NBC News’s sudden firing of veteran “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” is the latest stunner in what has seemed like a series of embarrassing reports about high-profile men, but will it be the last?
Lauer has been with the Today show for more than 20 years. His downfall is just the latest such tale for which 2017 may be remembered in the years ahead. Lauer’s name is now added to a list that includes Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, CBS’ Charlie Rose, Sen. Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers.
It’s the kind of stuff upon which supermarket tabloids thrive.
The inevitable question now becomes whether these stories are aberrations, or is this indicative of what happens among the elite class of celebrities, public figures and public officials who think they live by a different set of rules?
According to CNN Money:
“Variety’s New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh said on Twitter that he and his colleague Elizabeth Wagmeister have been doing reporting “about serious sexual harassment allegations against Lauer” for two months.
“NBC was aware” of the reporting, Wagmeister tweeted. “There are multiple women we’ve spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer. The power of journalism has never been more evident with this cultural change.”
Now comes another question: Whose downfall will be next, and is the public getting an appetite for this sort of thing? Has the public always had such an appetite?
This may make for an interesting study by sociologists. If power and prestige are corrupting influences, are they also the ingredients for career bombs that blow up in the faces of those in the spotlight?
Years ago, Marlon Brando directed and starred in a gritty western titled “One-Eyed Jacks” with Karl Malden. It was a story of betrayal that ultimately demonstrated that people in the public eye often have two faces, the one the public sees and the other that is hidden. The movie is something of a cult classic. But the storyline is certainly as relevant today as it was decades ago when it appeared vividly on the big screen.
Are all of these guys “One-Eyed Jacks?”
There are still a lot of hands to be dealt. Who will be the next Joker? Whose card is marked?