WASHINGTON, October 1, 2016 — NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer is on the outs with his media colleagues for not “fact-checking” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during last month’s televised “Commander-in-Chief Forum.”
Lauer let Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton make their statements, charges and counter-charges without interjecting himself much into the proceedings.
“Matt Lauer was tougher on Ryan Lochte than on Donald Trump,” tweeted the Washington Post’s political team. “It’s not a great idea, in general, for journalists to let politicians get away with bald-faced, on-camera lies,” added Vox’s Ezra Klein.
The media aren’t all that interested in fact-checking. Print journals would decimate North America’s old-growth forests if they attempted to fact-check every statement and obfuscation of Hillary Clinton and her support network within the government—the Departments of State and Justice and, of course, the FBI.
Jonathan Chait at New York magazine wrote in his criticism of Lauer, the presidential election of 2016 “pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian.”
In other words, “fact-checking” should be targeted attack.
HISTORY AS PROLOGUE
On January 17, 1997, Internet news pioneer Matt Drudge pressed his computer’s send button, releasing a story under the banner “World Exclusive” to the world-wide web.
At the last minute, at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, NEWSWEEK magazine killed a story that was destined to shake official Washington to its foundation: A White House intern carried on a sexual affair with the President of the United States … The Drudge Report has learned that reporter Michael Isikoff developed the story of his career, only to have it spiked by top NEWSWEEK suits hours before publication.
Nine days later, the Clinton denial machine swung into high gear. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” said a grim Bill Clinton to the American People in front of the White House press corps.
First Lady Hillary Clinton eventually appeared on NBC’s “Today” for an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer:
Lauer: “If an American president had an adulterous liaison in the White House and lied to cover it up, should the American people ask for his resignation?”
Clinton: “They should certainly be concerned about it.”
Lauer: “Should they ask for his resignation?”
Clinton: “Well, if all that were proven true, I think that would be a very serious offense. That is not going to be proven true.”
Mrs. Clinton followed up with what can best be described as a Shakespearean aside right out of “Richard III”:
I think we’re going to find some other things. And I think that when all of this is put into context, and we really look at the people [Bill’s female accusers] involved here, look at their motivations and look at their backgrounds, look at their past behavior, some folks are going to have a lot to answer for.
By “we” she meant the media.
Last January, in a rare moment of honesty, the New York Times’ Amy Chozick wrote that while First Lady, Clinton “referred to Monica Lewinsky … as a ‘narcissistic loony toon,’” and that “over the years, the Clinton effort to cast doubt on the women [Bill’s accusers] included using words like ‘floozy, ‘bimbo’ and ‘stalker.’”
As an Associated Press story from 1999 noted:
Journalist Christopher Hitchens has sworn an affidavit [in President Clinton’s impeachment trial] stating [longtime Clinton confidant Sidney] Blumenthal several times described Lewinsky as a ‘stalker’ and President Clinton as ‘the victim’ of a predatory and unstable young woman.
The late Christopher Hitchens was the only journalist with enough integrity—and guts—to swear under oath that Hillary Clinton’s hatchet man, a former journalist himself, attempted to enlist his help to discredit and besmirch the names of Bill Clinton’s sexual victims.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF FACT-CHECKING
At the conclusion of last Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump told reporters in the post-debate “spin room” he was happy that he held back “on the indiscretions with respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton and I just didn’t want to say what I was going to say.”
When media “fact-checkers” asked Trump what he meant, the candidate said, “I’ll tell you maybe at the next debate. We’ll see.”
“This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” said Clinton of Trump during Tuesday’s debate.
This is true, but he has never used the overwhelming power of the state to threaten and intimidate the innocent or used the nation’s media as a Praetorian Guard that either ignores or sullies the names of Clinton victims—like Juanita Broaddrick.
It’s time Trump takes off the gloves and takes advantage of the massive viewing audience for the second presidential debate on October 9. Then he can do a little Clinton fact-checking himself, right over the heads of the mainstream media’s “fact-checkers.”