Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose… What do these three have in common?
If you’ve been under a rock for the past five years, you might not know. So read Ronan Farrow’s exposé, Catch and Kill. If, as is more likely, you have not been under a rock, read it anyway: no matter how much you think you already know about Harvey Weinstein and friends, you’ll learn something from what Farrow tells us. This is a first-person account of the investigation, cover-up, and eventually publishing of the story of Weinstein’s misdeeds, with a few side journeys into those of the other gentlemen mentioned in my opening paragraph. Although it’s a piece of journalism, it’s secondarily a piece about journalism, rather like All the President’s Men. NBC comes out looking pretty bad, and the New Yorker comes out looking like a hero. In particular, the New Yorker’s famous fact-checking compulsion helps allay any doubts about the truth of the details of Farrow’s account.
One warning, if you want to call it that: sometimes Catch and Kill reads more like a mystery/spy novel than a work of journalism. Personally I believe that that adds to the interest of the story, but I’m sure that some readers will find that the book loses credibility thereby. If you don’t want an admixture of Russian and Ukrainian spies in your account of the sexual misconduct of powerful straight white men, then you probably won’t like how Farrow tells his story. But if you want the larger context of the three entertainers I named in my opening paragraph above, then the international intrigue just adds more information, not to mention intrigue.
BTW, I listened to the audiobook version of Catch and Kill, and I’m glad I did. Farrow narrated it himself, and the individuality of each of the characters comes through loud and clear. I have no idea how accurate the accents and voices are, but you definitely feel that “you are there.” Read the book yourself — or, better yet, listen to the audiobook.