Donald Trump has rounded on the “lamestream media” for declaring Joe Biden as victor in the 2020 US election.
After four days of vote-counting, CNN was first out of the gates to call the election in Biden’s favour at 11.24am Eastern US time. Within minutes every other major news organisation in the world had followed suit including: AP, PA, the BBC, Sky News and the other US TV networks.
Crucially, Fox News – which has historically been Trump’s most vocal supporter – called Joe Biden the winner of the election at 11.40am.
The reality of Biden’s victory was also accepted by the pro-Trump New York Post in its Sunday edition (which like Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp).
However, the election result continues to be disputed by Trump and many of his supporters.
Fox and AP caused consternation among Trump supporters a few hours into voting by call Arizona in favour of Biden, flipping 11 crucial electoral college votes from Republican to Democrat.
Whereas Fox and AP relied on non-profit research firm NORC for their election projections, other organisations used Edison which (at time of writing) still said Arizona was too close to call with a gap of 0.5% between the candidates and an estimated 98% of votes counted.
The decision to call the election in Biden’s favour was prompted by the release of ballot counts from Allegheny and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania.
The projection that Biden had won Pennsylvania gave him the required 20 electoral college votes needed for victory regardless of the outcome in Arizona.
NBC’s Chuck Todd told viewers: “We think it’s just mathematically nearly impossible for the order of finish to change in Pennsylvania.”
Although media calls have no official standing, they were enough for global leaders to start congratulating Biden, and for the candidate to hold his victory rally on Saturday night.
A furious President Trump waited two hours after the media declarations of Biden’s victory before tweeting: “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be? We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks!”
This was was one of the few messages posted on Twitter by Trump in recent days not to be either obscured by the platform or to carry a disclaimer saying “This claim about election fraud is disputed”.
Facebook and Twitter have both become more interventionist than ever before in their efforts to curb claims shared that Biden’s victory was somehow the result of fraud.
On Thursday afternoon Facebook shut down a ‘Stop the Steal’ group that had amassed 360,000 followers because some of its members were calling for violence.
Twitter has sought to counter Trump’s claims of election fraud by posting links below his tweets to its own page which says: “With ballot counting continuing and the presidential race being called for Joe Biden, experts and officials say there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US election.”
Under Twitter’s new Civic Integrity Policy it can block messages which carry misleading claims about elections (something it has down repeatedly with Trump) and it may yet opt to suspend Trump’s account altogether,