On Thursday night, for the second night in a row, NBC Nightly News spent valuable air time trashing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for telling a group of high school students at a public event that they don’t have to wear masks.
Anchor Lester Holt opened the preposterous segment claiming that there was “outrage tonight from that scolding by Florida's Governor to a group of students because they wore masks.”
Correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported that there was “more fallout” from yesterday’s incident where Governor DeSantis “admonished” the high school students, even though DeSantis didn’t admonish the students. Almaguer added that this further highlights the “bitter divide over face masks.”
The Governor’s comments were so distressing to NBC that Almaguer tracked down the mother of one of the students from the DeSantis event for an interview.
Dawn Marshall, the mother of Florida high school student Eric Marshall, told Almaguer that she was “really appalled” and “almost jumped out of [her] skin” when she heard DeSantis telling her son that it was ok to take off his mask.
Almaguer noted that Marshall is “immunocompromised”, and was “furious by what the Governor said.” Marshall then kvetched that: “He took away my authority. He put my child at risk. He put me at risk because my child comes home to me.”
Marshall did her interview with Almaguer, along with her other press engagements, maskless.
To show just how serious NBC is taking this controversy, senior national correspondent Kate Snow decided to interview Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky.
Walensky arrogantly told the students that they “should have been comfortable wearing a mask.” Adding that wearing a mask “is absolutely their choice.” Which was exactly what DeSantis told the students:
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.
While wrapping up the segment, Almaguer smugly claimed that “while he [DeSantis] won't wear a mask, tonight he is the face of controversy.”
This is now the third straight news cycle of NBC News obsessing over DeSantis’s comment. The first was on Wednesday evening, and the second was from the Today show on Thursday morning. This shows how deeply afraid they are of Ron DeSantis’s possible presidential run in 2024.
To read the relevant transcript click “expand”:
NBC Nightly News
7:17:47 p.m. Eastern
LESTER HOLT: Outrage tonight from that scolding by Florida's Governor to a group of students because they wore masks, calling it political theater. It upset some parents and underscored the heated debate over masks. Here's Miguel Almaguer.
GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS: You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Tonight more fallout after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis admonished a group of high school students Wednesday.
DESANTIS: Honestly, it's not doing anything, and we got to stop with this COVID theater.
ALMAGUER: Highlighting yet again the bitter divide over face masks.
DESANTIS: So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.
ALMAGUER: And what they represent.
ALMAGUER: Eric Marshall was one of those students.
DAWN MARSHALL: I almost jumped out of my skin. I was really appalled.
ALMAGUER: His mother, Dawn who’s immunocompromised, was furious by what the Governor said.
MARSHALL: He took away my authority. He put my child at risk. He put me at risk because my child comes home to me.
ERIC MARSHALL: I was honestly not completely ready for it. I went to that USF press conference for thinking it was just a simple photo-op.
ALMAGUER: With mask mandates rolling back for the majority of the country, the CDC still recommends wearing them indoors where COVID levels are high, which is the case in Tampa, where the press conference was held. Today, Kate Snow spoke with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
ROCHELLE WALENSKY: So those students should have been comfortable wearing a mask. It is absolutely their choice.
ALMAGUER: Governor DeSantis doubled down today, calling masks political theater. Defending his comments and highlighting the incident in a fundraising letter. And while he won't wear a mask, tonight he is the face of controversy. Miguel Almaguer, NBC News.