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Fox News has reportedly instructed its staff not to call former Vice President Joe Biden the “President-elect” should he be declared the winner of the presidential election.
Biden leads in Pennsylvania as of press time and is widely expected to win the state, including its 20 electoral votes, which would put him over the 270 total votes required to win the election.
But CNN reports that, should Biden win, Fox News has told its anchors not to refer to Biden as “President-elect” when the network declares him the winner.
A memo told staff to “stay away” from the term — a widely accepted title for the winner of the election, should they not be an incumbent — despite Fox News referring to Donald Trump as the “President-elect” following his victory in 2016.
Instead, staff are to use phrases such as Biden having “enough electoral votes to win the presidency” until any potential legal challenges from the Trump administration against the results of the election are decided.
“We will report both sides until there is further guidance,” the Fox News memo read.
However, at least one Fox News host didn’t get the memo, as minutes after CNN reported the directive, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, discussing his weekend show, said, “We may be talking about Biden as the President-elect. We may be talking about major court challenges. My guess is we’ll talk about all of it.”
Chris Wallace seems to be slyly referencing that Fox memo that says they'll report "both sides" after calling the race for Biden:
"We may be talking about Biden as the president-elect. We may be talking about major court challenges. My guess is we’ll talk about all of it." pic.twitter.com/nC4ekUTnxV
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 6, 2020
Fox News’ Bret Baier also later used the term “President-elect” during a segment with Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer.
Hemmer, discussing potential outcomes based on which candidate wins Pennsylvania, said, “If you make a call for Joe Biden at 264, the math is pretty obvious. In Pennsylvania, that would give him 284 electoral votes.”
Baier responded: “And he would become the president elect of the United States.”
The decision to reportedly not refer to Biden as “President-elect” comes after Vanity Fair reported yesterday that Trump allegedly called Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, and ‘screamed’ at him after Fox News declared Biden the winner of Arizona (the Associated Press has also called the state for Biden, but CNN has not).
Trump and his staff reportedly tried to force Fox News to retract the declaration, with a source saying that Trump phoned Murdoch to “scream about the [Arizona] call and demand a retraction. Murdoch refused, and the call stood.”
As of press time, Trump trails Biden in the race for the presidency, with 214 electoral college votes to Biden’s 264 (253, if Arizona is not included).
Last night, Anderson Cooper offered a blunt response to Trump after the president delivered a widely condemned speech at the White House offering unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and claiming that the election was being stolen from him.
“That is the President of the United States…and we see him like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over,” Cooper said.
This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Bret Baier used the term “president-elect.”
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