Wednesday saw a Presidential Forum on MSNBC hosted by Matt Lauer. The event was seen as a debate practice of sorts for nominee’s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The event lasted one hour, with 30 minutes dedicated to each candidate. They appeared on stage directly after one another, but were not on stage at the same time, also asked not to speak about one another but to focus on their own merits.
Matt Lauer dedicated almost 50% of Hillary’s time to discussing emails, refusing to accept any of Hillary’s answers. Then when Trump came on stage he wore kid gloves, not giving follow up questions, not calling him out on inaccurate statements the way he asserted he was doing with Hillary.
The internet noticed how badly Lauer performed as a moderator.
Via NYTimes: Journalists and longtime political observers pounced. “How in the hell does Lauer not factcheck Trump lying about Iraq? This is embarrassingly bad,” wrote Tommy Vietor, a former aide to President Obama. Glenn Kessler, the chief fact checker at The Washington Post, posted a link to NBC’s check of Mr. Trump’s claim and wrote: “@MLauer should have been prepared to do this.”
“Lauer interrupted Clinton’s answers repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,” Norman Ornstein, the political commentator, wrote in a Twitter message, adding: “Tough to be a woman running for president.”
On social media, surrogates for Mrs. Clinton began mounting a sustained attack on the anchor. “Imagine if @NBCNews had done its job,” wrote Nick Merrill, her press secretary, on Twitter. Neera Tanden, a close Clinton ally, was even harsher: “I guess the good news is that Matt Lauer isn’t moderating an actual debate,” she wrote.