All Articles Tagged "matt lauer"

Did Brian Williams’ ‘Today’ Show Interview Help?: Making A Professional Comeback After Lying

June 19th, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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Now that we have word of NBC’s plans for both Lester Holt and Brian Williams, it’s time for Williams to take to the airwaves in the hopes of rebuilding his career and reputation. Once the face of NBC News — smart, trusted, a leading voice for good journalism, and a good sport known for making a pit stop on the set of Jimmy Fallon’s late night show to slow jam the news — he’s now been pushed to MSNBC to start from scratch.

This morning, the Today show aired an interview taped over two days between Williams and Matt Lauer. Prefaced with Lauer’s note that there were “no conditions or guidelines” placed on the interview, he went about asking Williams direct questions about why he lied and what he learned from the humiliating experience of being caught and suspended.

By way of explaning the embellishments he made to his experiences covering big stories, Williams said, “It had to be ego that had to make me sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else.”

In that, Williams is not alone. Professionally speaking, there are only a few reasons why someone lies: to cover their a$$ after making a mistake, to play hooky, or to seem better and more important than they actually are. Williams’ reason falls squarely in the option three category.

For Williams, this is especially egregious. The facts are (supposed to be) at the heart of what journalists do. To that, Williams said, “I am sorry for what happened here… And I expect to be held to a different standard.”

In fact, for anyone in a position of authority, be it a manager or a high-level executive, there’s the expectation that this person is a leader in not just skill but rising to a certain level of integrity. Which is what makes getting snagged all the more embarrassing and cringeworthy.

The jury is still out on whether Williams is on the path to redemption. He’ll likely never rise to the status he once held. But holding a place at MSNBC, at the very least, leaves the door open for him to make segment appearances on NBC and slowly work himself back onto some top-level stories.

For the rest of us, the road back is a little easier and a little harder at the same time. Easier because we don’t have the glare of the media spotlight to answer to. Harder because it’s Williams’ fame that can also soften negative reactions from the bosses.

The first step, however, is a proper apology. The tail end of that interview has a good example of what an apology should sound like. There’s an admission of wrongdoing, what sounds like genuine contrition, and strong statements about his soul-searching and the changes he’s going to make going forward.

You must say the words, “I’m sorry.” You’ve heard the fake apologies on reality TV where the person has a million excuses for what they did and starts pointing out what others did — the mitigating factors — that prompted the bad behavior. Nope. That’s not an apology. That’s a concession. It’s meant to make the apologizing party sound like they’re taking the high road rather than admitting guilt. An apology is both taking responsibility and accepting the repercussions that come with wrongdoing.

Next, you have to be patient. Don’t expect to be brought back into the fold like nothing happened right away. You have to earn your good reputation again.

Finally, you have to do the work and act with integrity. If you’re given a second chance you have to prove why you’re deserving of it.

Really, there should be no lying to begin with. Be honest about all of your accomplishments (Claim them ladies! No need to wait to be acknowledged all the time!), but also be forthcoming about the errors and shortcomings. You’re human. And in the end, demonstrating that you know how to get the job done even when you’re working outside your area of expertise is a sign of just how fantastic you really are.

h/t Mediaite

Will You Watch? Janay Rice Set To Speak With Matt Lauer About Elevator Incident And More

November 14th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Janay Rice Set To Speak With Matt Lauer

Source: Instagram

Matt Lauer has been playing coy for at least a week now. It was about a week ago that rumors started to swirl that he would be interviewing Janay Rice, Ray Rice’s wife or both she and her husband together.

Well, someone let the cat out of the bag.

Franchon Parlour, a company that specializes in preparing clients for photo shoots, recently posted images of a very made up Janay, cameras in a living room and an NBC News logo on Instagram, leading us to believe that Janay was the main interview subject. The images have since been deleted from the Instagram page but there were others that appeared on the company’s Facebook page. Without the logo, of course.

I guess it’s really not that much of a secret anymore since Matt Lauer himself, confirmed to TMZ that the interview went off without a hitch.

The jury is still out on whether or not Lauer sat down with both Janay and Ray in their Maryland home but NBC sources told TMZ that Ray will make an appearance. Ray Rice’s people have not confirmed the news but TMZ was told that Ray was home when the interview took place…so all signs point to yes.

As you know the main reason for the sit down was so the couple could address the infamous surveillance footage which shows Ray Rice knocking Janay unconscious in an elevator back in February. And according to sources, Janay was very open about discussing the incident.

Other sources believe that Ray won’t be the only one making an appearance. Allegedly, Janay’s mother will be featured in the segment as well. It’s said that both of Janay’s parents are very supportive of the couple’s marriage.

It would have been nice to hear solely from Janay, considering we’ve already heard from Ray and even friends of the couple. But that’s not how the cookie crumbled, for whatever reason.

No official air date has been announced but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

“It Was A Moment Of Desperation” Shanesha Taylor Finally Gets To Tell Her Side Of The Story

July 25th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Today

Source: Today

We’ve been talking about Shanesha Taylor and her case, since she was arrested for leaving her two young sons in a car in Arizona while she went for a job interview. If you’ve been following her story here on MN, you know that we’ve empathized with her decision. It was clear that Taylor, who had experienced bouts of homelessness, was simply trying to provide for her family.

Earlier this morning, on the “Today Show,” Taylor and her lawyer Benjamin Taylor, no relation, sat with Matt Lauer to explain her thought process that day, her current custody status and what she would say to other people who may find themselves in her situation.

Matt Lauer, who came across as a bit callous to me, asked Taylor what caused her to make the decision to leave her children.

She answered, “It wasn’t necessarily a moment of decision. It was planned out beforehand and the plans fell through. I actually had a sitter scheduled and that person wasn’t available or I guess they flaked on me, I guess is the best way to say it.”

Lauer asked her again, specifically, what made her decide to leave her kids in the car.

“It was a moment of desperation. It was me knowing my family was in crisis and knowing that I had to make a choice between providing for me children or caring for my children.”

Then Lauer asked her, despite the circumstances, did she act reasonably or responsibly.

“That’s a difficult question because it’s making a choice out of desperation. It’s choosing what is the best option, what is the best thing to do in this particular situation, being able to provide food, a roof, clothes, shoes for them or take this moment and care for them.”

Lauer then attempted to summarize Taylor’s response asking her if she was saying “responsibility, in this context, is in the eye of the beholder.”

She agreed.

Then he asked her about her current custody situation and how often she gets to see her children.

Taylor said: “I saw them Monday. I get to see them every weekend. We definitely have a lot of family time and do as many activities as we can in a short, two day period.”

To which Lauer responded, I bet they still miss their mom though right?

Taylor agreed.

Then Lauer said Shanesha has kind of become the face of the working poor and asked her what her message might be to others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

“The message is: I understand your family is in crisis but reach out, seek that help. I do understand that there are holes in the governmental system, that they don’t necessarily have the funding or the programs available to help you but there are other sectors. There are the non-profit sectors that have stepped up to fill those gaps to make sure that families that are in crisis are being taken care of, so just reach out.”

I don’t know who could have done this interview, but Lauer just wasn’t the one. He lacked all types of compassion and empathy. There’s something so unsettling about a White, rich, man asking a Black, formerly poor, woman about her parenting decisions and whether or not she acted responsibly. It felt paternalistic and…cold. Who acts or makes any type of decision without taking the circumstances into account? That was the whole point. The circumstances were that she needed to feed her children and she needed a job to do that. I don’t know what Lauer’s personal thoughts about Taylor were going into this interview, but it seemed he let his bias show.

Watch the entire interview in the video below.


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“I Have My Doubts” Shellie Zimmerman Talks To Matt Lauer About Her Husband’s Innocence

September 26th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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shellie zimmerman talks to matt lauer

Source: NBC

It all seems like too little, too late now. But I’m still fascinated by the fact that Shellie Zimmerman seems to just be waking up to the fact that her husband George Zimmerman could have possibly killed Trayvon Martin not out of self defense but because he’s mentally and emotionally unstable.

In an interview this morning on “Today,” Shellie Zimmerman talks to Matt Lauer about how the recent altercation with George seemed to change her perception about what could have possibly happened the night Trayvon Martin was killed.

As we know, on September 5, Shellie filed for divorce from her husband. And then just four days later, George showed up at Shellie’s father’s house and threatened both she and his father-in-law. In her 911 call Shellie explained that she believed her husband had a gun and that she didn’t know what he was capable of.

Can we just stick a pin in the story for a minute? I need to ask Shellie a question: Honey, what do you mean you don’t know what George is capable of? He’s capable of killing an innocent child. That was never in question. In all fairness though, it feels a little bit different when your husband kills a stranger than him threatening you and your father. But back to the interview.

She said that while she didn’t actually see a gun in George’s hand, she knows her husband: “But I know my husband… I saw him in a stance — and a look in his eyes that I’ve never seen before, and he was putting his hand in his shirt, and saying, ‘Please step closer. Please step closer.’ I logically assumed he had a gun on him.”

And then in a conflicting statement she said, ” This person that I’m married to, that I’m divorcing, I’ve kind of realized now that I don’t know him.”

And then Matt asked her what we were all wondering, why didn’t she press charges. She explained that when the police arrived, they made it very clear that if she were to press charges, they all would be arrested; and since she’s still on probation, should would be the only one to stay in jail. I can’t say I would have done anything differently. But Shellie did say she regretted not pressing charges.

Matt Lauer then drilled in, reminding Shellie how much she had supported George throughout this whole ordeal, from lying under oath, to being in the court room to crying tears of joy when he was acquitted. Then he asked her had he really changed all that much in the two months since the trial ended to make her want to divorce him. She responded: “Yes. He has. He kind of treated me like I was disposable. He left, and went on a victory tour without me.”

Hopefully, she’s more disturbed by the fact that he went on a victory tour after killing a child and not the fact that he didn’t ask her to come along.

In the most compelling part of the interview, Matt Lauer asked her whether or not her recent interaction with her husband has changed her thoughts about her husband’s version of events the night he killed Trayvon.

She said: “I’m conflicted on that. I believe the evidence, but this revelation in my life has really helped me to take the blinders off and start to see things differently.”

And then just to be clear, Lauer asked again: “Let me make sure I understand. So you now doubt his innocence, at least the fact that he was acting on self-defense on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed?”

She said: “I think anyone would doubt that innocence because I don’t know the person that I have been married to.”

Yeah, girl.

Are you glad that Shellie is finally seeing what we’ve known all along or do you just find her comments to be annoying at this point?

You can watch the interview on the next page.

A Sickly-Looking Chris Brown Does His Best To Get Through “Fine China” On Today

August 30th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Chris Brown Today Show


I used to love Chris Brown, but these days, it’s very clear that the singer needs some rest (and some tea). Or maybe he just needs to give the falsetto a break? Anywho, the singer took the stage at the Today Show to promote his upcoming album X. Brown took the stage to do “Fine China,” “Love More” and his track with Sean Kingston called “Beat It,” but when Brown started the performance with “Fine China,” he looked tired and even on the sick side. He did his best with the dance moves, but vocally, he struggled with the popular track. In fact, his background singers carried him through the performance of that song, specifically the high parts that have given him trouble in previous performances of the song at awards shows. He tried his best to hit some of those difficult notes, but they were some grimace-inducing moments, unfortunately.

But hey, it was early. And by the time Brown moved on to “Love More” and a very short performance of “Beat It,” he did better.  He looked like he was having more fun the second and third time around. I definitely want to see Brown win, but I’d be remiss to act like I don’t notice the change in his voice and in his look. He looks so thin and tired all of the time, and all that smoking (cigarettes is what we’ve seen) is having a negative effect on his vocals. And when your only job in this business is to sing, you have to take care of that gift Breezy…

As for his short interview with Matt Lauer and Tamron Hall, he shut things down pretty quickly after Lauer tried to ask him something about the “negative” tweets he has sent out in the past few weeks, specifically ones he sent out after he was ordered to do more hours of community service. Brown told Lauer what he was talking about wasn’t music (so he had no response to it) and that “I’m going to continue to work for my fans and make sure they have fun.” Well, all right. Check out his performances below and let us know what you think!

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Take That Matt! Ann Curry Pulls In Great Ratings For First Special Since ‘Today’

July 1st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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When Ann Curry was fired from the Today show last year, one of the reasons for her dismissal was the show’s sagging ratings. After years of dominating the morning TV news pack, Good Morning America began to surge. Now it seems Curry is proving her television pull. Her recent primetime special come in strong Friday night.

The Huffington Post says that Ann Curry Reports, which aired at 10 p.m. on Friday, beat out all the other shows on NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS in viewers ages 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. In all, it drew 5.98 million total viewers, landing it in second place right after Dateline.

The ratings made the folks over at NBC News more than happy. Curry’s special pulled in higher ratings than Rock Center with Brian Williams, which was just canceled after it was unable to find its footing at a couple of different days and times.

After leaving Today, Curry was named a roving national and international correspondent for NBC News. But her on-air presence has been limited to a handful of reports and a brief stint guest-hosting NBC Nightly News.  We are sure this will change now that the ratings for Ann Curry Reports are in.

For the special, her first primetime special since leaving Today, Curry interviewed face transplant recipient Richard Norris.  Ironically, the report aired a year to the day since Curry’s last day on Today.

Many viewers took it personally and rallied against Matt Lauer when Curry was fired, blaming him for her ouster. Lauer denied any responsibility. Ratings over at the morning show sagged. Things had gotten so bad at one point Today was beaten in the ratings by a local show. The program has seen some bounce back, and a clear win last week with Lauer’s interview with Paula Deen. (BTW, rumor has it that Deen could be headed for Dancing With The Stars!!) For the first time since Nov. 2, the show beat GMA in the daily ratings, The New York Daily News reports.

Did you watch Ann Curry’s special? Do you want to see more of her on TV?

Paula Deen Says She Only Used The N-Word Once During ‘Today’ Show Appearance

June 26th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Joel Ginsburg/

Joel Ginsburg/

Paula Deen made a tearful appearance on the Today show this morning, telling Matt Lauer repeatedly that she’s not a racist and had only used the N-word once after she’d been held up at gunpoint.

Lauer began the interview with business questions, asking whether, if she were the Food Network, she would’ve made the same move.

“Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No,” she said. “I am so very thankful for the partners I have who believe in me.”

When asked if she was a racist, she answered simply, “No.” But then she went on to say, “I believe that every one of God’s creatures was created equal, no matter what church you go to pray. I believe that everyone should be treated equal, and that’s the way I was raised.”

After reiterating what she said in her deposition about not knowing what offends people, she pointed to the language that’s used by young people in her kitchens. “I go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other … it’s very distressing for me. I think for this problem to be worked on, these young people are gonna have to take control and start showing respect for each other.”

As for herself, she focused on her use of the N-word once when she had been held up at gunpoint. During her deposition, she admitted to using the word. In the interview, she insisted that the incident 30 years ago was the only time “in my 66 years on Earth that I have used it.” Rather, she focused on her family, emphasizing that “it’s just not part of who we are.” She even lashed out a bit at the top of the interview, saying that people who don’t know her are suddenly “experts” about her. Later she said that a lot of what’s being said about her are “lies.”

Finally, Deen addressed the audience, asking that if they’ve never said something they regretted then they should be the ones to throw stones.

“If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, then please pick up that stone and throw it at my head,” she said.

Online reaction read aloud after the interview showed there’s a split between those who support Deen and those who still think she should still be held accountable. She has been dropped by Smithfield Foods in addition to the Food Network. According to Lauer (who is being praised online for how he handled the interview), Deen continued to be “very emotional” after the interview was over.

Do you think Deen’s apology is enough? We’ve got the video after the jump.

Robin Roberts Is The Most Trusted TV News Personality In The US

May 8th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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(Photo By Donald Traill/Invison/AP)

(Photo By Donald Traill/Invison/AP)

Reader’s Digest has released its list of the 100 Most Trusted People, and the highest ranking TV news journalist is Robin Roberts. The magazine includes this quote with Roberts’ photo: “All [my parents] wanted was for us to be trustworthy citizens. And there’s a responsibility that goes with that, and it’s not something I take lightly.”

Other high-ranking African Americans on the list include Denzel Washington, who came in at number three, and Maya Angelou at number five. Tom Hanks topped the list.

GMA had a pretty strong showing on the list with Roberts’ co-host George Stephanopoulos coming in at number 57. Matt Lauer barely made the list at 97 and Savannah Guthrie, his relatively new co-anchor, came in at number 85. (Our fake boyfriend Anderson Cooper is at number 50.)

Lauer’s image has taken a very public beating in the wake of Ann Curry’s dismissal. Brian Stelter’s new book Top of the Morning continues the conversation as Lauer seems to be hard at work rebuilding his reputation with a visit to Jay Leno.

Which news anchors do you trust the most?

Just Say The Lines, Please: Entertainers Who Know How To Work A Nerve On Set

May 6th, 2013 - By Meg Butler
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Sometimes the drama going on behind the scenes of your favorite movies is more compelling than what’s in front of the camera. Some celebrities have managed to keep their public personas squeaky clean. But reports from the set say that they’re a nightmare to work with.

Stacey Dash

Image Source:

Stacey Dash

Stacey has been in tabloids recently for sticking her nose into Jay-Z and Bey’s business. But her attitude has been ruffling feathers for a while. She was fired from her lead role on the VH1 show “Single Ladies” because she picked fights with cast members and refused to say her lines when she thought she had better ones. Her co-star Lisa Raye told JET Magazine, “She had some issues. I’m not sure exactly what those issues were.” And those issues got her fired right after they wrapped filming for the season.

Kotb Killed It! Hoda Gets Raves For Her Stint As Early-Morning “Today” Show Host

April 11th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Screenshot of the hosts showing their rapport. Peter Kramer / NBC

Screenshot of the hosts showing their rapport. Peter Kramer / NBC

If you watched the Today show earlier this week (and the ratings indicate that fewer of you are) then you certainly noticed that Hoda Kotb was sitting in for Savannah Guthrie for a few days, putting her on camera much earlier than her usual fourth hour with Kathy Lee. We caught her a couple of times and thought she did a great job — engaging, funny, relatable, all the things that a morning show host should be. It’s been so long, you almost forget that she started out doing the news completely sober, without a sip of wine in sight. Apparently, we’re not the only ones who were impressed with her work beside Matt Lauer.

The New York Times’ media reporter Brian Stelter saw lots of tweets from people singing Hoda’s praises, many asking that Kotb stick with the job for the long-term. The Huffington Post notes that Kotb’s name had been in the running to replace Ann Curry when she was ousted from the program. However, the article says, Guthrie is in the chair and the network wouldn’t want to go through another major change so quickly.

But, Today has been thirsting for good news. A recent New York magazine feature went into great detail about the meltdown at the show in the wake of Curry’s removal, and the show lost the top spot in the ratings to GMA a few months ago, the first time that happened in 16 years.

HuffPo says the positive feedback will increase Hotb’s standing at the show, which we agree with. We’re, no doubt, going to see her sitting in for Guthrie more often. And who knows. Hoda’s great foil for KLG, but a more serious position could be in her future. The Today show blog has a montage of all the fun she had.