ABC, NBC and CBS routinely offer fawning coverage over Michelle Obama and her role as First Lady. However, a growing protest related to a planned gradation speech in Kansas has been ignored by the networks.
Fox and Friends covered the story on Sunday. Co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt explained, "The five high schools in the district would have a single ceremony, limiting the number of guests that each student can invite." She added, "Students and parents spoke out at a recent school board meeting saying that she might...upstage their big day." [MP3 audio here.] A Change.org petition has almost 2500 signatures requesting a return to "regular graduation."
NBC's Today on Monday and Tuesday found time for light-hearted pieces on Mrs. Obama's role at the White House Easter egg roll on Monday and again on Tuesday. ABC's Good Morning America touted the holiday event on Monday.
The Washington Post informed:
A spokesman for the school district said families and students were worried about whether the first lady’s presence would limit the number of tickets for the event, set for an 8,000-seat arena.
“It’s more about that they can’t get their entire family in and they have to change some arrangements for parties. That’s what’s causing the concern,” said Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka Kansas school district. “It’s not that they dislike their speaker. They are excited about the having the first lady, and overall it’s been very positive.”
On Monday, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lashed out at the students upset over the First Lady's visit, calling the complaints "asinine" and lecturing them to "keep those concerns to yourself."
On MSNBC, Reid Report anchor Joy Reid on Monday brought race into the story: Noting that the speech will be on the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, she asked the Post's Nia-Malika Henderson: "Is there a sense, you think potentially, that maybe these families just really want to have their day and not have that full weight of history bearing down on them?"
A transcript of the Fox and Friends story is below:
AINSLEY EARHARDT: Plus, a school district in Kansas has some parents up in arms over the First Lady. Michelle Obama is slated to be the speaker at the high school graduation in Topeka. The problem with this, the five high schools in the district would have a single ceremony, limiting the number of guests that each student can invite. Students and parents spoke out at a recent school board meeting saying that she might be – she might upstage their big day. And others say that the First Lady being there would politicize graduation. The First Lady's office has not commented but she was invited to recognize the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown versus Board of Education outlawing segregation in schools.