Moderator Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News, asks a question during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Monday(AP)
Moderator Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News, asks a question during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Monday(AP)

‘Not too intrusive’ moderator Lester Holt scores for ‘really good job’

NBC News veteran Lester Holt was moderating his first general election debate on Monday night, making him solely responsible for the questions asked each candidate and for steering the conversation.
By AP, New York
UPDATED ON SEP 27, 2016 11:43 AM IST

NBC’s Lester Holt struggled to keep control of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, learning the dangers of fact-checking in the midst of a tense confrontation being viewed by tens of millions of people.

The NBC News veteran was moderating his first general election debate on Monday night, making him solely responsible for the questions asked each candidate and for steering the conversation. He asked tough questions on the birther controversy, Donald Trump’s decision not to release tax returns and Clinton’s e-mail scandal.

His tensest confrontations came with Trump, and some of the Republican’s supporters rushed to defend their candidate online.

At first, Holt let the conversation flow and the candidates go after each other. It’s a strategy many debate moderators prefer but left him vulnerable to criticism that he had lost control of the action. The first subject area that Holt introduced, intended to last for 15 minutes, stretched for nearly 45 minutes.

He constantly needed to remind the candidates to stick to time limits, which was tough when they decided to steamroll over him. At one point he said, “20 seconds” when Trump tried to make a point, but it stretched to 55 seconds before Holt could get in another question.

Later in the debate, Holt interjected some fact-checking, raising Trump’s ire in the process. That had been a major issue going into Monday evening, with the Clinton campaign arguing that fact-checking should be part of a moderator’s job and the Trump campaign saying it should be left up to the candidates.

Holt’s NBC colleague, Matt Lauer, was criticised for not challenging Trump at a forum earlier this month when the candidate said he had opposed the war in Iraq — when there is interview footage from 2002 that shows otherwise. The issue came up again on Monday, with Trump saying it was “wrong, wrong, wrong” that he initially supported the war.

“I was against the war in Iraq,” Trump said.

Replied Holt: “The record shows otherwise.”

“The record shows that I’m right,” Trump argued.

When Trump advocated for the “stop-and-frisk” police policy, Holt told him that it was declared unconstitutional in New York largely because it singled out black and Latino young men.

“No, you’re wrong,” Trump said, adding that he believed the court decision would have been overturned on appeal.

Holt later brought up the issue of Trump’s questioning whether President Barack Obama had been born in the United States, and asked him what made him conclude this month that Obama was indeed a legitimate citizen. Trump twice did not address the question, and cut Holt off when he tried a third approach.

“What do you say to American people of colour...” Holt started asking.

“I say nothing,” Trump replied.

Read | The debate as it happened

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump greet moderator Lester Holt after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead. (AP)
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump greet moderator Lester Holt after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead. (AP)

Republicans criticised Trump after the debate for bringing up more issues that were damaging to Trump and ignoring issues that would have reflected more poorly on Clinton.

“Lester Holt clearly heard cries of his colleagues in the liberal media to be tough on Trump and ease up on Hillary loud and clear,” tweeted Brent Bozell, president of the conservative media watchdogs Media Research Center.

In an interview after the debate, however, Trump said he thought Holt did “a really good job. I thought it was great.” He said he thought a lot of good and important topics were brought up.

One media observer, columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, tweeted that “Lester Holt has done a fine job as moderator. Not too intrusive, moving things along, fact-checking when necessary.”

In a reflection of the attention paid to Holt, his voter registration became an issue last week.

“Lester is a Democrat,” Trump said in a Fox News Channel interview. “It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats.”

Holt, however, is a registered Republican, according to New York state voting records.

Asked about the misstatement on Monday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC that it wasn’t a lie because Trump didn’t know Holt’s voter registration.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz will team up to moderator the second presidential debate, with Chris Wallace of Fox News in charge of the third.

Full US Elections coverage

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Barricades are seen outside the Saint Lucia's Cathedral, the main Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. (AFP)
Barricades are seen outside the Saint Lucia's Cathedral, the main Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. (AFP)

Easter Sunday bombings: Lankan Catholic Church declares Black Sunday on March 7

AP, Colombo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:03 PM IST
  • Church leaders have asked their congregations to attend Mass on Sunday dressed in black. Church bells will toll at 8: 45 a.m., the time of the near-simultaneous attacks.
Close
As reported by Mashable, Amazon would not officially admit that this was the reason behind the redesigning icon.(REUTERS)
As reported by Mashable, Amazon would not officially admit that this was the reason behind the redesigning icon.(REUTERS)

Amazon tweaks its app icon after 'Hitler moustache' comparison

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | ANI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:33 PM IST
  • The new design is very similar, but the adhesive tape strip has been redesigned to look nothing like a moustache.
Close
In April 2020, the bank set up a mechanism to offer emergency assistance program loans to its member countries(Reuters)
In April 2020, the bank set up a mechanism to offer emergency assistance program loans to its member countries(Reuters)

BRICS bank grants over USD 1 billion Covid-19 assistance loan to China

PTI, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:31 PM IST
This is the second emergency loan for the same amount approved by the NDB to help China fight the pandemic.
Close
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil.(AFP)
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil.(AFP)

Coronavirus variant infected many already recovered from Covid-19: Study

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:10 PM IST
  • The researchers estimated that the variant evades 25-61 per cent of protective immunity arising from infection with previously circulating variants.
Close
Residents wearing masks to protect from the coronavirus visits a popular retail street near a poster advocating for vaccination to fight the coronavirus on the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo)
Residents wearing masks to protect from the coronavirus visits a popular retail street near a poster advocating for vaccination to fight the coronavirus on the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo)

Aim to vaccinate 40% citizens by end of July: China

Reuters, Beijing
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:12 PM IST
Zhong Nanshan, a coronavirus expert who helped shape China's COVID-19 response, said on Monday the current ratio of vaccine doses administered per 100 people in China is 3.56, much lower than those in Israel, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Close
A general view of the Chinese-managed terminal of the Colombo port is seen from the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. (AFP)
A general view of the Chinese-managed terminal of the Colombo port is seen from the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. (AFP)

Sri Lanka offers to develop new port terminal with India, Japan amid differences

PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:41 PM IST
  • Caving in to pressure from labour unions, Sri Lanka decided on February 1 to scrap the agreement signed with India and Japan on developing the East Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo port.
Close
Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China in this file photo from 2018. (REUTERS)
Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China in this file photo from 2018. (REUTERS)

China's ex-finance minister says nation's fiscal situation 'extremely severe'

ANI, Beijing
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:15 PM IST
Lou offered his sharp critique in December but the assessment has only been made public more recently, with just days to go before China's political elites meet for their annual legislative session.
Close
The army seized power after its allegations of fraud in Nov. 8 elections were rejected.. (AP Photo)(AP)
The army seized power after its allegations of fraud in Nov. 8 elections were rejected.. (AP Photo)(AP)

Doctors, teachers, a fortune-teller amongst Myanmar's new wave of detainees

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:24 PM IST
  • Some detainees are survivors of prison under the former junta. Some were taken from their homes, hundreds were seized by riot police and soldiers who charged down protests against the coup
Close
Vernon Jordan arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the kickoff of former US President Bill Clinton's memoirs.(REUTERS / File Photo)
Vernon Jordan arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the kickoff of former US President Bill Clinton's memoirs.(REUTERS / File Photo)

US rights activist, former Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan dies at 85: Report

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:13 PM IST
Jordan's role as a Washington insider took him all the way to the White House, where he was a close friend and adviser to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Close
US President Joe Biden called the jailing of Navalny “politically motivated.”(Bloomberg)
US President Joe Biden called the jailing of Navalny “politically motivated.”(Bloomberg)

US announces sanctions on Russian officials, businesses for Navalny's poisoning

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:42 PM IST
  • The sanctions are the first ordered by President Joe Biden against Russia and will help set the tone for his relations with Putin.
Close
Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan in this file photo in this file photo from 2012. (AP Photo)
Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan in this file photo in this file photo from 2012. (AP Photo)

Taliban collecting funds openly, Pak govt turning blind eye: Report

ANI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:25 PM IST
Afridi said, "Whenever there are important meetings of important organisations like the United Nations and FATF, these terrorists and terrorist organisations are banned but the moment these meetings are finished, they resurface".
Close
The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, US.(REUTERS)
The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, US.(REUTERS)

Merck to help make Johnson & Johnson's single-shot Covid-19 vaccine: Report

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:29 PM IST
US-based Merck halted the development of two of its own coronavirus vaccines in January to instead focus on its two Covid-19 treatments.
Close
Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it would develop another terminal — West Container Terminal — at the same port with India and Japan.(Reuters | Representational image)
Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it would develop another terminal — West Container Terminal — at the same port with India and Japan.(Reuters | Representational image)

Sri Lanka approves new port development with India and Japan

AP, Colombo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:15 PM IST
Sri Lanka halted the 2019 agreement for India and Japan to develop and operate the crucial East Container Terminal at Colombo Port after weeks of protests by trade unions and opposition parties.
Close
A German police staff member receives AstraZeneca's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Munich, Germany.(REUTERS)
A German police staff member receives AstraZeneca's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Munich, Germany.(REUTERS)

Covid-19: Which countries have most number of fully vaccinated people?

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:08 PM IST
  • The number of fully vaccinated people are nowhere near the number of doses administered since most of the countries are using Covid-19 vaccines that require a two-doses regimen.
Close
Since January 2020, Austria has had a coalition government under center-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that includes the environmentalist Green party, which oversees the powerful climate, environment and energy ministry.(Pixabay/ Representational Photo)
Since January 2020, Austria has had a coalition government under center-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that includes the environmentalist Green party, which oversees the powerful climate, environment and energy ministry.(Pixabay/ Representational Photo)

Multiple sclerosis patient sues Austria over health impact of climate change

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:06 PM IST
  • The case being filed next month before the European Court of Human Rights is supported by the environmental group Fridays for Future, which is helping to crowdfund the legal costs.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP