ABC, CBS Move On from U.C. Berkeley’s Anti-Free Speech Riots

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter was set to speak at the University of California, Berkeley Thursday night but that plan was foiled by the threat of violence from radical leftists. “Now to Berkeley, California where new protests are breaking out tonight a day after conservative pundit Ann Coulter's plan to speak at U.C. Berkeley was abruptly canceled,” announced Anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News that same evening. Despite the still looming threat of riots, both ABC and CBS decided to move on from the free speech controversy.

CBS may have moved on, but they barely covered the anti-free speech riots, to begin with. The only coverage they granted the issue in the last two days was a meager news brief lasting roughly 20 seconds in the 4 a.m. hour of CBS Morning News on Thursday.

ABC only covered the situation Thursday morning during Good Morning America when it became apparent the event was called off. Correspondent Tom Llamas framed it as sparking a “debate” between “freedom of speech vs the safety of students.”

In sharp contrast, NBC’s report Thursday night marked the second day in a row that the network put a spotlight on the controversy.

“Today in Berkeley, protests are spilling into the streets but tonight, many fear violence will erupt,” reported NBC’s National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer. “The kind of confrontation U.C. Berkeley was hoping to avoid, canceling the speech scheduled for today by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter.”

Almaguer even spoke with what appeared to be students who supported Coulter’s right to speak there publicly. “Her not showing up, sets a dangerous precedent that violence works,” said one young man in a ‘make America great again’ hat. “I’m tired of seeing people show up and stifle free speech,” said another, draped in a Trump flag.

“We have two commitments, which are intentioned right now. One is to the first amendment and the other is to the safety of our students,” Dan Mogulof, the university’s assistant vice chancellor told NBC News.

In closing out his report, Almaguer seemed to scold Berkeley, saying: “Tonight on the streets of Berkley, unrest over the silence of free speech. The question now, at what cost?” That’s something none of the other networks in the Big Three cared to do. 

Transcript below:

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NBC Nightly News
April 27, 2017
7:13:37 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Now to Berkeley, California where new protests are breaking out tonight a day after conservative pundit Ann Coulter's plan to speak at U.C. Berkeley was abruptly canceled. The university said it feared another round of violent protests, with Coulter claiming she may go to the campus anyway. NBC National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer is there.

[Cuts to video]

MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Today in Berkeley, protests are spilling into the streets but tonight, many fear violence will erupt. The extreme left and right squaring off in bloody demonstrations in recent weeks, the kind of confrontation U.C. Berkeley was hoping to avoid, canceling the speech scheduled for today by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Her not showing up, sets a dangerous precedent that violence works.

ALMAGUER: With Coulter speaking in Modesto tomorrow, the university is still worried their campus will be turned into a battlefield. In February, there were fires and fights after alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos had his speech canceled.

DAN MOGULOF: We have two commitments, which are intentioned right now. One is to the first amendment and the other is to the safety of our students.

ALMAGUER: Many of the protesters aren't students. Both sides of this heated debate critical, Coulter was silenced.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: I’m tired of seeing people show up and stifle free speech

ALMAGUER: Police have been told some of the extremists arriving here could be carrying weapons, clubs, bags of rocks, even hammers. Arrests have already been made. Tonight on the streets of Berkley, unrest over the silence of free speech. The question now, at what cost? Miguel Almaguer, NBC news, Berkeley.

NBDaily Censorship Crime Culture/Society Bias by Omission Covert Liberal Activists Political Groups Communists Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Protesters ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Lester Holt Miguel Almaguer Ann Coulter

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