Perhaps Matt Lauer should stick to wrangling the "Today" show puppy or organizing a welcome-home party for Al Roker. Because if there was any chance of the morning-show anchor moderating a presidential debate —which there wasn't, anyway —it's gone now.
In an interview with Republican candidate Donald Trump that aired Wednesday, the 19-year "Today" show veteranfailed to ask tough questions, even letting Trump glide by on a claim regarding his support of the war in Iraq that has been repeatedly disproven.
"Iheard Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war in Iraq," Trump said in the commander-in-chief forum, a town-hall style interview in front of a live audience."I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look before that."
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Instead of calling into questionwell-documented reportsthat in 2002, the candidate said he supported an Iraq invasion, Lauer quickly moved on to the next question regarding Trump's "temperament."
Yet, even thesenior political editor at NBC News (owned by the same company as Lauer's employer, mind you) has called out Trump's glaring misstatement of the truth.
Trump repeats that he was against the Iraq war from the outset.— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) September 8, 2016
That is not true.
Analysts have also called out Lauer for failing to ask any other tough questions on the candidate, including his attacks on a Gold Star family orhis recently ousted former campaign chief Paul Manafort and his ties to a pro-Russian political party.
Naturally, response online has been swift and brutal, with the hashtag#LaueringtheBartrending on Twitter early Thursday morning.
NBC, making CNN look legit since 2016. #LaueringTheBar— LifeBetweenTheEyes (@LifeBtwnTheEyes) September 8, 2016
No one could have predicted that someone who normally does waterskiing squirrel stories would have failed at real journalism #LaueringTheBar— Arthur Bannister (@NeverMetAMorph) September 8, 2016