By midday Friday, the liberal media’s primal instinct to defend Hillary Clinton and attack NBC’s Today co-host Matt Lauer dragged on past the 36 hours mark in smearing Lauer for simply asking her about the e-mail scandal on Wednesday night was on full display with Wednesday’s CNN Tonight excoriating Lauer’s questioning as an “embarrassment to journalism.”
Further, former Clinton administration official David Gergen and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof all lectured that their criticism of Lauer should serve as a warning shot to first debate moderator and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt that he better be “fair” or else (translation: go easy on Hillary).
Gergen kicked off the collective outrage on set when he suggested that there’s “a lot of blame” to have circulated Lauer’s way before ruling that a town-hall or extended interview setting “was the wrong format for Matt Lauer” even he’s “very gifted in many ways.”
When host Don Lemon tried to argue that one could opine Lauer was in a “tough” situation where “he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't” concerning his questioning, but Gergen shot back like a good liberal that Holt better have gotten the message concerning Hillary to not follow Lauer’s lead for the September 26 debate:
But you know what? I think the good news for Hillary coming out of the Matt Lauer thing is that Lester Holt is going to — is going to be the anchor host for the first debate. He has got to play it very, very fair and, you know, Chris Wallace from Fox News that I know and don't want to call people if they tell a lie. Matt Lauer — Lester Holt in the first debate will be under heavy pressure.
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Later in the show, Lemon simply asked Kristof about his grade for the forum and the liberal columnist exploded on Lauer for not really “talk[ing] enough about the issues” in what was “a little bit of an embarrassment to journalism frankly.”
As if Kristof were reading off of a script from Clinton’s Brooklyn campaign headquarters, he continued by thrashing Clinton’s e-mail scandal as being not really worthy anyone’s time because it’s been around for over a year and astoundingly, her behavior with the server wasn’t a “national security issue”:
You know, the first 10 minutes of Hillary Clinton's section was diverted by the e-mails, which were not exactly a new issue nor national security issue and there wasn't real follow-up, it was, or fact checking. So, I hope that that was not a preview of what we're going to see for the debates.
>> Find all of NewsBusters‘ coverage of the liberal media's Matt Lauer criticism here <<
Lauer tried to stick up for Lauer again as he did with Gergen but, like the earlier block, Lemon’s guest in Kristof wasn’t having it, instead admitting that “it is a tough job” but whined that Lauer “was very focused on his questions and wasn't fully listening to the other person and ready to jump in and I think that we, in the media business have to also think more broadly about the fact that we're devolving more toward entertainment and I think that Matt is very good at entertainment.”
Whether it’s CBS, CNN, or The New York Times, the onslaught against Lauer has served as a reminder to readers and viewers where exactly the media’s priorities lie, no matter who they end up going after (e.g. one of their own).
The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on September 8 can be found below.
CNN Tonight with Don Lemon
September 8, 2016
10:09 p.m. Eastern
DON LEMON: Yeah, people are saying. Where has this Hillary Clinton been, the one who is, you know, transparent now and is holding press conferences?
DAVID GERGEN: Well, I think she's been too hidden. I think they've been sitting on their lead. Frankly, she seemed rusty last night in that debate. She seem like, you know, she would have benefitted from taking more questions from supporters. So, I sort of wonder today, they want to get the rust off; they needed to do this pretty darn quick. You know, they've got this big debate coming up. They're got to get her in fighting form. You know, Donald Trump did pretty well. I mean, a lot of people are blaming Matt Lauer and I think there's a lot of blame to be —
LEMON: That really is the water cooler discussion today that everybody is talking about.
GERGEN: — everybody is being very tougher on her, and being much lighter on Trump in that sort of thing. But the fact is that Trump came out of last night doing pretty well against her and I think that's got to be a wake-up call for the Clinton campaign. Do not take this lightly. Do not assume that you can walk over this guy in a debate. He did pretty well in the Republican debates and you know, you should beat him, the American public expects you're going to beat him. You know, the CNN poll shows most Americans think she'll win. I don't think that's good news for her. You're better off being the underdog.
LEMON: Right. Because that, you know, motivates the supporters to go to the polls —
LEMON: — and say, oh, my God, you know, she's behind, but, you know, I have so much to get to.
LEMON: I want to get the polls and the bunch of things, but I want to ask you, how do you think Matt Lauer did last night?
GERGEN: This was the wrong format for Matt Lauer. He's, you know, he's a very gifted in many ways, but for someone like this —
LEMON: Do you think he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't last night? It's tough.
GERGEN: Yes. But you know what? I think the good news for Hillary coming out of the Matt Lauer thing is that Lester Holt is going to — is going to be the anchor host for the first debate. He has got to play it very, very fair.
GERGEN: And, you know, Chris Wallace from Fox News that I know and don't want to call people if they tell a lie. Matt Lauer — Lester Holt in the first debate will be under heavy pressure.
LEMON: One thing you can say about last night's forum in an election which has largely been devoid of policy, at least we are talking about the issues somewhat. What is your take on the forum last night?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Well, I mean, I thought we didn't really talk enough about the issues. I thought it was a little bit of an embarrassment to journalism frankly. You know, the first 10 minutes of Hillary Clinton's section was diverted by the e-mails, which were not exactly a new issue nor national security issue and there wasn't real follow-up, it was, or fact checking. So, I hope that that was not a preview of what we're going to see for the debates.
LEMON: What do think about the discussion today has been all over social media, pretty rough reviews in just about every newspaper of Matt Lauer? It's a tough job doing that, but how do you —
KRISTOF: Boy, I mean, it is a tough job but you had the sense that he was very focused on his questions and wasn't fully listening to the other person and ready to jump in and I think that we, in the media business have to also think more broadly about the fact that we're devolving more toward entertainment and I think that Matt is very good at entertainment. I think he's less good at international security issues and I think, you know, that's a weakness we're going to have to think about as we approach the debates.
BOB CUSACK: Oh, yes. I mean, I think this was kind of like the pre-season in the NFL. It wasn't very long, 30 minutes for each candidate. I think Matt Lauer certainly was interrupting Hillary Clinton more, but when you're in the situation — I mean, you know the situation, Don is that, you know, sometimes you do have to interrupt. But did he interrupt her more than Trump? Absolutely.