Tuned In

Where in the World Is Matt Lauer's Dignity?

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I didn’t think I’d be able to work up much indignation over NBC’s bastardized news-division presentation of the Golden Globes: “Going for Gold: A Dateline Special.” It would, after all, not be the first time that a network’s journalists would be forced to compromise themselves in the name of making a buck or two million: see To Catch a Predator, most of the Today Show after the first seven minutes–and, of course, the primetime nooz specials that accompany many awards shows in normal years. Network news popped that particular cherry years ago.

But if there’s any life left in the little inner journalist chained to a radiator somewhere in Matt Lauer’s soul, Lauer should be ashamed of his role hosting NBC’s desperate attempt to salvage a few nickels from the writers’ strike-torpedoed Golden Globes. After a lame intro cobbled from film clips of the same actors who refused to attend a televised Globes, Lauer noted to the audience from Studio 8H, “As you’ve probably heard, the stars will not be taking to the red carpet tonight.”

Um, yeah, actually, I did hear that, Matt. So, care to tell us why? This is an NBC News program, right? You’re in the business of imparting information, right? But Lauer skipped over that embarrassing bit of background for his employer. I mean, it’s not as if I expected Lauer to do two hours on labor issues, but not even a sentence or two of answer, from a supposed journalist, to a glaringly obvious question involving actual news, before kicking off 120 minutes of fluff celebrity interviews?

Maybe I’m naive to have expected more from Lauer, who turned himself into a stuffed animal for the Today show years ago, but this just seems like the final indignity. There was plenty to go around, though; not content to pimp out its news division, NBC also conscripted its “Football Night in America” team to do color commentary on the Globes. Business is business, and NBC is glad to draft every part of its broadcasting empire for the greater cause of making a buck for their strike-defying overlords.

That, of course, hardly qualifies as news either.