NBC, CBS Justify Leftist Students Shouting Down ‘Controversial’ DeVos

After Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was rudely shouted down by left-wing students during a commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday, NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning actually attempted to justify the disrespectful behavior.

At the top of Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted the incident: “Chilly Reception. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gets booed during a commencement speech at a historically black college. What was behind the anger and how the school is defending it’s choice to let her speak.” Footage played of DeVos being jeered.

Minutes later, rather than be critical of the protesters, fellow co-host Matt Lauer framed the story this way: “A Florida college is defending its decision to invite controversial Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker.” He went on to excuse the actions of the students: “She upset critics in February when she called historically black colleges ‘pioneers of educational choice.’"

He noted how she had clarified the months-old comments at the time: “She later acknowledged that they were created because other schools were not open to African Americans.”

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Only briefly did Lauer mention the school administration’s “defense” of inviting the head of the Education Department to speak – as if they needed to provide one: “The school’s president defended inviting DeVos, saying it does not benefit students when voices they disagree with are suppressed.”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell recited the same liberal talking points on the topic: “Many graduates turned their backs on DeVos yesterday at Bethune-Cookman University. They were upset because earlier this year DeVos caused an uproar when she called historically black universities ‘pioneers in school choice.’”  

Absent from any of the coverage was that the college’s president took to the podium to admonish the students for their shameful display.

Here are transcripts of the May 11 coverage on the NBC and CBS morning shows:

Today
7:01 AM ET TEASE:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chilly Reception.

BETSY DEVOS: I am moved –

[CROWD BOOING]

GUTHRIE: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gets booed during a commencement speech at a historically black college. What was behind the anger and how the school is defending it’s choice to let her speak.

7:15 AM ET SEGMENT:

MATT LAUER: A Florida college is defending its decision to invite controversial Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Education Secretary DeVos Booed; Graduates Angered by Earlier Comments on School Choice]

DeVos was booed Wednesday during an appearance at the historically black school.

BETSY DEVOS: I am honored to become a Wildcat.

[CROWD BOOING]  

LAUER: Some of the graduates at the at Bethune-Cookman University turned their backs on DeVos when she began to speak.

She upset critics in February when she called historically black colleges “pioneers of educational choice.” She later acknowledged that they were created because other schools were not open to African Americans.

The school’s president defended inviting DeVos, saying it does not benefit students when voices they disagree with are suppressed.


CBS This Morning
7:19 AM ET  

NORAH O’DONNELL: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is responding to students who booed during her commencement address in Florida.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Turning Their Backs; DeVos Booed at Historically Black College Ceremony]

[CROWD BOOING]

O’DONNELL: Many graduates turned their backs on DeVos yesterday at Bethune-Cookman University. They were upset because earlier this year DeVos caused an uproar when she called historically black universities “pioneers in school choice.”

After yesterday’s speech, DeVos said she respects people who attended, “including those who demonstrated their disagreement.”

CyberAlerts Education Higher Education Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Protesters CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Matt Lauer Norah O'Donnell Betsy DeVos