In one sense, you have to give NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt some credit. Never let it be said that he didn’t come into Monday night’s debate prepared. Holt watched the mainstream media crucify Matt Lauer after the Commander-In-Chief Forum, and he wasn’t about to make the same mistake. Registered Republican or not, Holt went to Hofstra knowing that to “do a good job” meant to play favorites. And he did so without hesitation.
The gambit worked. Unlike Lauer, Holt is being praised for his performance. While some (perpetually unhappy) liberals wanted him to exert more control over Donald Trump, the majority of media gadflies were excited about Holt’s willingness to play corner man for Hillary Clinton. To them, being anti-Trump is synonymous with being fair.
But again, you have to hand it to him. Unlike many of his colleagues, Holt is actually intelligent. He understands that blatant bias doesn’t help the cause. You have to be subtle about it. You can’t just stumble around like a bull in a china shop, spouting liberal nonsense to anyone who will listen. You have to put on a show of being impartial while gently guiding viewers to a predetermined point of view. And with his questions, his follow-ups, and his “fact checks,” Holt managed this delicate balance quite well. If being an excellent propagandist is a virtue, then Holt deserves all the praise he can get.
No doubt about it, Trump failed to bring his A+ game to the debate. He left easy points on the field, he appeared unprepared for questions you could have seen coming a mile away, and his incoherency on foreign policy was not encouraging. He had a chance to finish this race once and for all, and he did not. After an amazing first 30 minutes, his performance began to slowly decline. Hillary didn’t bring her A+ game, either, but she was far more consistent.
Thanks to Lester Holt and a mainstream media conglomerate that’s in the tank for Hillary, this wasn’t a fair fight. Unfortunately, the next two debates will probably not be much different. If Trump wants to win this thing, he must go beyond “good.” He needs to be invincible.