This is a position I may someday regret taking, but feel that Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show has become at the very least a competent interviewer. I base that on his interview this morning of Kitty Kelley, and on his interview of President Bush last week. That was the interview, you may remember, in which Bush said that he didn’t think the war on terror could ever be won.
Kitty Kelley wrote a book about the Bush family in which she accuses George W. of using cocaine at Camp David. I haven’t read that, so I won’t comment on HER journalism. But I applaud, first of all, NBC, for pushing through with its announced interview with Kelley despite reported pressure from the White House not to run it at all. That’s probably one benefit of media consolidation: if you’re owned by GE, you’re practically as big as the government, so you can stand up to them. Lauer also did a more than plausible job. With both Bush and Kelley, he stood his ground, thought on his feet, and was astute enough to ask a question again if it wasn’t answered the first time. If I were CJR, I’d give Lauer a laurel.