Pro-Trump media show different view of election #SootinClaimon.Com

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Pro-Trump media show different view of election (nationthailand.com)

Pro-Trump media show different view of election

InternationalNov 20. 2020

By The Washington Post
David Weigel

Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, carrying 306 electoral votes. Dozens of lawsuits, brought by President Donald Trump’s campaign and by conservative activists, have been knocked down, failing to find irregularities that had any effect on the vote.

Yet for three hours on Tuesday night, Newsmax prepared conservative viewers for something big. In Wayne County, Mich., two Republican officials had declined to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election. Host Greg Kelly claimed that the election could be “reversed,” then brought on Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell to explain what the events in Michigan had meant.

“That’s an excellent development,” Powell said. “I would expect the entire Michigan board to reject the counts from the ballots. The election could not have been more rigged than it was.”

Moments later, the Wayne County Republicans reversed their decision, certifying the election. Twenty-four hours later they’d reverse themselves, again, attempting to retract the certification, which election rules do not allow them to do. This was surprising, but far less so for people watching pro-Trump media. Those outlets are offering his base an addictive alternate theory of the election. In this theory, one with no basis in fact or evidence but that threatens to undermine how American democracy works, the president claims to have won the election and the rest of the media is trying to steal it from him.

On Newsmax, on One America News, at websites such as the Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit, the election’s drama is not over, and the plan to keep Trump in power sounds straightforward: Stop key states from certifying the election, and snatch at least 37 electoral votes from Joe Biden

“All your corruption’s going to come out in Wisconsin,” former White House adviser Steve Bannon told listeners of his podcast, “The War Room,” on Wednesday morning, predicting that a recount in the state would turn up enough fraud to void the election. That’s fanciful, and it’s not the Trump campaign’s argument, that it can disqualify 100,000 absentee ballots or more in two liberal counties if they were requested online. “Not going to be able to certify Wisconsin. Sorry. Not going to be able to certify Michigan. Sorry. Not going to be able to certify Georgia. Sorry. Not to mention Pennsylvania, you obviously can’t certify that.” (Biden leads in the count in Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes, in Michigan by about 157,000, in Georgia by about 13,600 and Pennsylvania by about 82,000.)

Republicans and administration officials, usually cloaked in anonymity, have said for days that the election challenges are harmless gifts for a president who hates to lose. Fox News cut into afternoon programming on Thursday to air a bizarre, lengthy news conference at the Republican National Committee, with logic-defying claims that had been circulating on pro-Trump media. But Biden’s campaign has taken the same approach to the transition that it took to last-minute allegations of corruption against the president-elect’s son: Ignore, refute, and wait for the facts to prove them right.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said last week. “The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge that we won, at this point, is not of much consequence in our planning.”

Conservative election challenges have also divided the Republican Party and failed to generate any energy outside the already supercharged Trump base. A “Million MAGA March” in Washington last week fell around 990,000 attendees short of its eponymous goal; the “campaign-style” rallies that the president was reportedly considering 11 days ago, dramatizing his claims of fraud, have not taken place.

Instead, the president has tweeted links to stories that allege fraud and asserted that he won states that he did not. He has not directly addressed the results, on camera, in two weeks.

“Donald Trump won, I believe, clearly, a 70%-plus landslide election in the nation,” Lin Wood, an Atlanta-area attorney, said on Fox News host Mark Levin’s radio show this week. “He probably won over 400 electoral votes.”

Wood has sued to overturn Georgia’s election; the president’s tweets about Georgia, which finished its audit of the vote Thursday, have embraced Wood’s theory that changes to signature-matching rules, agreed to by a Republican election official, should nullify the results.

In the media that is most friendly to the president – a lot of it being consumed by Trump himself right now – this is one of many baseless theories getting airtime. Texts and emails to donors insist that “the Radical Left’s plan to steal the Election is starting to crumble.” While Republicans critical of the strategy decline to go on the record, his allies and his campaign are heading to microphones, saying Trump probably won the election, possibly by a landslide, and there’s time to prove it or, at least, to prevent Biden from being sworn in.

Fox News, which for decades has been at the center of the conservative media ecosystem, has a wobbly role in this story. The network blew away the ratings competition on Nov. 3, and its call of Arizona for Biden held up despite Trump campaign claims that it would win there. But it has lagged behind competitors in post-election coverage and clearly lost some market share to Newsmax and OAN, networks that are less available on cable packages but easy to devour online. And after cutting away from an RNC news conference last week, citing misinformation, it split the difference Thursday: It aired more than 90 minutes of accusations, before a reporter summed them up by saying they were not true.

According to Nielsen numbers, first collected by The Associated Press, Newsmax’s viewership has increased tenfold since the election, with more than half a million people watching its prime-time streams. OAN, which the president has promoted for years as a Fox News alternative, has gotten boosts from presidential retweets and a stream of interviews with Trump officials who do not get friendly treatment on other networks.

“Our Constitution does provide mechanisms for if an election is irredeemably compromised, there’s corruption, or there’s foreign influence,” Trump legal adviser Jenna Ellis said in an OAN interview this week. The mechanism, she explained, was to “not certify false results.”

Ellis said as much on Twitter, incorrectly insisting that “Republican state legislator” (sic) would get to assign the state’s electoral votes if lower-level officials didn’t certify the Nov. 3 results. (Under Michigan law, which cannot be changed without the agreement of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the legislatures cannot supersede the certified popular vote.) But Twitter, like other social media giants, has been appending warnings to false election information. Pro-Trump media does not do that, instead treating the results as called by The Associated Press and others as an irresponsible display of electoral interference. Neither Newsmax nor OAN has called the election; neither has the Epoch Times, whose map displaying six Biden-won states as “contested” – leaving Trump ahead in the electoral vote count – has been featured in Trump donor appeals.

There’s no single theory of how the results can be overturned. Instead, pro-Trump sites embrace every theory. Mainstream coverage of the challenges has sifted out the fakery and reported on damaging developments such as Trump campaign attorneys admitting that they have no proof of fraud.

But as consumers of pro-Trump media knew for days, there was no one-shot lawsuit that could overturn the election. Only a cloud of uncertainty could do that. Signal-boosted by the president, rumors about the election could get to local officials, or to the right judge, convincing them that the election’s outcome in their state or county was unknowable. In their Nevada and Pennsylvania suits, Trump attorneys have asked for the states’ electoral votes to either be given to the president or not awarded at all, so long as the number of ballots being questioned are greater than the margin between Biden and Trump.

In court, that argument relies on data that could, theoretically, be collected, like more than 1.5 million envelopes that Pennsylvania absentee ballots arrived in. In pro-Trump media, anything else can fly, from questions about how few mail ballots were disqualified, to a conspiracy theory that the voting software company Dominion allowed results to be altered. While it’s easy for reporters to witness recounts in person – a Washington Post reporter did so last week – pro-Trump media have avoided that in favor of coverage of rallies against certifying the counts or speculation about anything that could nullify them.

False allegations that foreign actors altered vote counts ping-ponged across that universe. One theory involving Venezuela was advanced on OAN by a former Department of Homeland Security official; another was flogged by a retired Air Force officer and former Obama birther; and by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, an influential Trumpworld figure who spoke at the Republican National Convention. And on Thursday, Sidney Powell closed the loop, using the news conference with Giuliani to inaccurately bring in George Soros and the Clinton Foundation.

Wild claims like these have not shown up in any Trump campaign lawsuits. But they’re cycling through pro-Trump media, influencing the thinking of the president and the sort of people who become partisan elections officers. A rumor that repeatedly has been debunked, or relies on allegations so wild that they risk defamation, may not get oxygen in mainstream media outlets or in courts. It would not need to, in the preferred Trump campaign scenario, which is shared every day on channels such as OAN – that is, find enough officials in enough states who refuse to certify the election. For conservatives just outside the loop, it’s hard to follow. But they are not ruling anything out.

“Do you think Lin Wood and Sidney Powell want to do a replay of Geraldo [Rivera]’s vault?” Rush Limbaugh asked his listeners Tuesday, referring to a moment that humiliated man who would become a Fox News correspondent. “I mean, there is no way.”

That was before Thursday’s news conference, during which Powell, with no evidence, suggested that the results from Nov. 3 were fraudulent and could be nullified because of the machines being used. On Friday, 13 days after the election result was declared, the president is set to welcome Michigan’s Republican legislative leadership to the White House.

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