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My colleagues Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt did the Bill O’Reilly story and Katie Benner had done some really startling reporting on women in Silicon Valley.
So basically we said as investigative journalists we can look at the whole pattern here, and not just focus on one individual woman’s experience.
And that made them feel, I hope, like we had the playbook and we had the experience to handle these stories right.But on the other hand, there is something really unfair in sexual harassment reporting. and we wanted it to be irrefutable, because a lot of these things happened in the privacy of a hotel room, and we didn’t want a story that could be easily knocked down by Weinstein coming back and saying, “Hey, I was the only person there, and I am telling you that nothing happened, and that’s definitive.” We wanted other forms of proof about what happened, or I should say, the allegations.In the course of reporting the story, some of the alleged victims would say to me, “How come it’s my job to address this? Is your sense that you were able to get further on this story than other journalists, you and your colleagues and Ronan Farrow, because there has been a change in the air culturally, or that, as a friend suggested, maybe women were willing to come forward because the stories about President Trump led to a feeling that this was an especially important time that these stories be told?And so it is sort of like people were laughing about this in the open when behind the scenes the alleged abuse was still going on.Was it a matter of you hearing all these stories and trying to confirm them as true, or getting people to go on the record versus off the record?
Another reason they gave was, yeah, they did feel that the culture had changed somewhat, and the days of women being slimed for allegations, they hoped, at least, were over.