During Wednesday night’s primetime Commander-in-Chief Forum, NBC’s Matt Lauer displayed a pushy, impatient and borderline-rude grilling of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that was demonstrably absent during his 30-minute exchange with GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Lauer’s performance as moderator of what some are calling an unofficial dry run debate has been widely criticized by political commentators, analysts and journalists, mainly for spending a ridiculous amount of time on Clinton’s dead-end email issue. Then he kept attempting to cut her off, saying time was running short, when she wanted to respond with thorough answers on questions of national security.
North Carolina award-winning author and political consultant, Jack Prather, offered this assessment of Lauer’s performance:
Matt Lauer demonstrated how an inept, ill-prepared and faint-hearted moderator can spoil the results. By NOT following-up on several of Donald Trump’s blatant and easily discounted lies, especially his bogus claim that he opposed the Iraq War, and his trashing of Hillary Clinton for the bombing of Libya to stop dictator Muommar Khadafy’s looming genocide, which was identical to Trump’s own (taped) recommendation.
Clearly, Lauer was unbalanced in his attempt to hold the candidate’s feet to the fire. He challenged Clinton on her emails and position on the Iraq war, but he repeatedly let Trump slide by with his outlandish Iraq statement and other far-fetched claims like NSA agents being unhappy with the Obama administration for not following their policy recommendations.
How did Trump learn such a thing that would obviously result in security agents being jailed for revealing classified information? Did they verbalize any displeasure with the president for purposely ignoring NSA intelligence? No, they did not. Trump read their “body language.”
“What I did learn,” Trump said, “is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow … what our experts said to do … And I was very, very surprised,” Trump told Lauer. “I could tell — I’m pretty good with body language — I could tell they were not happy.”
The controversy over challenging a nominee’s truthfulness is something that is already being scrutinized after Chris Wallace from Fox News was chosen to moderate the third debate in Las Vegas on October 19. He made it clear he wouldn’t try to correct lies.
When asked during a recent interview with Howard Kurtz, Wallace responded to a direct question about what he will do if he suspects a blatant lie, “That’s not my job. It’s not my job to be a truth squad.”
Donald Trump previously made it clear that he would only debate under negotiated conditions and apparently having his answers challenged wouldn’t be to his liking. After all, he lashed back at Megyn Kelly during a GOP debate for her comments on how he treated women. And he wouldn’t want to deal with another Candy Crowley situation after she corrected Mitt Romney on his Benghazi statement during a 2012 presidential debate with Obama.
Trump lives in his own delusional fantasyland. But his throngs of uninformed followers are so ignorant of the political process they believe Trump can divine all his preposterous policy guarantees into reality then make everything great and wonderful, while lovely, pink unicorns fall from the sky.
It’s a perilous precedent to start if debate moderators are allowed to ignore false statements by putting it on the other candidate to challenge, when the truth is the most vital cure for ignorance and stupidity during a historically important election.
Feature image courtesy of nydailynews.com