I’d say it feels like karma because he abused the tremendous power he enjoyed at NBC to pressure the women around him into sex, but who am I to question America’s feminist-in-chief?
The Clintons losing an election to a guy accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct feels sort of karmic too, since we’re on the subject.
When it came to sexism and the media, it was Weiner who brought up the elephant in the room, reading out a section of What Happened about the September 2016 Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC, in which the host separately interviewed both candidates but was notably tougher on Clinton than Trump. That host? Matt Lauer.
“Every day I believe more in karma,” Clinton said to that, referring further to several “men who shaped the narrative” during the campaign who have since been sidelined in the wave of sexual harassment scandals.
“I was ticked off,” she wrote in her book about the Lauer interview. “NBC knew exactly what it was doing here. The network was treating this like an episode of ‘The Apprentice,’ in which Trump stars and ratings soar.” I remember liberals freaking out last September after the interview, not so much because Lauer was unduly hard on Clinton but because he was soft on Trump. If the Commander-in-Chief Forum had been scheduled just one month later, it would have occurred right after the “Access Hollywood” tape and the first sexual assault allegations against Trump broke, which would have given it a very different tone. Imagine in hindsight the surreal spectacle of Matt farking Lauer lecturing Trump about how important it is to behave respectfully towards women, especially when they work for you.
In any case, Hillary wasn’t so ticked off at Lauer that she refused an invite to be interviewed by him just two months ago.
Speaking of which, how bad was it at the “Today” show? Awfully bad, claim the New York Post’s sources:
“Everybody at NBC knew about Matt Lauer’s sexually inappropriate behavior — and knew not to talk about it,” a current “Today” show staffer said.
“Women did complain about his behavior, and there were a lot of closed-door meetings before it was all brushed under the carpet.”
Another source said, “Some women did report it and were scared at the repercussions it would have on their careers. They complained, and nothing was done.”…
“The most horrible thing was that he made it clear that if they ever spoke out or crossed him, they would be fired from the show, negative stories leaked about them, and their careers would be destroyed,” [a third] source said.
“There was a boys’ club mentality in the control room and in the hallways,” said an NBC executive to the Post, with a woman “Today” staffer claiming “Matt controlled all of the women on the show and had all the men bowing and scraping to him.” Reading that, you would think the guy was such a singular world-beating LeBron-ish talent in his field that NBC simply had to indulge him his every whim, so irreplaceable was he. We’re talking about a morning chat-show host who spent most of his time helping celebrities promote their latest projects and smiling through cooking-tips segments. Someone on Twitter yesterday noted that for Lauer’s annual $25 million salary, NBC could have afforded to hire *300* serious journalists at $80,000 a year. There’s no degree of talent that would justify tolerating behavior of the sort he’s accused of, but the sheer triviality of his gig somehow makes NBC’s complicity feel worse. You can understand how people might blind themselves to the sins of a master of his craft because they value his art so highly, as repulsive as that phenomenon is. But Matt Lauer? Good lord.
Here’s an interesting video cooked up by the NYT of snippets from Lauer’s interviews of Clinton and Trump last fall. The underlying point is worth considering: Does a guy with Lauer’s “tendencies,” shall we say, inevitably treat women unfairly when interviewing them because he doesn’t respect them as people to the same degree he does men? Can you be professional towards women in your official duties when you’re known to hand out dildos as surprise “gifts” around the office? I don’t know. Each of these guys may compartmentalize his behavior differently. The idea that Lauer’s views of women *necessarily* infected how and why he interviewed the first woman presidential nominee the way he did seems to me unfalsifiable. Maybe, like 70 percent of the country, he just didn’t much care for Hillary Clinton personally. Maybe he wasn’t thrilled with her agenda. Or maybe he really did recognize a kindred spirit in the man who once told Billy Bush that women will supposedly “let” you do anything to them when you’re a star. Without psychoanalyzing Lauer, how can you say?