While Matt Lauer worried that Robert Gates's criticism of President Obama was "dangerous or dishonorable" on Monday's NBC Today, when disgruntled ex-Bush administration officials wrote memoirs bashing the former president in 2004 and 2008, the network morning show happily cheered them on.
On January 13, 2004 – exactly ten years prior to Lauer's Monday interview with Gates – then-Today co-host Katie Couric hyped former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's attacks on President George W. Bush in a new tell-all: "I think if I can sort of try to assess your description, as policy having no process, kind of being put together willy-nilly. You do describe him as 'a blind man in a room full of deaf people.'"
Touting O'Neill's claims critical of the Iraq war, Couric declared:
You saw a variety of documents, and nowhere did you ever see evidence....that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Well, an intelligent person would draw the conclusion that those charges were being trumped up by the administration as a rationale for the invasion....do you think an invasion of a country should be based on illusion and assertion?"
On May 29, 2008, then-co-host Meredith Vieira conducted an interview with former White House press secretary Scott McClellan about his anti-Bush memoir and actually urged him to offer harsher criticism against his former boss:
In the book you say the Bush administration made a decision to turn away from candor and honesty, and you point to the war in Iraq as the prime example....Innuendo, implication, shading the truth. You seem to stop just short of saying that President Bush and his administration flat out lied....however you word it, isn't it lying, Scott? Isn't that what they were doing?
Unlike Lauer's accusation on Monday that Gates was endangering the lives American troops by criticizing the commander-in-chief in a time of war, neither Couric nor Vieira expressed any such concerns at O'Neill and McClellan doing the same thing to President Bush. The hypocrisy is stunning.