Matt Lauer did not get high marks for moderating the first Clinton-Trump event

Matt Lauer hosted commander-in-chief forum with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"Twitter has a memo for NBC News," says CNN's Dylan Byers: "Don't send Matt Lauer to do a political journalist's job." Lauer interviewed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump back-to-back on Wednesday night at a forum sponsored by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the first event this election featuring both major-party nominees. "It was a high-stakes political moment, far from the chummier confines of the Today show and, for Matt Lauer, NBC's stalwart of the morning, a chance to prove his broadcasting mettle on the presidential stage, says Michael M. Grynbaum at The New York Times. "The consensus afterward was not kind."

Specifically, reporters, pundits, and other observers criticized Lauer for letting Trump get away with stating falsely that he always opposed the Iraq War, generally lobbing softball or open-ended questions at the Republican nominee, and declining to follow up when Trump evaded ones he did not like. On the other hand, Lauer was seen as being aggressive and single-minded with Clinton. "Liberals and conservatives were split about Lauer's decision to open his questioning of Clinton with the controversy over her private email server," Byers said. "But when the issue persisted 10 minutes into the 30-minute segment, and he was later forced to tell Clinton to be 'brief' on the subject of ISIS, he was slammed for dedicating so much time to the topic."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.