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NBC News Chairman Heaps Inexplicable Praise On Matt Lauer


Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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After the political media chattering class came down hard on Matt Lauer this week for being such a lame questioner at Wednesday night’s candidate form, Andy Lack, head honcho at NBC News, gave Lauer a kiss.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

In a way, it’s honorable that Lauer’s boss would back him.

But after such a weak performance, the compliments seem otherworldly.

“Against all odds we were able to bring the two presidential nominees together for the first time and presented an important examination of what each would bring to the role of Commander-in-Chief. Because of our event, national security has dominated the news cycle for days,” Lack wrote in a note to staff as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. “Every major paper and news broadcast around the world has led with headlines about Putin, Iraq, ISIS, and intelligence briefings. Matt did a tremendous job – driving one of the most serious discussions to date on these topics. Nearly 15 million people watched the event, and over 26 million tuned in at some point during the hour.” 

Lack isn’t the only one lacking common sense on this one.

“I thought Matt Lauer did a very good job,” GOP presidential contender Donald Trump said at the Values Voter Summit Friday afternoon in Washington “His questions to me were pretty tough.”

Now that’s saying something considering Trump detests the media even while simultaneously quoting them in his press releases.

In case you missed them, here are some complaints about Lauer:

“WOULDN’T WANT TO BE MATT LAUER RIGHT NOW!” wrote Politico media writer Joe Pompeo in his morning newsletter. “The ‘Today’ anchor was torn apart in real time last night (by the journalism commentariat on Twitter, but still) for his interview with Donald Trump during NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum with both candidates. In particular, many of the stones cast were a response to Lauer giving Trump a pass on his claims that he opposed the Iraq War. But really, at least judging by the immediate reactions, the whole thing was a massive whiff.”

Bill Grueskin, a Columbia journalism professor of professional practice (yes, ahem, this is his real title) and a WSJ veteran, gave Lauer a giant thumbs down.

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And others in a parade of hate…

“Hate media-on-media violence, but Trump’s support for the invasion of Iraq has been…rather well documented. No Lauer follow-up?” — Yahoo! News‘s Olivier Knox on NBC “TODAY” Show host Matt Lauer, who moderated the presidential debate forum Wednesday night.

“Matt Lauer racing through a list of questions, not much follow-up. Sometimes you have to stop, listen, change direction during interview.” — NYT‘s Adam Nagourney.

“Matt Lauer is completely witless, the low point of scripted interviewers who would never dream of asking follow-up questions.” — Rob Beschizza, editor, writer, developer, Boing Boing.

“Trump’s getting softer questions and Lauer mainly isn’t as aggressive. But Trumps still not doing great.” — TPM‘s Josh Marshall.