In last night’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum,” NBC's Matt Lauer was widely panned as too easy on Donald Trump and unfair to Hillary Clinton. But to Fox News’ Outnumbered show, that’s what “fair and balanced” looks like!
The New York Times has an excellent write-up of what was wrong with Lauer’s moderation:
In general, though, Mr. Lauer’s questioning of Mr. Trump was like watching one student quiz another to prep for a test neither had done the reading for. The host asked soft open-ended questions that invited the candidate to answer with word clouds.
Mr. Lauer prefaced one question by saying that “nobody would expect you” to have read deeply into foreign policy before running for president. He asked Mr. Trump if he would be “prepared on Day 1,” a yes-or-no question that will elicit only one answer from any candidate not about to drop out.
Lauer was much tougher with Hillary Clinton but not in a way that seemed designed to help viewers understand her military or foreign policy prescriptions:
Mr. Lauer interviewed the candidates in turn for a half-hour each. He began by asking Mrs. Clinton to defend her use of a private email server as Secretary of State. And asking again. And again.
That emphasis left relatively little time for the forum’s foreign-policy and military subjects. Mr. Lauer and the audience asked about complex topics — the Middle East, terrorism, veterans’ affairs — and Mr. Lauer pressed for simple answers. “As briefly as you can,” he injected when an audience member asked how Mrs. Clinton would decide whether to deploy troops against the Islamic State.
And that’s not counting Lauer’s failure to fact-check Trump’s lie about opposing the Iraq war. Fox’s Chris Wallace has already promised not to do any fact checking when he takes the helm as moderator for the third and final presidential debate in October.
Even NBC executives thought Lauer was a “disaster.”
So it was no surprise that Fox’s Outnumbered panel would have loved it.
“When I saw the headlines this morning,” cohost Melissa Francis said, “I was wondering if I had watched the same thing everybody else had watched.”
“He couldn’t win for losing,” Francis continued sympathetically about Lauer. “I thought he was very tough.”
“Couldn’t win for losing,” cohost Harris Faulkner agreed. She praised Donald Trump for “legitimately” having talked about “U.S. military and foreign policy.”
Faulkner had no problem with Trump’s lie about the Iraq war (nor did anyone else on the panel) nor about his saying that our generals have been “reduced to rubble” and that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Barack Obama. Can you imagine the hours of outrage programming Fox would have gotten out of such a remark from Hillary Clinton?
“There were some opportunities for him to go in different directions that I felt like he didn’t go in,” Faulkner said cryptically about Lauer. Nobody wanted to know what those “different directions” might have been.
“The sexist thing is what really kind of grinds my gears,” Katherine Timpf added. “She wasn’t being treated unfairly, she was being treated fairly and people aren’t used to seeing that.
Faux liberal Eboni Williams (possibly eyeing one of the many newly vacant hosting spots at Fox) immediately jumped into her default position of attacking Clinton. I’ll bet Williams got Fox bonus points for making it about the emails. “I think it’s Hillary Clinton’s own fault that, you know, 13 minutes were taken up by emails because of choices she made as secretary of state.”
Williams also cryptically mentioned “other opportunities” Lauer didn’t take. But Williams was another who didn't mention Trump’s Iraq lie nor his outrageous statements about Putin and our generals. Williams did find time to knock Clinton again for not asserting herself and talking about what she wanted people to know. Williams even worked in some Fox-resumé-polishing praise for Mitt Romney's debate performance.
The show’s #OneLuckyGuy, David Asman, said Lauer had “stray[ed] off the liberal planation,” and predicted he’d correct course for the future.
“I think that he very much has the courage of his convictions,” Francis effused. “And he went down the road and he really held her feet to the fire.”
Finally, Faulkner offered some very mild criticism: “When you go down one road with one and then you decide to go down the other with the other, you don’t get very deep on either one and it doesn’t help anybody vote.”
Even Francis admitted that was a great point.
Watch the bias above, from the September 8 Outnumbered.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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