Matt Lauer Gives a Master Class on How You Bomb an Interview With Donald Trump

The reactions have been swift and brutal.


Matt Lauer has been met with a firestorm of criticism for his lackluster performance during his televised forum with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. Journalists and viewers alike are taking the longtime NBC anchor to task for his handling of Trump’s portion of the event, in which he failed to pose tough questions or follow up on blatant falsehoods, such as the GOP nominee’s thoroughly debunked claim that he opposed the Iraq War before it started.

“I heard Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war in Iraq,” Trump said during the forum. “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look before that.”

As many outlets, including Mother Jones, have reported, Trump did in fact support the Iraq war. Yet Lauer failed to push back, instead gliding to the next question about concerns over Trump’s “temperament.” Questions about former campaign chief Paul Manafort, whose work for a pro-Russian political party, Ukraine, and other controversial lobbying clients contributed to his recent ouster; Trump’s attacks on the Khan family; or his own military deferments were nowhere to be found.

The reactions to Lauer’s performance were swift and brutal, and resulted in the hashtag #LaueringTheBar.

The silver lining is that Lauer won’t be moderating any of the upcoming presidential debates. But with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, one of the four journalists who were indeed picked, already balking at his job to be the “truth squad,” the final push to November is looking ever more excruciating.

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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