Trevor Noah’s Daily Show has never been as focused on media criticism as Jon Stewart’s was. But certain moments call for an exception, and Matt Lauer’s disastrous performance at Wednesday night’s NBC News Commander-in-Chief Forum was one of those moments.
“During World War II, on multiple occasions, kamikaze planes crashed into the Intrepid,” Noah said of the event’s dramatic venue. “And last night Matt Lauer continued that tradition, because I don't know what the fuck he was doing, and neither did he.” While the Today show host had just 30 minutes to question Hillary Clinton about foreign policy, he spent a third of his time “digging through her inbox.”
And though Noah did think the emails were a worthy topic of discussion, he said the “problem” became evident when one of the veterans in the audience finally asked how she plans to combat ISIS. Before Clinton could answer, Lauer told her to do so “as briefly as you can.”
“Are you shitting me?!” Noah exclaimed. “This event was called the Commander-in-Chief Forum. It’s the reason we’re watching, and because Matt Lauer spent so much time on his questions about emails, the actual questions from the actual veterans about the actual commander-in-chiefing gets reduced to a speed date.”
But if Noah thought Lauer was bad during Clinton’s portion of the forum, The Daily Show host said he was “terrible” when handling Trump, letting him “get away with blatant lies” about the GOP’s candidate’s alleged opposition to the Iraq War. “How did he just move on?” the host asked of Lauer’s refusal to correct Trump. “I would love to date Matt Lauer because getting busted would be impossible,” he added.
Noah went on to point out that Trump saying that he opposed the Iraq War in 2004 is like people voting against Trump in 2017. “And I know some people are saying, well, what did you expect, man? It was Matt Lauer. He’s just the host of a morning show, he doesn’t know how to push back,” he said. “But that’s why this is so disappointing, because that’s not true. Matt Lauer can take tough questions to very powerful people.”
As an example, Noah highlighted Lauer’s grilling of a Zayn Malik-less One Direction. “He called out One Direction in front of their fans, an army way stronger than Hillary and Trump will ever possess!” he said. “Come on, Matt Lauer, you didn’t flinch in front of a bunch of rich, powerful children. I can’t believe you couldn’t face down just one.”