‘It’s not your job’: Debate sparked on ‘unbiased’ journalism after news broadcasters cut away from Trump’s election fraud speech

Friday - 06/11/2020 08:48
US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, November 5, 2020. ©  REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, November 5, 2020. © REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A fierce debate about the role of journalism has emerged on the internet, after multiple media outlets cut away from a live address in which US President Donald Trump leveled allegations of voter fraud.

In an unprecedented move, MSNBC, NBC News, CNBC, CBS News, ABC News, and even publicly funded NPR, cut their feed from the White House as Trump began to speak about alleged voting irregularities during the 2020 contest. Among the major broadcasters, only Fox and CNN chose to air the full speech. A CNN chyron shown during his speech read: “Without any evidence, Trump says he’s being cheated.”

During his Thursday night address, Trump pointed at alleged “election interference from Big Media, Big Money and Big Tech,” and claimed that “we were winning in all the key locations by a lot” and that only later “our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret.”

Outlets defended pulling the plug on Trump’s provocative remarks, arguing that they didn’t want to spread unsubstantiated claims about the election.


“Here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States but correcting the president of the United States,” said MSNBC host Brian Williams as his network cut away from Trump. Anchors at other networks made similar remarks. 

USA Today’s editor-in-chief said that it ended its livestream of the address because the outlet’s job is to “spread truth – not unfounded conspiracies.”

“We’re not going to allow it to keep going, because it’s not true,” stated CNBC’s Shep Smith on air. 

Many argued that such incendiary allegations from the US president were inherently newsworthy and merited live coverage. Twitter users further pointed out there was no way for networks to know with certainty that Trump was lying or spreading misinformation, noting that their job should simply be to relay, without bias, what Trump had said. 

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 Keywords: Donald Trump, US Elections

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