Today show anchor/noted germophobe Matt Lauer is under fire today, not for the usual reasons but for a question he asked General Motors CEO Marry Barra in an interview. Barra appeared on Today yesterday to discuss GM’s alarming recall rate in recent years; at the end of the interview, Lauer asked Barra the following question: “You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom. … Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?”
Upset viewers mobilized on social media to criticize Lauer, effectively shifting the conversation from “What is GM’s role in the deaths of at least 13 motorists linked to faulty GM vehicles?” to “Why is Matt Lauer such a sexist jerk?”. Lauer took to Facebook to explain himself, saying that he wasn’t being sexist because he would have asked a male CEO the same question in some hypothetical scenario that hasn’t happened yet: “It’s an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing.”
Lauer can relate, of course, because he spends a lot of time away from home shooting Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?, hosting the Sochi Olympics in Russia after Bob Costas got pinkeye, and, as it happens, making PSAs that encourage fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives.