“There is a problem in terms of having HR do the investigation. The reputation of the company is very essential,” Scott said before adding that NBC’s parent company, Comcast, should “want to stay on top of what is happening.”
Lack and Oppenheim have already come under fire for the way they handled the situation, initially claiming there was only one complaint about Lauer in 20 years before backtracking and clarifying that only “current” management was in the dark. Even the second statement has raised eyebrows and the Variety reporters who broke the Lauer bombshell, Elizabeth Wagmeister and Ramin Setoodeh, have questioned the claim that current NBC staffers were unaware of Lauer’s misconduct.
University of Maryland broadcast journalism professor Mark Feldstein, who has worked at NBC, CNN and ABC, is working on a book exploring various media scandals and journalistic malpractice. He’s spent months studying a how news organizations have handled misconduct over the past generation.
“It varies widely. Some appoint outside independent blue-ribbon commissions to investigate and issue a public report, others investigate internally with or without a public report and some clam up entirely,” Feldstein told Fox News.
A big reason Lack and Oppenheim have come under particular scrutiny is the executives’ close ties to Lauer. Lack is widely known to be personal friends with Lauer. According to Vanity Fair, the two men have vacationed together. It was Lack who promoted Lauer to “Today” co-host in 1994 and the two men remained close friends when Lack left NBC for several years. Oppenheim has spent most of his career at NBC, including a multi-year tour of duty as a senior producer on “Today” when he worked closely with Lauer. Prior to his promotion to NBC News president, he was the executive overseeing “Today.”
The New York Post reported late Friday that “NBC News insiders say they believe NBC News boss Lack is trying to blame his second in command Oppenheim, along with previous execs at the news network. ‘It’s like they’re turning on each other, when it was Matt who destroyed a lot of people.’”