Hemmer, Kurtz Fire Back at Liberal Media for Throwing Hissy Fits Over Lauer’s Forum Performance

With so-called neutral media critics throwing temper tantrums late Wednesday and early Thursday about NBC’s Today co-host Matt Lauer harshly questioning both presidential  candidates (including Hillary Clinton) at the Commander in Chief Forum, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer and Howard Kurtz appeared to have had enough as they fired back at the desperate criticism on America’s Newsroom

Lost on writers like the ones that Tim Graham outlined this morning was the fact that there were many Trump supporters not happy with Lauer either so both Hemmer and Kurtz properly noted this fact and that it should instead lead to a conclusion that Lauer did a good job. 

“NBC moderator Matt Lauer in cross-hairs from all sides especially in the media over last night's commander-in-chief forum. New York Times saying that he hammered Clinton but surrendered to Trump. Trump supporters feeling exactly opposite,” Hemmer succinctly laid out before bringing on Kurtz. 

Kurtz began by noticing that “98% of the criticism of Matt Lauer is hyper-partisans on both sides with one exception which I’ll come to” later but added that, in his mind, Lauer “did a pretty solid job.”

Without citing NewsBusters, Kurtz referred to “conservative media sites” who were skeptical of how Lauer would perform and that he would go easy on Hillary but after seeing the questions he asked her (especially about her e-mail scandal), the MediaBuzz host deemed it to have featured “no softballs over the plate” and that Trump received the exactly same “major league pitching.”

Hemmer agreed and brought up the apoplectic The New York Times complaints that hinted Lauer’s interruptions of Clinton were sexist:

There is criticism for interruptions and I think you hear it from both sides, in the following bit from The New York Times: “‘Lauer interrupted Clinton's answer repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,’ Norman Ornstein, the political commentator, wrote a Twitter message, adding: ‘Tough to be a woman running for president.’” I think you can flip it around. I think Trump folks feel same way. 

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Kurtz immediately ripped the piece and the Center for American Progress for ignoring the fact that Lauer had less than 30 minutes with each candidate (factoring in commercials) and that he needed to work in audience questions in addition to his own.

“I think Hillary Clinton as is her style gets into the weeds of policy a bit gave longer answers and so, Matt Lauer as 24 minutes, he’s trying to move it along. We’ve all faced this. You don't want to over-interrupt and step on the person. The idea that it’s sexist, as the Center for American Progress, suggests to me to be silly. She should be held to the same standard and they both got tough questions,” Kurtz added before conceding that Lauer failed to push back on Trump’s assertion he was against the Iraq War from the beginning.

Instead of even entertaining the notion that both camps of supporters having gripes was a sign Lauer did his job, Kurtz’s fellow media analysts left their objectivity in the dust in the 12-24 hours since the forum to defend their liberal candidate at the expense of one of their own (see first presidential debate, 2012).

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s America’s Newsroom on September 8 can be found below.

FNC’s America’s Newsroom
September 8, 2016
10:35 a.m. Eastern

BILL HEMMER: NBC moderator Matt Lauer in cross-hairs from all sides especially in the media over last night's commander-in-chief forum. New York Times saying that he hammered Clinton but surrendered to Trump. Trump supporters feeling exactly opposite. Howard Kurtz, Fox News media analyst, host of MediaBuzz. Howie, how you doing? Good morning to you. 

HOWARD KURTZ: Good morning Bill.

HEMMER: Analyze it. How did it go? 

KURTZ: Well, you know, 98% of the criticism of Matt Lauer is hyper-partisans on both sides with one exception which I’ll come to think he did a pretty solid job. Ironically, conservative media sites, when the program was announced, said oh, he’s going to go easy on Hillary Clinton because he once went to a Clinton Foundation event. Let’s take a look at couple questions that Matt Lauer asked about the former secretary of state beginning with questions about here private email. 

MATT LAUER: You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn't it more than a mistake? Why wasn't it disqualifying? [SCREEN WIPE] How do you think these people feel when the person running to be their commander-in-chief says her vote to go to war in Iraq was a mistake? 

KURTZ: So, no softballs over the plate there, Bill and then, the similar treatment when Donald Trump took the chair moments later. 

LAUER: But what have you done in your life that prepares you to send men and women of the United States into harm's way? [SCREEN WIPE] When you say inflammatory things in a presidential campaign, it is different than saying them when you're commander-in-chief. If you say things you regret when you're commander-in-chief, you can spark a conflict, you can destablize a region. You can put American lives at risk. Can we afford to take that risk with you? 

KURTZ: That was major league pitching, Bill. 

HEMMER: Yeah. There is criticism for interruptions and I think you hear it from both sides, in the following bit from The New York Times: “‘Lauer interrupted Clinton's answer repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,’ Norman Ornstein, the political commentator, wrote a Twitter message, adding: ‘Tough to be a woman running for president.’” I think you can flip it around. I think Trump folks feel same way. What do you think, Howie? What have you picked up?

KURTZ: I think Hillary Clinton as is her style gets into the weeds of policy a bit gave longer answers and so, Matt Lauer as 24 minutes, he’s trying to move it along. We’ve all faced this. You don't want to over-interrupt and step on the person. The idea that it’s sexist, as the Center for American Progress, suggests to me to be silly. She should be held to the same standard and they both got tough questions. Now, the one place that Matt Lauer slipped up, when Donald Trump said I opposed war in Iraq and so forth because a year ago I interviewed Trump, I pressed him on the fact that there was evidence, there was no public record that he said anything in opposition. In fact, he said sympathetic things before the invasion ion March 2003. In 2004, a lot of people were against it. It was much easier to be against the war at that point. 

HEMMER: Watching thing on Twitter is something else. I think what organizers wanted more frankly questions from veterans but they are very pleased as Rieckhoff told us a few moments ago that they got some attention on this. We analyzed moderator a lot....

(....)

HEMMER: And head’s full with a lot of stuff. Thank you, Howie. Howie Kurtz there in Washington with some analysis there. I mean, when you consider the debates that we did over the last year, you have so much material you want to get to but if the answer lingers, I mean, you start cutting and cutting and cutting and you have to do it quickly. 

MARTHA MCCALLUM: You sure do. He went after her on the e-mail question quite heavily at top of that and as Howie pointed out, I think a lot of people thought he might go easier on her than he did on Trump. It’s a tough job. He had his work cut out for him last night.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Debates Media Bias Debate Double Standards Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Fox News Channel Other FNC Video Bill Hemmer Howard Kurtz Matt Lauer Hillary Clinton Donald Trump
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