February 7, 2017.
Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education. Many media outlets both online and in print have been quick to undermine DeVos by reintroducing her lack of experience in education and issues about what her financial privilege has done for her thus far. Yet, other news outlets such as Fox News brush aside such issues and focus on why Betsy DeVos would be an exceptional figure in this position.
According to Fox News in this article, DeVos is an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education because she was nominated by President Trump to take on this role. A role that the article suggests she is best suited for due to her extensive history in politics However, it’s important to understand that, while the author, Michael J. Petrilli, is initially consistent with the general reputation of Fox News as leaning conservative, he begins to shift his tone into a more moderate one.
While Petrilli addresses the delight of Trump supporters and people who want to see DeVos succeed, he addresses their victory. He addresses that people have the right to support her because, like this incoming administration, it won’t be consistent with Obama’s administration. Petrilli also addresses the opposition to DeVos’s confirmation, and not in the way that most Fox reporters would. Instead, he writes:
“The grassroots energy around the DeVos confirmation fight demonstrates that Americans care deeply about their schools. That’s good news. The even better news is that parents and teachers can now focus that energy on changing policies closer to home, where the action is, rather than in Washington, D.C. And the U.S. Department of Education can go back to being the sleepy agency it was always meant to be.”
And that is the note he ends on. That the opposition to DeVos is inherently a good thing. It means our democracy works. It means that our democracy is engaging. That particular section isn’t defending or criticizing DeVos, but rather making a commentary about what her confirmation means to the American people. Petrilli doesn’t just report what happened in whatever angle or agenda he chooses to write to uphold, but he goes the extra mile to write about the very real people the confirmation affects and the very real actions that they set in motion. Although I find myself at odds with her confirmation, maybe DeVos and people like her are what Americans need to start affecting real change in their societies once more.