Here's Why the Internet Is Done With Matt Lauer

September 8th 2016

Almie Rose

On Wednesday, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared in back-to-back interviews conducted by NBC's Matt Lauer at a MSNBC town hall billed as the Commander-in-Chief Forum.

One thing quickly became clear: Matt Lauer was uniting both parties — at least on Twitter — in their general frustration over his performance and questions.

The biggest complaints.

The biggest complaint against Lauer is that he was too easy on Trump, specifically when Trump claimed he never supported the war in Iraq, which a quick fact-check proves false.

New York Magazine captured why many were frustrated:

"Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, 'I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.' This is a lie. Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward. Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003? But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up."

And the Washington Post explained:

"Fact-checkers have scoured the Republican presidential nominee's pre-invasion statements about Iraq and found nothing resembling the forceful and prescient opposition he has described throughout the campaign. What they have found, instead, is a September 2002 interview in which Trump told Howard Stern that he supported the war, albeit reluctantly."

Thus, people felt as though Lauer was letting Trump get away with making false statements, while putting an unbalanced amount of scrutiny on Clinton and her emails — devoting 10 minutes of the 30 to the email topic.

Additionally, many felt that Lauer was sexist in his treatment of both candidates, viewing the interview as giving Trump wide berth, and frequently interrupting Clinton.

"Short on time, he repeatedly interrupted Mrs. Clinton in a way he didn’t with Mr. Trump. ('Let me finish,' she protested at one point.)," the New York Times' James Poniewozik wrote in a critique of Lauer.

"Candidates should expect to be challenged," Poniewozik continued. "They’re applying for a challenging job. But where Mr. Lauer treated Mrs. Clinton like someone running for president, he treated Mr. Trump like someone running to figure out how to be president, eventually."

But even those not supporting Clinton are angry with Lauer, believing that he wasn't as hard on Clinton as he could have been.


A quick glance at Twitter reveals a flurry of angry and disappointed tweets directed at Lauer, and the frustration even inspired a new and trending hashtag to explain their disappointment: #LaueringTheBar.

As of writing, Lauer has not yet responded to the criticism. His most recent tweet is "Looking forward to moderating the #NBCNewsForum next week. Hope you will tune in!"