Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud made during a 17-minute White House tirade led to multiple US news networks cutting away.
ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as cable’s MSNBC all interrupted the US President during his press conference on Thursday, with anchors left having to correct some of his falsehoods.
The incumbent leader looks on course for an historic loss to rival Joe Biden in what would be only the fourth time a serving President has failed to be re-elected.
He timed his briefing during evening newscasts in order to draw in the biggest audience and attack the Democrats for ‘rigging’ the election, but offered no evidence.
Anchors from the big three networks were forced to cut in and correct his ‘truths’, while cable networks Fox News and CNN aired the full briefing, but reported afterward that the president offered no evidence for his accusations of vote fraud.
“We have to interrupt here, because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said Lester Holt, the NBC Nightly News anchor.
He added: “There has been no evidence of that.”
While ABC anchor David Muir told viewers “there’s a lot to unpack here and fact-check”, and CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes spent about 90 seconds running through several of Trump’s baseless statements.
Cable channel MSNBC – which has a substantial liberal following – was the first network to shut down the President’s rant on Thursday, with anchor Brian Williams telling viewers “we just can’t have it”.
“It was not rooted in reality and, at this point in where our country is, it’s dangerous,” he said, adding the decision to cut him off “was not done as a stunt, or out of theatrics”.
CNN placed a caption across the screen stating: “WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE, TRUMP SAYS HE’S BEING CHEATED.”
And while Fox went with “TRUMP: ‘THEY’RE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION’”, chief White House correspondent John Roberts clarified afterwards: “We haven’t seen any evidence.”
During the extraordinary rant, in which Trump broke a 36-hours silence as the election count continues, had said: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win.
“If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
He said he was the victim of a conspiracy by “big media, big money and big tech” in an unhinged rant which appeared to also be a veiled attack at his own party, which has failed to voice support for his claims.
“As everyone now recognises media polling was election interference in the truest sense of that word,” Trump continued.
“By powerful special interests, these really phony polls, I have to call them phony polls, state polls, were designed to keep our voters at home, create the illusion of momentum for Mr Biden and diminish Republicans abilities to raise funds.
“They were what’s called suppression polls, everyone knows that now. And it’s never been used to the extent that it’s been used on this last election,” he said.
As the President stormed out of the briefing room, one reporter asked: “Are you a sore loser?”
Trump’s live appearances have consistently caused TV networks issues, particularly during the pandemic, as he often spouts ‘facts’ which are considered misleading or completely wrong.