I woke up this morning and turned on NBC News for the 333rd time this year. When the headline came across the screen announcing Matt Lauer, the Today Show’s main news anchor for the past 21years, has been fired for allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, my jaw dropped. For the first time I wondered if I’ll be tuning back in for the 334th time tomorrow.
Lauer, of course, is not the first to be exposed in the sexual harassment scandal that is sweeping our nation. He is certainly, not even close to being the last “powerful” male figure who will undoubtedly lose respect, fame and a career over this inexcusable alleged behavior.
I’m writing about Matt Lauer, though, because, well, I love him. Every piece of news on this subject that has broke over the last few months is devastating, and there have been far too many men involved to begin to count.
But when the person named is someone you personally connect with: as a fan, viewer, source of inspiration or what have you, it becomes even more real. You can feel it settling in the pit of your stomach. All of a sudden you don’t know how to process it.
As an avid watcher of NBC News since I began watching the news, the organization and its correspondents have always embodied pure class to me. I admire the accuracy and professionalism of their reporting. Transparency has been there when it needed to be there, like today, when Savannah Guthrie and the rest of the team learned of Lauer’s firing just moments before going on-air. NBC, in my opinion, has always been committed to breaking stories and being respectful of those involved while doing so, from suspects, to victims, to accusers or the alleged.
And Matt Lauer was, until this morning, included in that idea in my head about NBC. I admired him for his reporting skills, charming personality, commitment to the news and on-air relationship with his colleagues. I can’t change the way I have viewed him for the last however many years I’ve been tuning into him and his team every morning. And that is why his firing is difficult to comprehend –how can you feel so many emotions at the same time?
I am upset by his sudden departure, but deeply saddened and angered by his behaviors behind-the-scenes that caused it. You mourn the loss of in some ways, a hero, and try to understand that the hero was not the person you thought they were all along. You think the person you admire could not be capable of such behavior and that they are simply above the other monsters who have been exposed in this unfortunate news storm. But that simply isn’t true.
It’s terrible to admit we might’ve seen this coming for Matt. I’m no stranger to the stories about his tumultuous relationship with former TODAY anchor Ann Curry, or the fact that he’s been rumored to be, well, kind of a dick. And yes, of course my opinion has instantly changed on the man starting right now. But you have to understand how people who loved these powerful men are feeling now to know they are no better than anyone else.
I’m not done talking or thinking about this and the implications it will have. I know that NBC News handled, and will continue to handle this in the most professional way possible as I would have expected, though I hoped it would never happen. If you’ve been following the story unfold this morning, you know there are still many details we will be waiting for to fully understand the scope of these allegations and the actions taken by the executives at NBC. So, we’ll be staying tuned to see what happens next.
Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
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