Ronan Farrow @ McCaw Hall, 6/5/19
Journalist Ronan Farrow spoke at Seattle’s McCaw Hall on June 5th to discuss primarily his book, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Farrow also opened up about his groundbreaking journalism work on the Harvey Weinstein exposé.
Part one of Farrow’s appearance was a talk about War on Peace. He’s definitely got the credentials to have an informed opinion on diplomacy. Farrow was not only a teenage spokesperson at UNICEF, he was also a Special Advisor to Obama. Mentioning that the State Department applications are down twenty percent, Farrow’s concerned about American moral leadership, military negotiators replacing civilian negotiators and how this affects diplomacy. “An interconnected world is a stronger world,” said Farrow.
The second part of the evening was a conversation between Farrow and Bruce Pinkleton, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, followed by questions from the audience. Centered on journalism, Farrow commented on the profession’s importance. Mentioning how journalism “is the only profession enshrined in our constitution,” Farrow detailed its role in revealing society’s ills, especially at a local level. He also mentioned how crucial it is to stand up to people who might suppress journalism, and how awful it was that so many people in control of the media suppressed the Weinstein story. Praising Emily Nestor, who was one of the first women to talk with Farrow about Weinstein, he said that sometimes it’s about doing “the right thing even if it’s not the smart thing.” In this new age of #MeToo, women coming forward is becoming more common. Before that, and before Emily (who was at the event – thanks Emily!), it took even more extraordinary bravery. Farrow told us to be “brave like Emily.”
After some discussion about how this affected Farrow’s life (he wasn’t looking for sympathy, but he had to move because he was being threatened, people he trusted turned on him, and at one point he said his “career was on the rocks,” and that “I almost fell apart completely”), he was asked in what way he would write about his family. A potential hint was that he’s been reading mysteries for “their narrative structures.”