As the 2020 presidential election begins to wind down, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden‘s lead grows over President Donald Trump in the electoral college, mainstream media is having a bit of a reckoning with itself.
After dedicating so much coverage to Trump — his false claims, his controversial statements, his antagonizing comments inciting violence among his supporters — a handful of networks and publications have started censoring the president in an effort to ensure a peaceful transition of power should Biden win. Quite a few networks refused to air the president’s speech claiming voter fraud in states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. CNN aired the speech, but Jake Tapper, who’s consistently delivered tough but fair commentary on Trump over the years, is urging one network in particular to, well, do their job if Trump loses.
During CNN’s live election coverage on Friday morning, Tapper made an impassioned plea to his fellow journalists at Fox News, insisting that fair and honest coverage of this vote isn’t just a matter of “good manners” but of “life and death.”
— Alexander Nazaryan (@alexnazaryan) November 6, 2020
“I don’t normally talk about any competing network,” Tapper said. “But the Murdochs, and the people at Fox, have an obligation to put their country above their profits. It is very important that people make it very clear that this election, there is no credible evidence that we have seen of widespread fraud. By all accounts, Joe Biden is on the precipice of becoming the next president, fair and square. And people who have the privilege of sitting in seats like we’re sitting in now have the obligation to convey that to their viewers so that there is a peaceful transition of power, and so that there isn’t violence.”
He’s talking of course about the president (and his staff) taking to social media to stir suspicion over national voting practices. Trump’s seen his early lead in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia disappear as mail-in ballots continue to be counted. Those mail-in ballots are heavily skewing Democrat, in part because Trump urged his own base to vote in person, not by mail. Now that those mail-in votes are coming into play, Trump and his supporters are hoping to cast doubt on their legitimacy — though he can’t seem to decide whether he wants to “Stop the count” or “Stop the fraud.”
Every credible news organization (including at least some Fox News anchors), as well as elected representatives in these big swing states, has flat-out denied that any kind of voting fraud is happening. But Tapper is still looking at Fox News, the president’s favorite channel, demanding that they practice responsible journalism instead of giving this political temper tantrum any more credence.
Tapper: "If you are a Fox reporter or anchor … and you're going to abide by this crazy instruction [to not call Biden president-elect], you might as well hand in your press credential at the same time, because you can't be taken seriously as a journalist." pic.twitter.com/9O12PLJdI9
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) November 6, 2020
Given that, statistically, voter fraud happens so infrequently it probably couldn’t affect this presidential race — and given that the Trump campaign has yet to prove any instance of that despite drafting quite a few court petitions, it’s safe to say this is the last gasp before Trump’s dream of a second term dies out.