lester holt debate moderator
NBC news anchor Lester Holt moderating the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Getty Images/Bryan Bedder

NBC news anchor Lester Holt sparked outrage on Twitter for what was perceived as a flattering coverage on North Korea. He suffered tremendous backlash on social media for saying he and his crew were treated with respect during their trip to the Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea — a country criticized for its totalitarian rule.

Holt said, "We arrived in the nation on Saturday quickly passed through the immigration after going through a very lengthy customs inspection of not only our equipment our personal items down to the novels were reading but we have been treated with respect here.”

Lester Holt
Moderator Lester Holt listens during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Sept. 26, 2016. Photo: Getty

On Monday, Holt was reporting for “Nightly News" from the Ski Resort where athletes from both North and South Korea were training together in a show of solidarity for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Both countries had a tumultuous relationship in the past, which simmered down when North Korea reached out to South to form an alliance ahead of the upcoming Olympics.

Following the coverage, Holt was criticized for his praise of the nation accused of prioritizing their military commitments over the welfare of its citizens.

In the coverage, Holt said, "I suspect we were invited here because it’s not what people expect to see in North Korea, a modern ski resort it’s patriotic music and videos blaring in the background with a lot of families out enjoying themselves. People have expressed a sense of optimism over the upcoming Olympics, they have a sense of pride that they will be competing together and some expressing a greater security given that the new alliance will quell some of the tension between the two nations."

Certain media outlets were quick to call out Holt for his praise for the country, claiming he was feeding propaganda with Twitter excerpts from viewers saying the resort seemed to be staged by the North Koreans.

Fox News alleged NBC anchors, in the past as well, had gone easy on dictators — Megyn Kelly’s interview with Russian President Valdimir Putin garnered tremendous backlash. It also reffered an incident in 2017 when NBC’s President Noah Oppenheim was criticized for traveling to North Korea.

This isn’t the first time Holt received backlash over a coverage. He was criticized during his stint as a presidential debate moderator in 2016. While some accused Holt for being biased toward presidential candidate Hilary Clinton as he frequently took her side when the democratic candidate's email scandal was briefly discussed.

Though the then Republican nominee Donald Trump initially praised Holt by stating to reporters that he did "a great job," he called later the anchor's questions "unfair." Holt's behavior during a heated conversation between Trump and Clinton was also heavily criticized.