Fox News would just prefer to move along as quickly as possible.
It’s understandable. Nobody should kid themselves: The likelihood that President Donald Trump’s court challenges to the election, along with recounts in some states, will end up producing a victory for him isn’t a high one at the moment.
However, when there are affidavits alleging voter fraud, when there are statistical irregularities, they need to be covered. No matter whether they would produce a change in the electoral result, rest assured we’d be covering these challenges breathlessly if Democrat Joe Biden were making them.
Thus, yes, it might not be a fun thing to cover, not at the moment. However, that’s what the media should be for — not for posturing, not for narrative, but for covering the facts.
On Monday, Fox News and Neil Cavuto decided that was inconvenient.
So here was the scene: At the White House, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel were talking about lawsuits regarding election disputes.
During the news conference, McEnany said there was “only one party in America trying to keep observers out of the count room, and that party, my friends, is the Democrat Party.”
“You don’t take these positions because you want an honest election,” she continued, according to a transcript. “You don’t oppose an audit of the vote because you want an accurate count. You don’t oppose our efforts at sunlight and transparency because you have nothing to hide.
“You take these positions because you are welcoming fraud and you are welcoming illegal voting.
“Our position is clear. We want to protect the franchise of the American people. We want an honest, accurate, lawful count. We want maximum sunlight. We want maximum transparency. We want every legal vote to be counted and we want every illegal vote to be discarded.”
This is when, if you were watching the briefing on Fox News, anchor Neil Cavuto broke in.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. I just think we have to be very clear,” Cavuto said.
“She’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and illegal voting, unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this.”
Watch Fox News cut away from Press Sec. McEnany: pic.twitter.com/SwW9cq9bJI
— The Recount (@therecount) November 9, 2020
McEnany and McDaniel went on to provide details during the news conference, including poll watchers not being able to observe in Pennsylvania and Michigan and election workers who were “verbally accosted” and intimidated.
When asked later in the briefing whether she had any specific information on people illegally voting, McEnany called for “patience.”
“Ronna just mentioned to you the more than I believe it was 130 affidavits in Michigan alone. We’re aware of all the reports of thousands of votes in Nevada that were cast by those who were not eligible,” she said. “We are getting affidavits, so right now we would point you to all of that, that information is publicly available but what we’re asking for right now is patience as we explore these equal protection claims among others.”
This isn’t necessarily evidence. Even Tucker Carlson, who’s been one of the loudest voices on Fox News for letting the legal process play out and highlighting evidence he says points toward fraudulent votes being cast, put it bluntly and effectively: “At this stage, the fraud that we can confirm does not seem to be enough to alter the election result. We should be honest and tell you that.”
There are two things we ought to point out here, though.
The first is from Carlson, who took a thinly veiled shot at his network’s decision to cut away from the news conference on that night’s show.
“In a democracy, you cannot ignore honest questions from citizens. You’re not allowed,” he said.
“You can’t dismiss them out of hand as crazy or immoral for asking. You can’t just cut away from coverage you don’t like.”
The other came from Ronna McDaniel in the news conference Cavuto and Fox News cut away from.
“If the shoe were on the other foot, if it were this close the other way, if President Trump was in the lead in all these states, the media would be screaming, ‘This isn’t over, the race isn’t over, we need more time to count and make sure it’s right,'” she said. “But because it’s Biden in a very slight lead, the media demands the race is over and there is nothing to see here.”
Just so we’re clear, please don’t group me with the people who believe once this goes to court, the mask of fraud and voter suppression is going to be ripped off the Democratic Party machine like a villain at the end of a “Scooby Doo” episode. Zoinks — it was old man Soros all along! And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for us meddling patriots.
Whether the legal challenges make any kind of concrete change in the results — and let’s be clear, we haven’t seen evidence yet that they will — isn’t the point, however. If this situation were reversed, Biden wouldn’t be yanked off stage with a Vaudevillian cane and told to concede or else risk damaging our democracy.
If the court challenges amount to nothing, we move on. There might be bitter clingers, the same way there are bitter clingers consumed with the conspiracy theory that Trump was the Muscovite candidate and wouldn’t have succeeded without Russian intervention. They’ll be thoroughly left in the dustbin of history.
If there’s substance to the challenges, we go from there.
Either way, we’re far from the point where we should have Joe Biden standing in front of a ludicrous banner declaring himself in the “Office of the President-Elect.” We’re also not at the point where Neil Cavuto is doing himself or those talking up the unquestioned legitimacy of the result any favors by cutting off this news conference.
As for Fox News, this isn’t going to particularly help its standing among conservatives, not after it called Arizona for Biden prematurely and predicted the Democrats would pick up seats in the House of Representatives. As of Wednesday, the former hasn’t been officially called and the latter clearly isn’t going to happen. Given that record, it’s easy for conservatives not to be thrilled at how this is playing out on Fox.
We were told before the election that the endgame might take weeks due to the unusual nature of the 2020 election. The media shouldn’t act so surprised, then, when it does.
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