NBC's "Today" host Savannah Guthrie is taking heat following her Monday interview with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which left viewers fuming over Guthrie's "biased" questioning.
What are the details?
Sanders sat down with Guthrie on "Today" to give the Trump administration's reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller finding no evidence of President Donald Trump's campaign colluding with Russia.
Guthrie began by pressing Sanders on whether the president would be willing to "waive any claim of executive privilege" amid calls for the full Mueller report to be released. She then questioned claims that the investigation's wrap-up meant a complete exoneration of the president, saying it was inconclusive whether or not President Trump obstructed justice.
The host asked whether Trump owed Mueller an apology, saying, "For the last two years, the president has absolutely eviscerated Bob Mueller, a lifelong public servant, former Marine, a registered Republican, I might add. He's called him 'a national disgrace,' 'discredited,' 'a prosecutor-gone-rogue' who oversaw a gang of thugs."
"In the end, this individual conducted [an] investigation, came to a conclusion that ultimately cleared, as we discussed, the president," Guthrie continued. "Did Robert Mueller deserve better from the president than this kind of language and behavior?"
Sanders responded, "Frankly, I think the American people deserved better. They didn't deserve for the election of this president to try to be taken down."
"Wait a minute," Guthrie interrupted. "But the president's rhetoric about a public servant doing a job?"
"Are you kidding?" Sanders responded, arguing the president's rhetoric matched that of "the media and Democrats [who] have called the president an agent of a foreign government. That is an accusation equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country."
Undeterred, Guthrie pushed further, saying, "Wait a minute — you have kids and you know that if you say, 'Did you do this?' the answer isn't, 'Yeah, but my brother did that.' So let's talk about the president's behavior. He called Robert Mueller ... he trashed him for two years, and in the end, Mueller just did an investigation that, ultimately, the president considers a total exoneration of him. Does he owe Robert Mueller an apology for that kind of rhetoric?"
Sanders replied, "I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president — and they owe the American people — an apology."
How did viewers respond?
USA Today reported that Guthrie was "slammed" on social media, with several viewers taking to Twitter to decry the host's handling of the interview. Some criticized Guthrie for making it a practice to attack supporters of President Trump, with one asking, "Could Savannah Guthrie be any more biased? I hate the way she attacks anyone in the political realm who supports @POTUS."
Others hit out at the host for her demeanor toward the White House press secretary. One user said, "I hate seeing how media personalities like Savannah Guthrie think they don't have to use basic politeness when speaking to someone. Media will interview a serial killer and smile and joke with them but @PressSec is on and she acts like that."
A number of "Today" faithful also expressed their frustration. One viewer said, "@SavannahGuthrie I watch the Today Show faithfully. However, I get extremely disappointed with your inability to demonstrate a bipartisan perspective. Your interview with Ms. Huckabee shows your lack of support to our President. Your job is to be neutral NOT biased."
Some even vowed to shun the host, as one told Guthrie, "I will NOT watch you any longer. Enough is enough."
Guthrie faced further criticism from Media Research Center's NewsBusters, who declared of the interview, "Even when the facts prove that two years of media hype and speculation have been completely wrong, journalists like Guthrie still refuse to accept any responsibility."