Deen cried at all the right moments. To build drama, the Today cameramen zoomed in on her anguished face throughout the segment, especially at the end when she really got going with the tears. For his part, Lauer is also trying to save his career with big ‘gets’ like Deen, and he followed a stern line of questioning sure to please those calling for Paula to be punished. But her supporters will not be happy with the way he treated her. He didn’t hug her or ooze sympathy; instead he sat back in his chair looking like judge and jury. By way of explanation, he said several times he wanted to keep the dialogue with her confined to business and not make it too personal.
“You’re the head of a brand,” Lauer noted, “Given the same circumstances, would you have fired yourself?” Deen responded, “Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No.” When asked by Lauer whether she was a racist, Deen replied simply, “No.” Then she added, “I believe that … every one of God’s creatures was created equal. I believe that everyone should be treated equal. That’s the way I was raised and that’s the way I live my life.”
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