FARROW

While Smith praised Farrow's "ability to shine a light on some of the defining stories of our time," he also called the reporter's watchdog approach "misleading," warning of a "dangerous" and inherent "weakness of a kind of resistance journalism" that trades hard facts for drama.

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