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Matt Lauer Choice to Moderate Presidential Forum Sparks Criticism

Image: Matt Lauer Choice to Moderate Presidential Forum Sparks Criticism

Matt Lauer (AP)

By    |   Friday, 02 Sep 2016 04:25 PM

NBC's "Today" show co-anchor Matt Lauer is set to moderate the Commander-in-Chief Forum next week, where the two major-party presidential candidates will answer questions live in an event sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Hosted at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will both answer questions on the military, national security, and veterans' affairs in front of an audience of mostly veterans and servicemen. But the choice of Lauer has raised some criticism over reported ties to the Clinton Global Initiative, a part of the family's foundation.

Lauer was listed as a "notable past member" on the Clinton Global Initiative's website on a page with several prominent journalists that has since been removed, according to Mediaite. The page also listed Maria Bartiromo of CNBC and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, but Bartiromo has denied ever having been a member and NBC said the same about Lauer.

"Matt Lauer was not and is not a Clinton Global Initiative member," an NBC representative told Mediaite. "He interviewed President Clinton from a CGI conference for the Today show's live broadcast, not for the conference."

The Clinton Foundation told Mediaite that journalists who attend Initiative events are not required to pay a membership fee. In 2012, journalists were "reclassified" as "members of the media who participate as 'guests' rather than 'members' to acknowledge this distinction."

Also ahead of the event, Military Times reports that supporters of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson are unhappy about his exclusion from the forum.

"This is not about MSNBC," Dylan Milroy, a Marine Corps veteran behind the charge for Johnson to appear, told the Times. "This is about the IAVA claiming to represent... veterans while actively ignoring them by the masses."

Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for NBC, told the Times that they would prefer to give Johnson a separate event "in the near future" to discuss "the same set of issues related to national security and veterans."

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NBC's "Today" show co-anchor Matt Lauer is set to moderate the Commander-in-Chief Forum next week, where the two major-party presidential candidates will answer questions live in an event sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
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2016-25-02
Friday, 02 Sep 2016 04:25 PM
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