Why calling Matt Lauer's interview with Hillary Clinton 'sexist' may be a misnomer - Firstpost
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Why calling Matt Lauer's interview with Hillary Clinton 'sexist' may be a misnomer


The Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer on NBC Wednesday night has severely been criticised for being misogynyst and liberal on Trump. Lauer also reportedly failed to fact check Trump’s statements and Clinton is definitely using it to her advantage.

File image of Hillary Clinton. AP

File image of Hillary Clinton. AP

The dailycaller reported that Clinton sent out an email to her supporters which read as, “Not only did the moderator, Matt Lauer, fail to fact-check Trump — he then kept the conversation moving.”

He is being grilled on social media for failing to challenge Trump when he said he was ‘always’ against the Iraq war. Let’s assume it was because of his ignorance of Trump’s earlier stand or a reluctance to counter him. Nevertheless, let’s focus on the broader part of his interview which has managed to irk so many people.

Lauer is being criticised by top media agencies in part for his failure to fact check Trump’s statement but, majorly because of his “constant” interruptions while interviewing Clinton.

The Slate is interested in “low-grade fever that caused Matt Lauer to continually interrupt Hillary Clinton’s sharp, specific answers to his questions.”

Keep in mind that in all probability Lauer did not want to favour Trump. He is closely associated with the Clinton campaign. The Dailymail reported that he is listed as a notable past member of the Clinton global initiative.

This was one of the concerns that the Trump camp had raised before agreeing to have Lauer as the moderator for the debate. One of the theories that emerge after reading his association with Clinton is, he might have appeared liberal with Trump is an attempt to dodge future allegations.

Let's subvert the situation and imagine that he had interrupted Trump instead of Clinton. Result: He would have been accused of being biased towards the Republican presidential candidate because of his past Clinton association.

What he did in the interview can be seen as a defensive move by him.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress tweeted that "many people are saying Lauer wouldn't have done this if Clinton was a man."

How can we declare his interruptions as a case of sexism or misogyny? If Clinton wasn't a woman and just another male presidential nominee and Lauer had done exactly the same thing, it would merely have been a question of favoritism.

Last, being a journalist hosting a show, he is bound by time constraints. The designated time for both the nominees was 30 minutes each. For the initial few questions, Clinton spoke at length with just some decent rebuttals from Lauer. However, as time moved on and Lauer still had a number of questions prepared for her, it is possible that he interrupted her or cut her short.

No journalist would want to exceed an interview when another presidential candidate is out waiting for his turn.

The NewYork Times highlighted an incident when Lauer interjected even before Clinton could being replying to an army veteran's question. She was asked to answer "as briefly as you can".

How can anyone look at it from a sexist point of view rather than sensing the panic that would have followed had Lauer allowed Clinton to go on for as long as she wanted. He would have exceeded the show's timing and managed to infuriate Trump.

First Published On : Sep 9, 2016 20:33 IST

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