For viewers who were hoping to see NBC’s Matt Lauer take Donald Trump to task on his habitual lying on this past Wednesday night’s Commander-in-Chief forum, it was a resounding disappointment. Now, the network’s executives are telling CNN that they’re equally bummed.
According to CNN, one executive said that Lauer’s performance was a “disaster” – to use a term frequented by Trump. Other “high ranking” executives were a bit more diplomatic and said “they hear the criticism and agree with at least some of it.”
Lauer was widely criticized for failing to fact-check or follow up when Trump falsely claimed that he was opposed to the Iraq war when it started. Some viewers thought Lauer held [Hillary Clinton] to a higher standard than Trump. The Clinton campaign agreed — it blasted off a fund-raising email on Thursday afternoon titled “Matt Lauer.”
The criticism enveloping Lauer can’t simply be written off as partisan. Prominent journalists from many outlets echoed the criticism.
“He performed like a soldier sent on a mission without ammunition, beginning with a disorganized offensive, ending in a humiliating retreat,” New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik wrote this Thursday .
CNN pointed out that Lauer had a week to prepare for the interview, which gave him plenty of time to research Trump’s claims that have been scrutinized for falsehoods.
Some theorized that Lauer’s approached was due to the network’s perceived need to stay on Trump’s good side, since he’s threatened to boycott journalists who’ve rubbed him the wrong way.
NBC has declined to officially comment on the controversy.