As Election Day draws near, the many of the media’s actions seem to be an attempt to thwart President Donald Trump’s prospects of reelection, despite Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden enjoying a lead in national and battleground polls for much of the general election cycle.
Prior to the Commission on Presidential Debates’ (CPD) cancellation of the second presidential debate, Steve Scully, the C-SPAN journalist who would have moderated the second clash between the 2020 presidential candidates, tweeted at former White House Communications Director and now vocal Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci.
Later that day, the CPD would cancel the second debate, releasing a statement that said, “it is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”
Scully went on to say that his twitter account was hacked, and the CPD came to his defense. Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates said Scully is “a man of great integrity,” and went on to say, “He was hacked. It didn’t happen,” as reported by Fox News.
— Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) October 9, 2020
C-SPAN also released a statement reiterating Scully’s version of events.
In an Oct. 15 statement, which would have been the date of the second presidential debate, Scully admitted he lied about his twitter being hacked and apologized. “For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate,” Scully’s statement read. “Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked,” the statement went on to say.
Since, Scully has been suspended indefinitely from his role in C-SPAN.
Scully: “Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked.” pic.twitter.com/SNb1pCFjST
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 15, 2020
During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Barrett responded to a question from Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein about the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges by saying she had never discriminated on the basis of “sexual preference.”
Democratic Hawaii Senator Maize Hirono took issue with Barrett’s use of the term, calling it “offensive and outdated.” Hirono claimed the term sexual preference “is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person’s identity.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono scolds ACB for using the term “sexual preference” when answering a question about Obergefell this morning, saying that the term is “offensive and outdated.” pic.twitter.com/HcFpRQbD9X
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 13, 2020
Later in the hearings, Barrett brought up the exchange with Hirono after Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst asked if she wanted to clarify any statements or exchanges made previously in the hearing, per Fox News. “I certainly didn’t mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community. So if I did, I greatly apologize for that,” Barrett said.
In the aftermath of Barrett’s comments, media outlets ran stories that explained and lamented Barrett’s use of the term. USA Today published an opinion from columnist Steven Petrow, saying Barrett, “should have known better” than to use the offensive term. CNN’s Harmeet Kaur wrote a piece with subheadings that read “it suggests sexual orientation is a choice” and “it’s used to validate harmful practices.”
The following day, Fox News reported the Merriam-Webster dictionary changed its fifth definition under sexual preference to include the work “offensive.”
As recently as last month, Webster’s Dictionary included a definition of “preference” as “orientation” or “sexual preference.” TODAY they changed it and added the word “offensive.”
Insane – I just checked through Wayback Machine and it’s real.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) October 14, 2020
Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, admitted to Fox News that the Supreme Court hearings did influence their decision. “From time to time, we release one or some of these scheduled changes early when a word or set of words is getting extra attention,” Sokolowski said in a statement. “In this case, we released the update for sexual preference when we noticed that the entries for preference and sexual preference were being consulted in connection with the SCOTUS hearings,” he explained. (RELATED: How Silicon Valley Is Quietly Influencing Trump’s Reelection Campaign)
An Oct. 5 NBC town hall featuring Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden purportedly had an audience of “undecided Florida voters” only. However, two of the questioners had already told MSNBC, NBC’s sister channel, that showed support for Biden during interviews in August.
Attorney Peter Gonzalez asked if Biden’s administration would be socialist. But, in August, Gonzalez said, “if we get four more years of Trump, good luck. And good luck with the future attracting younger voters” on MSNBC.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 23, 2020
Ismael Llano, another “undecided voter” at the town hall also spoke positively about Biden in an MSNBC interview in August, The Hill reported. “Something that Joe Biden said during his speech that resonated with me was what defines America is a possibility,” Llano said.
ABC News’ town hall with Biden also featured participants that were deeply ingrained with Democratic politics. One questioner, Nathan Osburn, was a speech writer for the Obama Administration, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. As he asked Biden his question, the ABC News chyron said he was a professional in “communications,” but did not disclose that Osburn had worked for the Obama Administration.
Another question came from Mieke Haeck, the wife of Pennsylvania Democrat Ezra Nanes, who previously ran for state office as recently as 2018, and is a member of the Centre County Democratic Committee.
When the New York Post published some of the content found on a hard drive of a laptop that was allegedly Hunter Biden’s, major media outlets didn’t give the accusations much coverage.
The New York Times’ story summarizing the saga from the Post’s story to Twitter and Facebook censoring the story on their social media sites carried the sub headline, “Joe Biden’s campaign rejected assertions made in a published report that were based on unverified material from Trump allies. Facebook and Twitter found the story dubious enough to limit access to it on their platform.”
CNN ran stories speculating the story could have been Russian disinformation, a claim Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has since denied.
The Washington Post published an explainer on the New York Post, but has also focused most of their reporting efforts to discrediting the story. One piece was titled “A tabloid, a dubious story and Big Bad Tech.”