Matt Lauer can’t stand up to a world-class bully

Matt Lauer can’t stand up to a world-class bully

Grant Campbell

Christopher Walker, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, NBC hosted a presidential forum where television journalist Matt Lauer interviewed the two presidential candidates, each getting thirty minutes of screen time.

The event itself was not advertised heavily by either political party, and it might not have made national news had it not been for the gross mishandling of the event by Matt Lauer.

When Hillary Clinton was up, Lauer tore into her email leaks, ruthlessly pursuing every answer he could get, not letting up for the entirety of the half hour. Even though her email scandal has been combed over again and again by the federal courts and the media, he pressed on.

If the same journalistic diligence is given to both sides, then all is fair. That, however, did not happen.

When Donald Trump’s turn came, Lauer not only lobbed him softballs, but he did not follow up or grill Trump on any of his answers. Trump has been inconsistent on the campaign trail, often saying one thing, then turning around and saying another.

On his campaign trail, Trump claimed, multiple times, that he opposed the war in Iraq, though there are interviews he gave where he clearly supported the invasion. Matt Lauer did not ask Trump follow-ups about this.

Trump blasted Clinton at the forum on her support to remove Muammar Gaddafi, even though Trump supported the move when it was discussed on a national scale. Lauer did not question Trump about it.

Throughout the entire forum, Trump talked over Lauer, and the conversation went in the direction Trump wanted it to go. Most of these on-screen journalists bend to Trump’s will, afraid to be attacked or made to look weak by Trump.

Even though the media likes to portray Trump as a clown, a coward and an idiot, it’s clear that journalists are scared of being on camera with him. Trump is a natural-born schoolyard bully, one whom journalists are scared to stand up to.

They might not like Trump; they might disagree with nearly everything he says; but when Trump is in a room, he commands it. Trump has an undeniable appeal to most people; it’s the reason he starred in an extremely successful reality television show.
Clinton’s campaign has found itself struggling to regain its momentum following her off-the-wall “deplorable” comment, her pneumonia diagnosis, and now, this. Although print journalism is on her side, Trump owns television.