By: Geoffrey Dickens
March 29, 2010 12:04 ET
Laura Ingraham didn't waste any time getting into it with NBC's Matt Lauer, on Monday's Today, as the conservative talk show host and author took Lauer, his colleague George Lewis and MSNBC to task for their slanted reporting of Sarah Palin and the tea party. After a Lewis set-up piece, in which the reporter asked if Palin gets "people too riled up?" Ingraham, in her interview with Lauer, charged him with bias: "How do you go from Sarah Palin giving a speech to saying did she rile up the people too much and then talk about death threats? I think that kind of reporting, really is what drives people crazy about the dinosaur media." Lauer countered that "some people" have noted that Palin's "comments" and "graphics" have "incited some people."
Later on in the interview Lauer claimed Palin was "polarizing" to which Ingraham, citing low approval ratings for Obamacare, fired back at Lauer: "Well I think that, if you want to look at polarizing people right now, I wouldn't look at Palin, I'd look at Barack Obama."[audio available here]
Finally Lauer, making his best attempt at being balanced, asked if there was too much "vitriol" and "intimidation" from both sides. Ingraham acknowledged that "folks get angry" on from the right and left, but then slammed MSNBC for stoking that vitriol as she threw back at Lauer: "We have people on, frankly, your cable channel saying really hateful things about conservative commentators and politicians" as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Let me ask you this. Given the current - you've, you've covered and you've commented on the political dynamic-
LAUER: -for an awfully long time. When you look at what's going on right now, the vitriol, the comments, the intimidation, vand-, and I'm not talking about from one side. It's happening both directions. Vandalism, threats to violence. Can you compare it to any other time in your experience?
INGRAHAM: Well I think that what we're seeing now is that the people feel like they, the people in Congress don't have their consent to govern them. They keep doing things that are incredibly unpopular. And so when that happens, folks get angry. And there's gonna be freaks in every movement, Matt. I mean we have the anti-WTO protestors throwing stuff. We have, we have Code Pink camping out at George Bush's ranch during his time. We have people on, frankly, your cable channel saying really hateful things about conservative commentators and politicians. And I say more speech not less-
LAUER: Laura, Laura-
INGRAHAM: - but no vandalism. No threats-
INGRAHAM: And look, you know, we got people riled up-
INGRAHAM: -because there, there are big issues being decided.
LAUER: -those hateful words go both ways. Let's be honest here.
INGRAHAM: Yeah but you guys don't report on them, unless they're, they're being made from the supposed right! I wish the same reports and condemnation were coming, when they come from the right. That's where I think people think the media coverage is not all that fair, sometimes, Matt.
The following is a full transcript of the Lewis segment that Ingraham critiqued, followed by her full interview with Lauer as it was aired on the March 29 Today show:
CONTINUED.....with video goodness :)