Matt Lauer’s 20-year position at NBC allowed him to frame the way stories about powerful women and Very Bad Men were told — and not told.

In September 2016, Matt Lauer came under fire for his treatment of then–presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the NBC Commander in Chief Forum.

The format of the forum had Clinton answering questions for 30 minutes, followed by Donald Trump doing the same. During Clinton’s turn, Lauer focused one-third of that time on seemingly prepared questions about her private email server. He asked tough follow-up questions, and interrupted her answers more than once. By the time a veteran in the audience could ask Clinton a specific question about how she would deploy troops to combat ISIS ― the type of inquiry that would allow her to show Americans her understanding of foreign policy and her concrete plans should she become Commander in Chief ― Lauer cut in before she could answer, asking that her response be delivered “as briefly as you can.”

In contrast, Lauer went relatively easy on Trump. Lauer did not interrupt or ask a follow-up question when Trump brazenly lied about consistently opposing the Iraq War. And though Lauer did push back on Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he certainly did not spend 10 minutes on the subject.  


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