Matt Lauer slammed for Jerry Sandusky interview

Mar 26, 2013 at 1:22 p.m. ET

Matt Lauer and NBC are being slammed for running an interview with convicted Penn State child molester Jerry Sandusky — and The TODAY Show host is taking most of the heat.

Matt Lauer

NBC ran clips from a controversial documentary defending convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky on The TODAY Show this morning, and now Matt Lauer is taking the heat.

Lauer, who is already suffering a tarnished reputation after Ann Curry was unceremoniously dumped from the show reportedly at his behest, was visibly uncomfortable while talking with the documentary filmmaker John Ziegler — but that hasn't stopped the criticism heading his way.

The doc, called The Framing of Joe Paterno, features several sympathetic interviews with Sandusky, and Ziegler called the case against him "remarkably weak," although eventually conceded that the famed college football coach was guilty of "many, if not all, of the things he was convicted of."

TODAY even showed segments of Ziegler's interview with Sandusky laughing at the story of former assistant Mike McQueary, who testified that he saw the coach raping a young boy in the locker-room showers.

Many are up-in-arms about TODAY giving Sandusky a forum, albeit indirectly, including the late Joe Paterno's family who called it a "sad and unfortunate development" and "an insult to the victims and anyone who cares about the truth in this tragic story."

Now Lauer feels like he was set up for publicity's sake, says a source close to the show.

"Morale just couldn't get any lower among the cast and crew of TODAY. Matt feels that he was set up by producers to fail by participating in the interview with Ziegler. Matt didn't think it was a good idea to air it to begin with," the insider told RadarOnline. "Jerry Sandusky is a convicted child rapist, and Matt's feeling was, let's talk to the victims, and not him. However, he wanted to prove he was a team player and did it. Producers thought it would generate a lot of publicity, but no [one] had any idea it would have garnered so much controversy."

Tell us: Should TODAY have run the Jerry Sandusky interview?

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