Monday, April 30, 2007

A Big Media Lauer Lovefest

I try to avoid “puff” pieces in the TV news biz, particularly regarding some of our corporate media icons, but I did find this column by David Bauder of USA Today about Matt Lauer of The Today Show.

I have neither the time nor the desire to indulge in weekday morning television and thus can’t adequately critique Lauer in real time, so I’ll have to rely on Bauder when he says that Lauer’s questioning of his boss, MBC News President Steve Capus, about the whole Imus fiasco was “direct, sharp, and to the point.”

Oh, and I have to laugh when I read about how Lauer apparently was unforgiving to Capus, stating that “NBC was caving to pressure from advertisers and some of the loudest voices” when it let go of Imus. See, that’s an issue when it happens to someone who is sympathetic to the Repugs, as Imus was by granting them air time so frequently, but it’s OK when, say, a large segment of this country goes utterly insane at the sight of Janet Jackson’s 40-year-old, diamond-studded, African-American boob during the Super Bowl halftime show to the point where a 7-second delay was added to the performance of The Rolling Stones at the same venue the year after, and a song lyric by the group deemed controversial even though it had been heard on “classic rock” radio stations a million times before was edited out.

Well, as long as Bauder is creating this heroic narrative, I thought it would be a good idea to recall some episodes involving this supposedly evolving journalistic icon.

As you can read here, it would have been nice if Lauer had known, when interviewing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, that the Iraq Study Group report by Charles Duelfer had stated that Saddam Hussein had no formal strategy for reconstituting his WMD program after the first Gulf war, instead allowing her to state, unchallenged, that "it was clear that he was continuing to pursue (WMD).”

And Lauer acknowledged the Repug PR spin here on the "Pelosi and the plane" non-story, but still tried to turn it into a negative towards her at the end.

Oh, and of course, Lauer notes here that Pelosi is guilty of "bad behavior" in her trip to Syria, accused by Dick Cheney, a Ph.D candidate on the subject, reading off a list of unchallenged freeper talking points.

And as we all know, Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff also, according to Lauer, as well as Katie Couric and Timmeh Russert, although no proof has ever substantiated that charge (here).

So maybe instead of The Peacock Network blaming the fact that more people are getting their information in the morning online versus the teevee or crying about a lack of bad winter weather (happily, too late for that now), maybe they should make sure their lead person on their flagship morning show sitting in the big chair reports the news the way he’s supposed to (though he admittedly has a lot of company when it comes to falling down at that task).

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