Broadcast Networks All Cut Away From President Trump’s Election Remarks

President Trump Speaks From The James S. Brady Briefing Room At The White House

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White … [+] House on November 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Votes are still being counted two days after the presidential election as incumbent Trump is in a close race against challenger Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which remains too close to call. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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President Donald Trump went before the cameras at the White House on Thursday evening to talk about the vote counting still underway in a handful of swing states, making repeated and unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud was threatening to “steal” away his re-election. The broadcast news networks—ABC, CBS VIAC and NBC—all made the same decision: to cut away from the president.

For viewers, and for students of both politics and the news media, it was an extraordinary moment: first that a president would stand at the lectern in the White House and accuse his political rivals of committing fraud without any evidence, and then for the networks to decide it was a smarter decision to stop airing what the president of the United States had to say.

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President Trump Speaks From The James S. Brady Briefing Room At The White House

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White … [+] House on November 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Votes are still being counted two days after the presidential election as incumbent Trump is in a close race against challenger Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which remains too close to call. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The broadcast and cable networks used banners to try to fact-check the president as he spoke. One banner on CNN said, “Without any evidence, Trump says he’s being cheated.”

But as the president’s appearance continued, most networks clearly felt that on-screen graphics weren’t enough and that continuing to air the president’s baseless allegations of a fraud in a fair election would be journalistic malpractice.

On cable news, MSNBC’s Brian Williams told viewers, “Here we are again in the unusual position not just of interrupting the president of the United States, but correcting the president of the United States.” On Fox News Channel, Bret Baier told viewers “we have not seen hard evidence” of the voter fraud the president was insisting was widespread.

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