Wednesday's "Today" featured a reunion of sorts between Matt Lauer and his former co-anchor Katie Couric, who stopped in to promote her new book.
That she was game to address the speculation frenzy as to whether she will leave CBS News is nice and all, but there's a larger ethical question to ask of NBC and Lauer: Was he the right person to conduct this interview?
Whether Lauer or "Today" like it or not, he is part of the Couric story. As recently as Sunday, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on the potential pairing of Couric and Lauer in the syndication marketplace. NBCUniversal will undoubtedly bid for her services; whether that will be a package deal with Lauer remains to be seen.
Given the potential vested interest both NBCUniversal and Lauer have in Couric, it probably would have made more sense to have someone else on the "Today" on-air team conduct this interview. Or not do the interview at all considering Couric isn't exactly hurting for promotional opportunities; she was on "The View" on Tuesday.
At the very least, Lauer could have referenced the fact that he himself has been the subject of significant speculation as far as his future with Couric. Instead, he tiptoed around this reality even as he devoted multiple questions regarding all the different routes Couric could take next. That's problematic because painting a picture of Couric's career options without mentioning himself is pure distortion, plain and simple.
That said, Lauer and Couric displayed the same easy chemistry they've always had throughout all their successful years on "Today." But putting them on air together, even under the guise of interviewer and guest, made the segment seem like a marketing platform to whet appetites for their combined services.