By Jeremy Barr
Across broadcast and cable news networks on Saturday morning, the industry-wide announcement that Joe Biden has clinched the presidency set off a wave of emotional commentary about the enormity of the moment and the controversies of the Trump presidency.
CNN commentator Van Jones, who was an Obama White House staffer, teared up. “Well, it’s easier to be a parent this morning,” he said. “It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids that character matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters.” He continued: “And it’s easier for a whole lot of people. If you’re Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry about if the president doesn’t want you here.”
“You spend so much of your life energy just trying to hold it together. And this is a big deal. For us just to be able to get some peace.”
— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2020
“Quite frankly, the Democrats could not have picked a more perfect candidate to meet the moment,” said Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The Fox News Channel was the last of the major cable news networks to make the announcement. Anchor Neil Cavuto repeatedly said that the network was not ready to make the projection, even as other networks had.
But, about 15 minutes after CNN’s call, anchor Bret Baier said: “The Fox News Decision Desk can now project that former vice president Joe Biden will win Nevada and Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes he needs to become the 46th president of the United States.”
On ABC, anchor George Stephanopoulos said the announcement marked “the end of what may be America’s most uncommon presidency.” His colleague, White House correspondent Jon Karl, said that Trump “saw the presidency as the world’s greatest reality TV show. He was the executive producer, the chief promoter, and the star of the Trump show. He captivated the world’s attention unlike any political figure that we have ever seen. . . . He upended Washington. He transformed the Republican Party. He disregarded political norms.”
CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell made the call on her network. “The kid from Scranton becomes the next leader of the free world,” she said.
“What a moment in history,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper said. He then launched into a critique of Trump. “It is the end, the end, of a tumultuous presidency. . . . It also has been a time of extreme divisions. Many of the divisions caused and exacerbated by President Trump himself. It’s been a time of several significant and utterly avoidable failures. Most tragically, of course, the unwillingness to respect facts and science and do everything that can be done to save lives during the pandemic. … With so many squandered and ruined potential, but also an era of just plain meanness.”
Over the past four days, network anchors and reporters have been aggressively covering the electoral margins in key states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, as Biden inched closer to a clear victory. The dam broke on Saturday morning.