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MSNBC, major networks interrupt Trump's speech to fact-check; Fox, CNN carry in full

President Donald Trump wrongly claimed victory in the presidential election in a televised speech Thursday that was filled with falsehoods, various major US networks claim. The speech led some networks to drop coverage to correct the misinformation.

MSNBC moved fastest, with anchor Brian Williams cutting in just 35 seconds into Trump's remarks to fact-check. The cable news network did not return to the president's comments in the White House pressroom.

CNN and Fox News carried Trump's speech, after which he took no questions. On the broadcast side, all three networks carried Trump's speech, with it running during East Coast evening news broadcasts in much of the country, starting just after 6:45 EST.

ABC cut away before CBS and NBC, with ABC News anchor David Muir breaking in to correct the record after the president wrongly alleged illegal votes were being counted and that opponents were attempting to steal the election.

Muir explained the decision later on an ABC News primetime election special."(President Trump) knew exactly what he was doing, this large audience across the broadcast networks, in coming on in the middle of our newscasts tonight. We knew when we heard that – 'if you count legal votes, I easily win, if you count illegal votes, they could try to steal the election' – that it was time to pull out of that and fact-check it in real time," Muir said. "We're not witnessing anyone stealing anything tonight. This is democracy and we asked the American people to be patient."

NBC and CBS also eventually interrupted, with anchors and correspondents correcting the president's statements.The coverage decisions represented a split over whether the remarks of the U.S. president, considered the most powerful person in the world, deserve to be aired in full regardless of their veracity, or whether false and potentially dangerous information should at some point be turned off to avoid helping its spread.

USA TODAY also made the decision to take down Trump's news conference after the president attacked, without evidence, the integrity and results of the election.

In a statement, Editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll said: "President Trump, without evidence, claimed the presidential election was corrupt and fraudulent. We stopped the livestream of his remarks early and have removed the video from all our platforms. Our job is to spread truth – not unfounded conspiracies."

The unusual network preemptions follow Trump's post-election comments early Wednesday, when his early claim of victory already led to strong criticism by some news anchors. Trump opened his Thursday speech with a lie, wrongly referencing ballots counted after Tuesday, which have moved challenger Joe Biden close to victory, as illegal.

On MSNBC, Williams explained the reason for the quick interruption, an atypical action that he and the network also took early Wednesday when the president made baseless assertions during post-election comments.

"OK, here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States, but correcting the president of the United States," Williams said Thursday. "There are no illegal votes that we know of. There has been no Trump victory that we know of."

MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace praised her network's move: “I’m proud to work at a network that didn’t contribute to what Trump just did."

On CNBC, former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith explained he was taking an unprecedented step in cutting off the president because what he was saying "in large part, was absolutely untrue."

"Never in my 30-year career have I ever interrupted a president of the United States. We've held back from doing so over and over and over while others have. But if any other human being were using our platform of influence to lie to our viewers, we would stop them. And frankly, enough's enough," he told viewers.

As soon as the president finished his remarks, CNN anchor Jake Tapper condemned them.

"What a sad night for the United States of America, to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy that way with this feast of falsehoods, lie after lie after lie about the election being stolen. No evidence for what he’s saying, just smears about integrity of vote counting in state after state. When he wins a state, it's legitimate. When he loses, it's pathetic," Tapper said. "It's not true. It's ugly. It's frankly pathetic."

His colleague, Dana Bash, said the president's lies continue a theme he has campaigned on for months: that the election would be rigged against him.

"It’s a set-up," she said. "He set the country up; he set his supporters up for a moment like this, which is completely false, and you said, 'Sad,' It is sad. I'm not an emotional person and I'm having trouble keeping it together after listening to the president of the United States say what he just said."

Fox News
On Fox News, chief political anchor Bret Baier and Chief White House correspondent John Roberts tried to ascertain the president's post-election strategy, which includes lawsuits over voting in battleground states.

Baier disputed Trump's allegation of voter fraud.

"We have not seen the evidence yet, John," he said. "And I just want to note something that was very stark was that as the president is talking there about these various states, as he's saying that Democrats are stealing an election and that it's a corrupt system, on the other side of the screen because of the way we have the graphics set up, literally, the votes are going down in Georgia. … But those spreads are getting much more narrow and possibly will change as time goes on."

Roberts said he sensed Trump anticipates defeat. "I believe what we saw tonight is a president who believes that at the end of the day, when all of these votes are counted, the election is not going to go his way. So he is trying to plan an alternate route to retain the White House" via litigation.

With agencies

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Arthur Blok
Veteran journalist, author, moderator and entrepreneur. The man with the unapologetic opinion who is always ready to help you understand and simplify the most complex (global) matters. Just ask.
Arthur Blok
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2 comments on “MSNBC, major networks interrupt Trump's speech to fact-check; Fox, CNN carry in full”

  1. We know by now the media and elite suffer from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Let's wait what he comes up with and see if in fact everything did go legally.

  2. Well said Patrick. The mainstream media and elite ALL suffer from TDS indeed.
    Fuck them all, compliments to the Levant.

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