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Networks Practice Election Restraint

What may end up being the biggest call of the election was made by the president’s favorite network, Fox News, not typically a target of his ‘fake news’ attacks.

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As election night approached, television networks were under pressure about when and how they would call states for the presidential candidates. 

Restraint, so far, has ruled the day(s).

In fact, what may end up being the biggest call of the election was made by the president’s favorite network, Fox News, not typically a target of his ‘fake news’ attacks. 

Fox made the first projection of the 2020 election where a Trump state flipped from red to blue, calling Arizona for Joe Biden at 11:20 p.m.

None of the other major networks — CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC — followed suit. More than 24 hours later, they still hadn’t called it.

The pressure of that decision is immense, given the level of competition between networks. The moments after, inside those network decision desks, must have been frantic.

Fox’s call reportedly enraged the president, leading him to call Rupert Murdoch and demand a recall — which he refused.

CNN’s Kaitlin Collins reported the president immediately became concerned he may lose, pushing his legal team to pursue the lawsuits the campaign would later announce on Wednesday.

Eventually, the president held a campaign press conference in the White House where he claimed, “This is a fraud on the American public.”

All this, and the networks still didn’t join Fox.

The network reportedly bases its call on a proprietary model that uses Associated Press data.
About 3 1/2 hours later at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, AP called Arizona for Joe Biden.

Still no call from the networks.

The country is on edge awaiting the results of the race. The collective anxiety to come to an answer on who actually wins is insanely high. 

And to be the first network to make that call… the stakes could not be higher.   

Despite all that, it’s encouraging that networks thus far are weighing the history of this moment with caution and care.

News Television

Sinclair CEO Says Political Environment Is “Very Good for Our Business”

Sinclair’s CEO, Chris Ripley, offered his perspective on political ads at the MoffettNathanson 9th Annual Media and Communications Summit.

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The midterm elections are here, and according to one television executive, it’s the best time considering the amount of political advertisement money pouring into stations at the local and national. 

One key beneficiary of that cash inflow is Sinclair Broadcast Group, the No. 2 owner of local TV stations in the U.S. The company’s CEO, Chris Ripley, offered his perspective on political ads at the MoffettNathanson 9th Annual Media and Communications Summit.

“Some of these primary races are crazy,” Ripley said, per Deadline. “On the one hand, I lament that we’re in the political environment that we are. On the other hand, it’s very good for our business.”

Ripley used an example to make a point with his claim, citing U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance who won his primary race after spending a heavy amount ont television ads. 

Furthermore, the television executive adds that the $75 million spent on TV ads for the primary was 40 times more than what was spent on the primary in the last election. Ripley also added that spending on ballots is also up and should continue to increase as issues like abortion and legal gambling arise. 

“More and more issues are going on direct ballots,” he said. “With what’s going on with abortion rights, that’s going to just even add to that category.” Legalizing sports betting or cannabis are other issues generating significant ad spending.

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News Television

NBC News Correspondent Pete Williams to Retire

Williams will remain with NBC News through July before calling it a career. 

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NBC News

NBC News has announced Justice Department and Supreme Court correspondent Pete Williams will be retiring from the company. The reporter has been with the network for nearly three decades and has been at the forefront of many breaking news stories in Washington, DC. 

“Pete has been one of the nation’s foremost authorities covering the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice for nearly three decades,” NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said in a memo to staff

“His career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability, and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.” 

Williams has covered various topics for NBC News, including the court cases dealing with the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality. Earlier this year, the correspondent was the one who reported the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer would retire at the end of the current term.

“In short, for generations of NBC News reporters, working alongside Pete has been a daily masterclass in journalism. But perhaps more importantly, it has been a masterclass in what it means to be a good colleague,” Oppenheim added.

“Pete’s decency, kindness, and generosity are unmatched. For those that know Pete well, it’s his warmth, humor, wit, and compassion that will be missed most.”

Williams will remain with NBC News through July before calling it a career. 

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Chris Licht: CNN Must Be Beacon of Journalism to Functional Democracy

“Now, the next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy,” Licht said

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CNN’s new president Chris Licht shed some light on the direction he plans to take the company at the Warner Bros. Discovery upfront. 

Licht spoke at the presentation alongside Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who expressed that CNN will be organized “to advocate for journalism first” and deliver for viewers “seeking more accurate information and less yelling and conflict.”

Furthermore, Licht proposed similar aspirations as he summarized his plan for the cable news channel to double down on what many might call sane news. 

“Now, the next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy,” Licht said, per Mediaite.

“In a time where extremes are dominating cable news, we will seek to go a different way — reflecting the real lives of our viewers and elevating the way America and the world views this medium.”

The new CNN president also vows to “challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news, delivering programming and commentary that questions the status quo, shatters group-think, holds our leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to facts, and fights fearlessly to get to the truth.”

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