Who Is Betsy DeVos? / Who Is Erik Prince?
Billionaire and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her brother, billionaire Erik Prince, founder of mercenary army Blackwater, are siblings whose decisions have shaped America’s youth and defense systems. How'd that happen?
What do the massacre of civilians by a for-profit company hired by the government, and using taxpayer money on poorly managed schools teaching creationism and Scientology have in common?
They're the work of billionaire siblings Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince, heirs to the fortune of Edgar Prince, a wealthy industrialist. Religious extremists with political beliefs to match, on this episode of Who Is, find out how these powerful siblings obtained the positions they have (hint: money), and what the privatization of public education and the privatization of the military have in common.
Are Betsy and Erik genius strategists like the Lannisters, or bungling buffoons like the Bluths? Join Sean Morrow to find out.
- Matthew Cole, of The Intercept
- Katherine Gallagher, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights
- Rebecca Klein, of HuffPost
- Chastity Pratt, a Harvard Nieman Scholar and former education reporter at The Bridge and Detroit Free Press
Now You See It
Betsy DeVos decided she was going to stop worrying about the pesky critics of her influence-buying the year Joanne Rowling first published Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.
"I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence," she wrote, in Roll Call in 1997. "Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return."
"In politics, money is speech. You don’t have free speech without it. If you limit or take away citizens’ and candidates’ rights to promote their views, whether they choose to express them by yelling on the street corner, putting up yard signs, handing out literature, or buying air time for television ads, you have taken away their free speech."
"Who Is?," an original podcast hosted by NowThis correspondent Sean Morrow, explores the stories of well-known, powerful politicians in the United States and beyond.
Over the course of sixteen episodes, Season One focused on top leaders in Washington, Trump’s inner circle, the field of presidential hopefuls, and major political donors. The good, the bad, and the ugly.