November 7, 2020

Just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and The Associated Press all projected Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

CNN’s Jake Tapper called it “the end, the end of a tumultuous presidency.” But that may be one call that will have to be retracted because only a half-hour prior, the president remained defiant:

Fox News added drama to the Saturday morning’s dramatic moment by holding off on making a call, even while the rest of the news universe declared Biden the next president.

Anchor Neil Cavuto reminded viewers that GOP lawsuits were pending and that Fox’s decision desk would make the projection when it was confident and not before. Cavuto then tossed coverage to the team of Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to make the announcement.

(Screenshot, Fox News)

Fox followed the announcement with comments from former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who set the tone for the coverage to follow. “We should all accept and respect the result,” he said, “and if you don’t like it you have an opportunity again in four years to make a change.”

Even on CNN and MSNBC, networks that have been the most sharply critical of President Donald Trump, the announcement of Biden’s win was muted, almost solemn.

(Screenshot, CNN)

On CNN, commentator Van Jones broke into tears, saying, “It’s easier to be a parent this morning. It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids character matters. It matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters. And it’s easier for a whole lot of people. If you’re Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry if the president doesn’t want you here. If you’re an immigrant, you don’t have to worry if the president is going to be happy to have babies snatched away or send dreamers back for no reason. It’s vindication for a lot of people who have really suffered.”

Not lost in the announcement is the fact that America will soon inaugurate Kamala Harris, the first Black woman — and the first woman period — as vice president.

(Screenshot, Sky News)

Strikingly, none of the networks carried the news conference of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who claimed Pennsylvania’s vote counting is “extremely troubling” and threatened that lawsuits are on the way.

Donald Trump was on his golf course in Virginia when the networks and AP made their call.  His only statement was, “It is far from over.”

Kamala Harris posted video of herself wearing weekend sweats telling Joe Biden, “You are going to be the next president of the United States.”

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
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