From Daily Mail
NBC anchor Matt Lauer drew jeers from Democrats for his questions during a live broadcast event with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Clinton partisans were upset that he failed to challenge Trump’s claim that he opposed the Iraq war early on but grilled Hillary about classified emails
Now Clinton’s campaign is fundraising off the controversy, saying ‘Trump lies a lot’ and saying Lauer ‘fail[ed] to fact-check’ him
One NBC News executive told a CNN media analyst that Lauer’s showing was ‘a disaster’
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is cashing in on ‘Today Show’ host Matt Lauer’s widely panned performance interviewing Donald Trump in a new fundraising email.
Lauer has been been excoriated in the media for failing to challenge Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump when he said he was ‘always’ against the Iraq war.
Adding to the sting for Clinton partisans, Lauer had grilled Clinton for 15 minutes at the top of NBC’s ‘Commander in Chief’ forum, which was watched by an estimated 15 million people in prime time.
‘Last night, during the Commander-in-Chief Forum on live national television, Donald Trump kicked off his evening by lying to the American people about his position on the Iraq War – and no one stopped to call him on it,’ says the fundraising email.
‘Not only did the moderator, Matt Lauer, fail to fact-check Trump – he then kept the conversation moving,’ the cash plea continued.
‘The worst part is, there’s nothing new about this happening. We all know that Trump lies a lot. And we all know that many outlets in the press apparently lack the wherewithal to call him out – and help voters understand that what they’re hearing from Trump isn’t just normal political talk, but an unprecedented descent into unqualified nonsense from a major-party presidential nominee.’
People on Clinton’s extensive mailing list are asked to ‘step up’ and contribute.
‘At this point, we should understand that we just can’t sit around and wait for fact checkers in the media to keep Trump honest. We have to step up and do it ourselves. No one will do it for us. And the outcome of the election could hang in the balance,’ the appeal ends.
As recently as Wednesday early evening, Trump was publicly questioning whether Lauer would be ‘fair’ to him.
Although both camps reportedly agreed to Lauer as the moderator for the debate, the Trump camp was concerned about one of Lauer’s Clinton associations. He is listed as a ‘notable past member’ of the Clinton Global Initiative, although the Clinton Foundation says journalist members such as Lauer weren’t asked to make the $20,000 membership contribution.
And it is usually Trump who rails against the ‘dishonest’ media, as he did Thursday when he insisted he was against the Iraq war from the ‘beginning’ and moaned about the media.
Trump spent several minutes during what was billed as an education speech running through his 2003 and 2004 Iraq war statements. ‘The media is so terribly dishonest, so I had to do this,’ Trump said.
‘I was opposed to the war from the beginning,’ he said.
Lauer focused on the email scandal for about half his interview with the former secretary of state, asking whether it was ‘disqualifying’ to be president.
‘Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in- chief?’ he asked.
Lauer has been labeled a ‘morning show lightweight’ by furious political pundits after he failed to grill Donald Trump on his claim he never supported the Iraq War during a Commander in Chief Forum on Wednesday night – but relentlessly questioned Hillary over her private email scandal.
The NBC Today show host was accused of going too easy on Trump when the Republican candidate repeated his claim to have always ‘totally opposed the Iraq war’, when in fact he supported an invasion during a 2002 Howard Stern interview.
Instead of stopping Trump in his tracks during the session at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, Lauer accepted his answer and immediately moved onto the next question – even though Clinton had told him during her interview beforehand that Trump had backed the war.
Lauer questioned Clinton for almost seven minutes of a 30 minute segment over her emails, many times talking over before demanding she only briefly touch on other important topics such as ISIS.
‘Lauer interrupted Clinton’s answers repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,’ wrote respected Capitol Hill watcher Norman Ornstein on Twitter, adding: ‘Tough to be a woman running for president.’
Indeed, the problem for many was that while Lauer seemed to aggressively question Clinton during the first segment of the forum, his questions to Trump were softer, weaker and open-ended, allowing Trump to ignore them or power through unscathed.
Lauer’s insistence on pressing and interrupting Clinton on her email debacle while breezing through Trump’s answers led to some accusing him of trying to prove his journalistic chops.
‘I think Matt Lauer was trying desperately to impress others in the press to prove he’s not just a morning show lightweight. Failed.
Democrats accused Lauer of ‘wasting time’ on a topic that has been discussed throughout the election, and then attempting to hurry Clinton along on later topics, insisting there was not enough time.
Matthew Gertz wrote on Twitter: ‘Maybe if Matt Lauer hadn’t spent 13 minutes on emails there’d be more time for ISIS.’
Commentator Guy Cecil added: ‘I take no issue with asking Hillary tough questions, but with all of the global challenges, this is a waste of time.’
Tommy Vietor, a former aide to President Obama, noted: ‘How in the hell does Lauer not factcheck Trump lying about Iraq? This is embarrassingly bad.’
‘Seriously — everyone, and I mean everyone, knew this would happen. And Matt Lauer didn’t have a followup planned?’ wrote political columnist Paul Krugman.
Glenn Kessler, the chief fact checker at The Washington Post, posted a link to NBC’s check of Trump’s claim and wrote: ‘Matt Lauer should have been prepared to do this.’
Matthew Yglesias wrote on Twitter: ‘So Matt Lauer’s plan is just to let Trump lie about his past statements on Iraq?’
Journalist Jonathan Chait observed: ‘Trump lies about opposing Iraq war. Lauer lets it go. No follow up. Unreal.’
In an article for New York Magazine he wrote: ‘Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking.’
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