On Wednesday, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News both took issue with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis letting a group of High School students know that it is ok for them to take their masks off while they were standing behind him during a public event at the University of Florida.
CBS Evening News was the first to whine about DeSantis’s comments, with correspondent Mola Lenghi claiming the Governor “admonished” the students. Despite that claim, CBS then played Governor DeSantis’s comments which only proved it wasn’t “admonishing”:
You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it's not doing anything, and we got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.
Meanwhile, NBC expressed much of the same tone with correspondent Miguel Almaguer announced that the road back to the “new normal” after the COVID pandemic “may be bumpy with the country still divided.”
Immediately following that comment, NBC aired the soundbite from DeSantis, which suggested the Florida Governor is part of the problem of the division in the country.
The fact of the matter is that DeSantis didn’t “admonish”, berate, or order the high school students to take their masks off, he simply let them know that it was perfectly acceptable to finally take them off and allow themselves to breathe without a piece of cloth on their faces.
If you watch the video, you can see that the students were smiling when they took the masks off:
NEW: @GovRonDeSantis annoyed with USF students—— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 2, 2022
"You do not have to wear those masks. Please take them off. Honestly, it's not doing anything. We've gotta stop with this Covid theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous."https://t.co/7j1Pb2hV53 @WFLA pic.twitter.com/ZIOyTHLOh3
If CBS and NBC wanted to give their viewers both sides of the story they would've reached out to Governor DeSantis's Press Secretary Christina Pushaw for a statement from the Governor. But it's obvious they don't want to hear from the DeSantis team. Regardless, Pushaw's statement made the rounds on Twitter after local Florida station News Channel 8 published it:
“As the governor said, ‘you can wear them if you want’ but there’s ‘no evidence’ masks make any difference. That has been clear for a long time, and the data informed our state’s official guidance. Following Florida, the CDC has even stopped recommending mask-wearing for most Americans. After two years of mixed messages from health authorities and the media, the governor wants to make sure everyone is aware of the facts and data now, so they can feel free and comfortable without a mask.”
When a Republican elected official says or does something controversial, the media rarely allows for nuance. Which is quite the opposite of the way Democrats are treated by the media.
The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:
CBS Evening News
6:41:27 p.m. Eastern
MOLA LENGHI: Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis admonished a group of students at the University of Florida for wearing masks.
[cuts to video]
FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS: You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it's not doing anything, and we got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.
NBC Nightly News
7:15:01 p.m. Eastern
MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Unveiling a 96-page document with four main goals, the White House will still focus on vaccines. It's also investing in genomic sequencing as it braces for new variants. And in an effort to prevent economic and school shutdowns, starting next week, Americans can order additional free at-home testing kits, and if someone tests positive at a pharmacy or clinic, antiviral medications could be available on the spot. The initiative called "test to treat."
ALMAGUER: The President seems to be signaling we're entering a new normal. Is that right to interpret it that way?
DR. PETER HOTEZ (DEAN OF BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE): I think we're in a new good place. The level of transmission is way down. It gives us time to pause and reflect and really construct a good roadmap for where we're heading.
ALMAGUER: But that road may be bumpy with the country still divided. Florida's Governor today with high school students.
[cuts to video]
FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS: You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it's not doing anything, and we got to stop with this covid theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.
ALMAGUER: Tonight a nation exhausted navigating an evolving pandemic.