Matt Lauer’s night moderating the NBC News presidential candidate forum was rough, with the media widely panning his questions to Hillary Clinton about her emails and his failure to fact check Donald Trump’s (false) claims that he opposed the Iraq War. But Lauer’s bad night didn’t let up as some of the late-night shows on Thursday took their turns criticizing his performance.
First, there was The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, with a reference to the USS Intrepid, the warship where the forum took place: “Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Did you know during World War II, on multiple occasions, kamikaze planes crashed into the Intrepid? And last night, Matt Lauer continued that tradition — because I don’t know what the fuck he was doing, and neither did he. Because with just 30 minutes to ask Hillary about her national security strategy, he spent one-third of her time digging through her inbox.”
Noah added, “Genuinely, guys, Matt Lauer and the NBC forum were not good last night. Because if he wasn’t good with Hillary Clinton, he was terrible when handling Trump — he just let Trump get away with blatant lies” about his positions on Iraq.
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, meanwhile, skewered Lauer in his show’s opening segment, which went up on YouTube with the title “Matt Lauer: A Complete Disgrace to Journalism.” “Since last night wasn’t technically a debate, there’s no real winner. But many have declared a loser: Matt Lauer,” Colbert said. “Last night, Twitter tore him a new tweethole with criticisms New York magazine summed up by saying, ‘Matt Lauer’s interviews of Clinton and Trump were a complete disgrace to journalism.’”
Moderating presidential debates and forums is tough, with a lot of pressure to get everything perfect. But Lauer’s performance was exceptionally bad. And Noah and Colbert milked it.