Lauer and Tur Share Trauma of Trump Attacking the Media

Promoting her new book about covering Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Katy Tur told co-host Matt Lauer that the then-presidential candidate’s public criticism of her reporting was “jarring” and “scary.” Lauer shared her fear as he recalled the “intense feeling” he got at Trump rallies when the Republican nominee would attack the liberal media.  

During the interview, Lauer sympathetically noted: “Not only did you cover the story, there were some moments during the campaign where you found yourself in the news, as well, as part of the story.” A clip followed of Trump denouncing Tur’s hostile coverage of his campaign: “She’s back there, little Katy. She’s back there. What a lie it was. Third-rate reporter, remember that. Third-rate.”

 


                        
Tur responded: “At first, he was very charming. And when he realized that his charm wasn’t going to change my reporting, he would go on the attack....What I did every day though...was go out and try and honestly report on what was happening and hold him accountable for the things that he said.”

Lauer continued to paint Tur as the victim: “You said you kept a diary. I would love to go back and read the entry in the diary on that day that he called you ‘little Katy Tur’ and you were ‘dishonest’ and things like that.” Tur melodramatically declared: “Well, that is in the book. And you can go back and read exactly what it felt like in that moment. It was jarring, it was scary, and it was one of those feelings that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.”

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The morning show host commiserated with her: “Yeah, I was at a few of his rallies when he would target the press. And although he never mentioned me by name, I do remember the entire room turning around and looking at the press pool....And it was a very intense feeling.”

Tur breathlessly explained: “We had to have armed security. And it wasn’t just NBC, it was the other networks as well. I think everyone except for Fox and CBS. The crowd would all – they would turn on us and they would yell. And he riled them up to do that.”

She clarified: “I’m not saying Donald Trump’s supporters were violent, angry people. Many of them were lovely and wonderful when you talked to them one-on-one.” However, Tur then warned: “The concern was what if there’s one person in that crowd who might take this too seriously? Who might feel like this is not just a show or part of the act and take it further.”

Earlier in the segment, the reporter laughably claimed that her lack of experience in political reporting before being assigned to cover Trump’s presidential run actually made her a fairer journalist:

I think that benefitted it greatly because Donald Trump was this outsider candidate, he’s a political neophyte. And everybody in Washington counted him out immediately. The headlines were so severe, “Donald Trump is running for president and it’s going to be hilarious.” And because I didn’t have those preconceived notions, because I wasn’t living in the bubble of Washington – not so say anything negative about Washington – but I do felt – feel like I was able to assess his support and the devotion that he found himself enjoying more easily.

In reality, throughout the campaign and in the first year of the Trump administration, Tur has consistently been on the attack. Back in February, she even suggested that the President’s criticism of the press went down a “dangerous path” that could lead to “suspicious deaths of journalists.”

The biased exchange was brought to viewers by Land Rover, Chevron, and Ross.

Here is a full transcript of the September 12 segment:

8:40 AM ET

MATT LAUER: We’re back, now, 8:40. When NBC’s Katy Tur was asked to move from London to New York to cover a reality TV star’s presidential run, she didn’t think she’d be here very long. Well, she is still here. Katy chronicles her 510 days on the campaign trail with President Trump in her new book. It’s called, Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History. Katie, good morning, it’s good to see you.

KATY TUR: Hey there, Matt.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tur, Trump & The Trail; Reporter’s Behind-the-Scenes Look at 2016 Campaign]

LAUER: The title says it all.

TUR: Yeah.

LAUER: I mean, Unbelievable. But as time has passed a little bit since Election Day, is your view of the campaign the same or has it evolved a little bit?

TUR: It is still unbelievable every single day. Especially when I went back and I wrote the book and I reviewed a lot of the diary notes that I took and all – a lot of the reporting that I did. I couldn’t believe that I experienced what I did. There were actual memories where I went back and I didn’t – I just didn’t think they happened.

LAUER: Didn’t remember.

TUR: And then I found a clip of it on television.

LAUER: You were in the thick of it and I think it’s important to remember that you didn’t have a ton of experience.

TUR: No.

LAUER: Following politics or covering politics before that.

TUR: No.

LAUER: Do you think that impacted your – the way you covered the campaign?

TUR: I think that benefitted it greatly because Donald Trump was this outsider candidate, he’s a political neophyte. And everybody in Washington counted him out immediately. The headlines were so severe, “Donald Trump is running for president and it’s going to be hilarious.” And because I didn’t have those preconceived notions, because I wasn’t living in the bubble of Washington – not so say anything negative about Washington – but I do felt – feel like I was able to assess his support and the devotion that he found himself enjoying more easily.

LAUER: Not only did you cover the story, there were some moments during the campaign where you found yourself in the news, as well, as part of the story. I want to play two clips. These are comments that Donald Trump made about you. I’ll put them together, we’ll talk about them on the other side.

DONALD TRUMP [DECEMBER 7, 2015]: She’s back there, little Katy. She’s back there. What a lie it was. Third-rate reporter, remember that. Third-rate.

TRUMP [MORNING JOE/NOVEMBER 11, 2015]: But actually, Katy Tur, what happened? She was so great, I just saw her back there, I gave her a big kiss.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Really?

TRUMP: She was fantastic.

BRZEZINSKI: Okay.

LAUER: How did you deal with the very different versions of Donald Trump, when it came to his attitude toward you?

TUR: It was like a rollercoaster. And you just had to put it aside and continue doing your job. Which is why I think I saw so many different mood swings with him. At first, he was very charming. And when he realized that his charm wasn’t going to change my reporting, he would go on the attack. But he switched back and forth like that throughout the entire campaign. What I did every day though, Matt, and you saw this, was go out and try and honestly report on what was happening and hold him accountable for the things that he said.

LAUER: You said you kept a diary. I would love to go back and read the entry in the diary on that day that he called you “little Katy Tur” and you were “dishonest” and things like that. 

TUR: Well, that is in the book. And you can go back and read exactly what it felt like in that moment. It was jarring, it was scary, and it was one of those feelings that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.

LAUER: Yeah, I was at a few of his rallies when he would target the press. And although he never mentioned me by name, I do remember the entire room turning around and looking at the press pool.

TUR: Yeah.

LAUER: And it was a very intense feeling.

TUR: We had to have armed security. And it wasn’t just NBC, it was the other networks as well. I think everyone except for Fox and CBS. The crowd would all – they would turn on us and they would yell. And he riled them up to do that. And I’m not saying Donald Trump’s supporters were violent, angry people. Many of them were lovely and wonderful when you talked to them one-on-one. The concern was what if there’s one person in that crowd who might take this too seriously? Who might feel like this is not just a show or part of the act and take it further.

LAUER: Another campaign coming up, faster than we’d all like to admit. Would you be part of that, as well?

TUR: Absolutely.

LAUER: You’d go back out on the road?

TUR: I would love to. I hope NBC says they want me to do it, I’d love it.

LAUER: Well, it’s an amazing account.

TUR: Thank you, Matt.

LAUER: It’s called Unbelievable, and it’s out today. Katy, thanks.

TUR: Thanks.

LAUER: Congrats.


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