TV News Braces For Electoral-Vote Certification Drama

For Media Following Georgia, Nail-Biting And Lots Of Numbers

The two Senate elections, with the U.S. Senate’s balance of power at stake, attracted media attention that recalled the days after the presidential election, including breathless wall-to-wall coverage on cable news networks. “It’s beyond nail-biting time,” CNN’s John King said. Above, two women pray during a Republican election-night watch party, Tuesday, Jan. 5, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

COMMENTARY BY DAVID ZURAWIK

A Big Week Of Political Warfare In Congress Leads To Civics Lessons On Cable TV

Educators might not be teaching civics as well as they used to in middle and high school, but cable TV is doing a good job of it. Viewers are getting a firsthand lesson this week with coverage of Tuesday’s Senate runoff vote in Georgia and the planned challenge Wednesday to the certification of Joe Biden as president. And some mainstream cable channels like MSNBC and CNN have been doing an outstanding job teaching, as well as covering, the news by explaining the Constitution and how government is supposed to work — something too few Americans seem to understand these days.

Standing Out On Social In This Historic Year At NewsTECHForum

On Dec. 18, journalists from Fox Owned Stations, Gray Television and Graham Media Group will share the remarkable work they did to engage audiences on social media in when the pandemic, election and extreme weather events made local TV news more essential than ever. Register here.

NEWS ANALYSIS

This Election Was Far From Typical. Why Did TV Cover It That Way?

Paul Farhi: This election night went back and forth, red mirages giving way to blue shifts and vice versa — piecemeal reporting that created a whipsaw effect on election night and for several days thereafter, as officials whittled down a historic number of mail-in ballots. But was the whipsaw necessary? The illusory twists and swerves that were presented on television news created narratives that would linger and confuse.

COMMENTARY BY ERIK WEMPLE

Arizona Calls Vindicate Fox News Decision Desk

Fox News was right, after all. This is a media story worth examining for what it says about the relationship between Fox News and the fan base that it shares with President Trump. At 11:20 p.m. on election night, Fox News’s Decision Desk jumped out ahead of the competition and placed Arizona — and its 11 electoral college votes — in the Biden-Harris column. The backlash from Trumpers was immediate and furious. They attacked again and again — protesting rhetorically, online and even in person in Arizona itself.

Here’s How TV Newsers Powered Through Last Week’s Marathon Of Election Coverage

NEWS ANALYSIS

TV Can’t Be Like Twitter, Thank Goodness

In times of social media, live streaming and Zoom, it felt good to remember that televised journalism can be really strong. The broadcast networks have attentive editors and journalists who won’t be used as tools of disinformation. This is something we should all celebrate.

Fox News Digital Consumers Spent 312% More Time On The Site Post-Election Than In 2016

Noticias Telemundo’s Final Election Day Coverage Sets New Records Across Platforms

Noticias Telemundo’s continuous 13-hour news Election coverage on Saturday, Nov. 7, propelled Telemundo to rank No. 1 in total day and primetime among all broadcast and cable networks in Hispanic viewers regardless of language, according to Nielsen Media Research. The coverage averaged 1.29 million total Hispanic viewers during primetime and 744,000 total viewers for total […]

Call For Biden Gave Networks Primetime Attention On A Saturday Morning

Ratings surged, with 21 million watching six networks, but Fox News viewers tuned out at a higher percentage as the coverage went on.

Five TV MVPs Of Election Week 2020

‘News Nation’ Gets Trounced In Election Coverage Race

How The Networks Decided To Call The Election For Joe Biden

CNN was the first to announce Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election with others coming in over the next 15 minutes.

The Moment When Networks Called The Presidential Race For Joe Biden

After days of wait over a seemingly glacial pace of ballot counting, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called the presidential race for Joe Biden at 11:24:20 a.m. ET, the first of the networks to declare the winner. It was followed within a minute by NBC News, CBS News, MSNBC and ABC News. The Associated Press called it at 11:28 and Fox News at 11:40. What triggered it? The latest report of votes coming in from Pennsylvania, which put Biden’s margin over Trump at more than 30,000. Although the trendlines have been in Biden’s direction, network decision desks had been reluctant to make the call until they could better discern the remaining vote.

How Networks Used AR On Election Night

Augmented reality has had a prominent role in election coverage in the United States, but it was pared down a bit for this year’s 2020 general election, while internationally it was giant.

Middle America Gave The ‘Middle Finger’ To Mainstream Media At Polls

CNN Scores Largest Audience On Second Night Of Election Coverage

After Election Night itself proved inconclusive, almost all the major broadcast and cable news networks continued their coverage into a second night. Whereas Fox News emerged victorious on Election Night, CNN topped the overall viewership rankings for night 2, drawing 7.1 million viewers in the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. Fox News wasn’t all that far behind, garnering 6.3 million viewers in the same timeframe. MSNBC came third with 4.8 million viewers. On the broadcast front, NBC drew 3.7 million viewers to ABC’s 2.5 million and CBS’s 2 million.

MARKET SHARE

Miami’s WSVN Dominated Election Night Coverage

After Tense Night, Election Mystery Remains

Methodical vote counting Wednesday left Democrat Joe Biden on the cusp of the presidency. The Associated Press said he has won enough states for 264 electoral votes and a win in one of four uncalled states — Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania or Nevada — would make him the president-elect. Cable and broadcast news divisions followed the story closely, even as they learned that election night coverage was a relative dud with viewers.

Fox News Sets Record For Most-Watched Primetime Election Night Coverage In Cable News History

Fox News Channel’s primetime coverage of election night 2020 topped all television networks and set a record for the most-watched election night coverage in cable news history, according to early data from Nielsen. FNC’s primetime coverage averaged 13.7 million in total viewers and nearly 5 million in the 25-54 demographic, making it the highest-rated election night coverage in all of television in total viewers and the adults 25-54 demo, beating ABC, NBC, CBS and all cable news networks.

Steve Kornacki Emerges As MSNBC’s Election Night Star

MSNBC’s election night coverage featured a bevy of the cable newser’s all-stars, including Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace. But, as was clear to anyone watching Tuesday night, the breakout of the evening was political correspondent Steve Kornacki, master of the interactive touchscreen map that has become a staple of TV news political coverage.

An Ode to John King, CNN’s Statistician Magician

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes … and that John King will wow you on Election Night (and in some years, apparently beyond!) with his working of CNN’s “Magic Wall” tote board.

COMMENTARY BY JAMES PONIEWOZIK

Blue Wave? Red Wave? Election-Night TV Was More Like A Whirlpool

As the returns came in, the networks scrambled to cover twists that were both shocking and unsurprising.

‘Surreal.’ Reporters Share What It Was Like To Cover Trump, Biden Campaigns

Talking to beat reporters who spent months covering the campaigns of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is like hearing about journeys to two completely different planets.

TV Election Coverage: Informative Or Confusing?

Election Day coverage by broadcast and cable networks introduced admirable caution and detailed explanation, but also continued some bad habits.

COMMENTARY BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

We Still Don’t Know Much About This Election — Except That The Media And Pollsters Blew It Again

y early morning Wednesday, there was a lot that millions of anxious Americans didn’t know. Mainly, they didn’t know who the president-elect is. That, in itself, wasn’t unexpected, nor is it terrible. But after consuming hours of news on Tuesday night, and observing the election results thus far, there are a few things that we can be certain of.

Fox News Made A Big Call In Arizona, Buoying Biden And Angering Trump

The data cruncher Arnon Mishkin made projections for key states on a night when other news networks played it safe.

Wary TV Networks Refrained From Early Calls Of Battleground States

As the polls closed in key states on Tuesday, TV networks held off on projecting winners throughout much of their election night coverage, promising a prudent, go-slow approach to avoid the up-is-down shocks of 2016. By midnight on the East Coast, anchors were telling viewers that it was now their turn to cool their heels: A clear outcome, they warned, could take days.

Pennsylvania Emerges As Online Misinformation Hot Spot

Pennsylvania was a hot spot for online misinformation on Election Day. Facebook and Twitter scrambled to take down false posts about polling locations in Scranton, Philadelphia and beyond to minimize the spread of misinformation and prevent it from sowing doubt about the election process.

News Organizations Rebuke Trump On Election Victory Claim

With reporters and supporters gathered at the White House at 2:20 a.m. ET, the president said it was “a major fraud on our nation” that he hadn’t been declared the winner. “As far as I’m concerned, we already have won this,” he said. The words were barely out of his mouth before television anchors rushed to refute him.

Telemundo’s Election Coverage Features Monumental AR, Newsroom Set

How Is TV News Going To Cover The Weirdest, Most Fraught Election In History?

Whether it was CNN beaming holograms of its far-flung correspondents onto the set, or Dan Rather’s folksy play-by-play (“This race is shakier than cafeteria Jello”), election night was once an occasion that TV news greeted with giddy, self-promoting flair. Not this year.

In A Hot Election, Cool-Headed Associated Press Takes Center Stage

At the end of a turbulent campaign, the global news organization has a big role to play, with 4,000 reporters collecting vote counts from county clerks in 50 states. Above, an Associated Press staff member reading copy from the election tabulator in November 1936.

Behind CBS News’ Augmented Reality And Other Advanced Election Night Tech

CBS News will broadcast its multiplatform election night coverage from a newly built set in the Viacom CBS headquarters in New York’s Times Square, featuring advanced augmented-reality-style graphics and visual displays showing the latest data, polling and mapping. Anchoring from the studio will be Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, Margaret Brennan, John Dickerson and Ed O’Keefe.

CNBC, Fox Business Will Vie For Business-News Viewers On Election Night

Political junkies aren’t the only ones who will have more TV programming than they can possibly watch on Election Night. Two of the better-known business-news outlets, CNBC and Fox Business Networkv. plan to keep coverage going well after the market closes Tuesday, the better to explain to viewers the financial ramifications for the 2020 presidential election.

How TV’s Election Night Coverage Will Look Different From 2016

Plus, what networks will do if the presidential race isn’t called on Tuesday night.

VUit Slots Esports-Themed Election Night Special

VUit, the ad-supported streaming service built in partnership with some of the world’s largest local TV station groups, will be presenting a special esports themed election night special on its popular VUit eSports channel, entitled VUit eSports — Decision 2020. Starting Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET, and running all evening, the special will bring […]

What To Expect From Facebook, Twitter And YouTube On Election Day

The sites are key conduits for communication and information. Here’s how they plan to handle the challenges facing them before, on and after Tuesday.

Networks Line Up Election Law Experts

Veteran attorney Ben Ginsberg (above), who represented George W. Bush when the 2000 presidential race was decided in the Supreme Court, has joined CNN for this purpose. CBS News hired David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. ABC and NBC have made similar arrangements, although some of those experts will have more offscreen roles.