NBC fixture Matt Lauer has been the focus of a torrent of criticism over what his detractors say was a feeble performance during a high-profile interview forum featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“Lauer was criticized by Clinton supporters for grilling the candidate on her email scandal and rushing the Democrat through answers on other topics, and for being too deferential to Trump,” The New York Post’s Page Six reports. “In a fundraising letter a day later, Clinton’s camp even mentioned that Lauer ‘fell flat.’”
But the report cites sources saying Lauer was “hung out to dry” by NBC executives over the forum.
A source told the publication that Andrew Lack, the NBC News and MSNBC chairman, was the one calling the shots.
“The source said Lack was controlling the interview, including the decision to move Clinton along during certain questions and to linger on the emails,” The Post reports.
The report adds that as Lauer was under fire in the aftermath of the forum, Lack sent around a memo to staffers praising the effort.
The Post quotes Lack saying in the memo: “We were able to bring the two presidential nominees together for the first time and presented an important examination of what each would bring to the role of commander in chief. My deepest thanks to everyone who helped pull off this remarkable achievement.”
Said one source: “Andy Lack was trying to cover his butt, too. Apparently, he got heat for pushing the email questions.”