Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Daily Show Covers Hillary Clinton's (& Matt Lauer's) Rough Week

By Alex Lumley

This past week, Trevor Noah and his staff spent their time talking about Hillary Clinton and analyzing how other journalists are covering- or not covering- the candidates. Namely, Noah was critical of Matt Lauer for his perceived blundering of a conversation with Secretary Clinton. These topics, while certainly not new for The Daily Show, are rather interesting in that they’re not directly focused on the GOP and their golden man-child, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

TODAY show co-anchor (and Ohio University alum) Matt Lauer was put in charge of moderating NBC’s “Commander-In-Chief” forum last Wednesday. The forum was an opportunity for viewers to hear directly from both Clinton and Trump ahead of their first debate on September 26th. 

Many felt that the event was a disaster, citing Lauer’s moderation as the main problem. People felt as though he held Secretary Clinton to a higher standard than he did Mr. Trump. Trevor Noah took issue with a particular moment in the forum in which an audience member asked Clinton to elaborate on her plans on deploying troops to combat ISIS, and then Matt Lauer interjected “as briefly as you can” before she had the opportunity to respond. In an event entitled the “Commander-In-Chief” forum, Noah felt it was incredibly stupid for Lauer to ask her to rush through what was likely going to be a complex, detailed answer to a complex, detailed question. Especially considering how much time Lauer took talking about her e-mail scandal, a topic which at this point in time has been well and truly buried.

In fact, Noah spent quite a bit of time discussing Clinton and her campaign this week, a stark contrast with the past few weeks in which he’s spent more time than not talking about Donald Trump. That being said, Noah’s allocation of coverage is reflective of other major media outlets’ coverage, as was discussed last week.

Clinton had a bit of a rough weekend, as Noah discusses. First up was her “basket of deplorables” comment, in which she described half of Donald Trump’s supporters as “racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophonic, xenophobic,” etc. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trevor agreed with her- he used thinly veiled sarcasm by saying that she was wrong to call those people “deplorable,” saying that the term “duffel of dipshits” was a better term to group them all.

The Daily Show's fake list of potential terms Hillary Clinton may have used to describe Trump supporters before settling on "basket of deplorables."
Noah spent more time talking about Secretary Clinton’s weekend health scare. Rumors had been floating around for a few days before her 9/11 incident that she was in poor health. But funnily enough, Noah shows several clips of journalists reporting this information without any real sources- one person, when pressed for sources, said he heard of Clinton’s alleged near-death health issues “on Facebook.” Noah took the opportunity to point out rather sharply that getting information from people on Facebook whose opinions or credibility you may not trust in person seems rather foolish.

Then came Clinton’s health scare on Sunday, at which she fainted at a 9/11 remembrance event and had to be taken to her daughter’s nearby NYC apartment.  Clinton emerged two hours later waving to the cameras, seemingly fine. Later on in the day, a video surfaced on Twitter of Clinton needing to be carried into the van she was riding in, as she couldn’t stand on her own. Only after this video leaked did her campaign choose to reveal she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, a full two days beforehand.

This became a somewhat rare instance of Trevor taking Clinton to task, and admonishing her for not being transparent. He argued that Clinton should have told the press as soon as she found out she was ill instead of trying to pass it off as if everything was fine for several days, and only revealing it once she had publicly fainted and then a video leaked of her needing support just to stand.

That being said, the correspondent acting as Hillary in the show’s video segment that suggested some things Hillary might have said when exiting her daughter’s apartment did point out that had Hillary elected to rest up and miss the 9/11 remembrance event where she fainted, she may have been accused of being uncaring and unpatriotic, a frustrating double standard in which Hillary ma have been damned if she did, and damned if she didn’t.

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