CNN’s media team of Brian Stelter and Dylan Byers channeled the Left – and pretended it wasn’t the Left – in a “Reliable Sources” e-mail sent on Wednesday night after the NBC “commander-in-chief” forum. Like many leftists, they were upset Matt Lauer didn’t come to knock Trump off his chair and expose him as a moron.
Stelter began (bolding is his): "The candidates made a lot of news. But did the network ultimately lose by letting untruths go unchallenged? I've been scouring the web for positive comments about Matt Lauer's moderating. But the comments are almost universally negative..." They called it a "missed opportunity for fact-checking."
Stelter turned it over to his colleague Dylan Byers, who said Lauer was “widely panned by journalists and pundits,” but only quoted staunch leftists:
Memo to NBC News chief Andy Lack: Don't send Matt Lauer to do Chuck Todd's job. Lauer's handling of the forum was widely panned by journalists and pundits. He was criticized for spending too much time on Clinton's emails; lobbing softball questions to Trump; and neglecting to fact-check the GOP nominee for falsely claiming to have opposed the Iraq War. Read more...
-- About the Iraq falsehood, Paul Krugman tweeted: "Seriously -- everyone, and I mean everyone, knew this would happen. And Matt Lauer didn't have a follow-up planned?"
-- Jonathan Chait: "Lauer's performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking."
-- Matthew Yglesias: Trump "says it over and over again. And it’s not true. People need to know that. And Lauer totally blew it."
Let’s assume that’s about Trump claiming he opposed the Iraq war. CNN’s media team didn’t protest that Lauer also let Hillary say she has great respect for classified information and we didn’t lose an American in Libya. But they were Trump-obsessed, as usual.
People like Krugman are especially delusional right now in imagining the press are far tougher on Hillary Clinton. Lauer was certainly tougher on Clinton than conservatives expected, which is reflected in all this fury.
The Byers tantrum of Lauer-bashing continued:
A PR pro emails: “Lauer’s worst day on the air since Ann Curry tearfully signed off?"
On the other hand: Live TV is tough... especially tough when a presidential nominee trots out a lie. Lauer's approach led Trump to say shocking, headline-grabbing things about Putin, American generals, military sexual assault and other subjects... without turning Lauer into an adversary...
On the other, other hand: Journalists have to stand up for the truth. Lauer sat down.
A click on the “Read more” was more of the same, chronicling liberal outrage:
"This #NBCNewsForum feels like an embarrassment to journalism," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on Twitter.
"Lauer has done great interviews. But that's one of the weakest, least incisive performances I've seen from a presidential forum moderator," tweeted Will Saletan, a writer at Slate....
"I don't blame Lauer for asking the email question. But it's ABSURD that he started off with Trump, 'Why should you be Commander-in-Chief?'" Jon Favreau, the former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter.
Byers did include one Republican – who also thought Trump was under-punished. On Thursday morning, Byers promoted a New York Times story for backing him up. In a story headlined "Matt Lauer Fields Storm of Criticism Over Clinton-Trump Forum," Times reporter Michael Grynbaum did the same thing, claiming Lauer was savaged by "all stripes," and then just quoting liberals:
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.”
Then he quoted the angry surrogates on Team Hillary. The "consensus" of America if you live in Liberal Land is, to quote Grynbaum, "The criticism captured what has become a common complaint about media coverage during this election: that news organizations and interviewers treat Mrs. Clinton as a serious candidate worthy of tough questions, while Mr. Trump is sometimes handled more benignly."