NBC, Matt Lauer Taking Larry Craig Interview Into Prime Time

TV Newser reports "NBC News has released details of Matt Lauer's weekend interview with Sen. Larry Craig. The interview will air in a Matt Lauer Reports special tomorrow night at 8pm ET on NBC and on the Today show Wednesday morning." The airport bathroom sting, worthy of prime time?

Did NBC take Patrick Kennedy's Ambien Driving Tour into prime time? Will NBC have a prime-time interview with Rep. William Jefferson on his bribe money in the freezer? Lauer doesn't usually show up in prime time unless he's interviewing Britney Spears. How can the NBC News folks not look partisan in putting this in prime time?

A quick Nexis shows the Today show has never aired more than a brief anchor-read story on May 27, 2006 on William Jefferson's bribery scandal….but they're hounding Craig. By contrast, in August 2007, in the first seven days of the Craig scandal, Today mentioned Craig in the show's opening six of seven days (every day from Tuesday through Sunday), and aired ten reports or interviews and another six anchor briefs.

Matt Lauer betrayed the NBC bias on this issue in Today's show-opening question on August 31. It said please resign immediately:

LAUER: How much more humiliation can this man take?

Translation from NBC: we plan to keep humiliating you until you quit. Then, on the next morning, news came from Craig that he's quitting. Saturday Today anchor Lester Holt then led the show with this shameless new spin:

HOLT: Good morning. Ready to resign. NBC News has learned Idaho Senator Larry Craig will step down following his arrest in a men's room sex sting. Why was the Republican Party so quick to abandon him?

After day after day of pounding at the top of the Today show, it's an utter mystery to NBC that Craig would be taking calls from the top of the GOP telling him to just get out?

It's this kind of "reportage" that underlines that NBC isn't so much interested in demonstrating "news judgment," in comparing one politician to another by a single ethical standard. It's interested in political opportunism and influence-peddling. Let's make Craig resign, and then when he says he will, let's make the Republicans pay some more.

UPDATE: What? William Jefferson appears in court? Who would cover that?

Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the MediaResearchCenter.  This story appeared originally on Newsbusters.