I think this specific discussion is worth having without necessarily discussing too many details of the underlying story – suffice it to say, the allegations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein are well described elsewhere. But this story was (by all accounts I can find) why Ronan Farrow lost his job at NBC.
To be fair to NBC, nobody seems to think they were trying to cover for Weinstein specifically. The best I can piece together was that they had a (perhaps unreasonably) high bar for proof of accusations against major figures in industries they need contacts with. Perhaps it was more general, but consider this random story linked on their homepage at the exact moment I wanted to check: a story about allegations of severe criminal conduct by a relatively normal person where they use his name, photo, and city of residence, telling people he stole from them. They aren't saying it happened, exactly, they're only reporting on the allegation, but there's no hint in the story he might be innocent. This isn't a particularly interesting or unique way for NBC to report on things.
But Farrow had plenty of evidence, it seems, including an NYPD recording of Weinstein admitting assault. The cops chose not to charge him, but if your concern is getting the story correct, that certainly seems definitive. He developed the story more at The New Yorker before publication, but I guess there's a question of, why would The New Yorker cover the costs of that further development, while NBC took away his full-time Host job as well as his Correspondent job at NBC News.
I get that you want to have people on the record, signing their name to a thing – anonymous allegations are less reliable, and that's all Farrow had at the time. But if it was truly about some industry standard demanding that, then why did The New York Times publish a story that seems very similar to Farrow's earlier drafts, without the extra work he did at The New Yorker? If NBC thought the story was inappropriate to run, so much so that they fired the guy for delivering it as a product, why'd The New York Times love the story?
I've returned to this question, partially because I was recently reminded of it, but also because it's weird. Farrow was fired over a story that won him a Pulitzer. Even the less developed version of the story was publishable, but even if it wasn't, did they not see it could be developed more? Is NBC just that bad at their jobs?
I, personally, am not entirely sure where to draw the boundaries for stuff like this – what level of proof is needed for people who aren't public servants, and are definitely committing crimes they should be charged with? The standard is that they get prosecuted, instead of gossiped about in papers, obviously. I'd prefer a story about the NYPD deciding not to prosecute – no one should get out of jail because they're famous, and any police department worth their salt should be able to get more on-the-record statements than a journalist. They could have done something, and they didn't.
The NYPD decided for more women to get raped because a fancy pants rich man frightened them. Perhaps they sincerely thought it wasn't worth investigating, and were catastrophically wrong. But I think it's safe to say that, they're either lazy (to let serial rapists go uninvestigated), incompetent (and unable to see how the investigation could proceed when plenty of normal civilians did across many institutions), cowards (and felt threatened by a powerful figure) or managed so ineptly that justice is essentially a foreign concept in New York. It terrifies me that New York's police leadership would be so openly ambivalent to justice, but that does seem like the most likely option.