Matt Lauer's moderation of NBC's Commander-in-Chief forum was widely panned—and deservedly so—but Lauer's fault was not that he did something unusual. To the contrary, Lauer's performance was a one hour microcosm of a year's worth of media coverage.There's much more at the link.
It included the three core elements of what has been a relentless double standard: Antagonism and scorn for Clinton, an unhealthy obsession with her emails, and sheepish acquiescence to Trump's lies.
The unfairness of it all became glaringly manifest when condensed into a 60 minute spectacle.
Lester Holt can learn from Lauer's mistake.
First, he can face the truth about the abysmal coverage of Hillary Clinton. Even as trust in the mass media plummets to new lows, too many of his fellow journalists are in denial about their Clinton problem. Second, he can prepare to call Trump's lies what they are. Third, he can keep the conversation focused on issues that matter to working Americans, not optics that only matter to elite reporters and well-paid pundits.
Here is the harsh truth Holt must face if he intends to do justice to his important role: The corporate media have spent 18 months repeating pervasive narratives about Hillary Clinton, priming news consumers to have a Pavlovian response to only a single word and doing their level best to set her up for defeat.
...The national media have been marching through the forest of this election for 18 months. Their reporting on Trump has been a haphazard meander from tree to tree. Their coverage of Clinton has been a focused trek, creating a path of well-tread grooves. Now every time a question settles into those grooves, voters know exactly where they're headed: Down the path that's been cut to a familiar destination. The destination is a caricature of Clinton as a corrupt, dishonest, and disliked monster.
Holt, and the following moderators, have a major task ahead of them. They must avoid that path.
Again, I will strongly encourage you, if you are on Twitter, to contact the moderators to #DemandFairDebates.
Monday, September 26: Lester Holt | @lesterholtnbc
Tuesday, October 4 (veep debate): Elaine Quijano | @elaine_quijano
Sunday, October 9: Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper | @martharaddatz and @andersoncooper
Wednesday, October 19: Chris Wallace | @foxnewssunday