News outlets around the world wait, watch and wonder

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By Alexandra Cogan, Mona Dougani, Noah Foshée, Jalen Holloway, 

Shannon McGuire, and Austin Watkins

As Americans tuned in to news outlets on Thursday, hoping to hear final election results, they found media coverage ranging from stories about election fraud charges to tales of families divided by candidate choices. But instead of the polarized reporting many had come to expect, most news organizations – large and small – stuck to basic facts, vote tallies and voter comments.

In a strong move for balanced reporting, Fox aired a segment featuring Arnon Mishkin, Fox News decision desk director, who doubled down on the conservative-leaning network’s decision to call Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden victorious in Arizona. 

“I’m sorry, the President is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead that the former vice-president has,’’ Mishkin said.

Mishkin’s move sparked protests among Trump supporters, who rallied outside The White House last night demanding Fox retract its decision.

It was as if all eyes – at home and abroad – were fixed on America’s electoral process, results, and aftermath, all of which have become a referendum on whether America is still a voice of reason and a standard-bearer for democracy.

A survey by Chronicle reporters of both mainstream and alternative outlets painted a picture of a nation at a critical juncture, with some questioning the legitimacy of the election process and others asking how future elections could be made more secure and efficient. Here is what we found:

ACROSS THE POND

In its lead U.S. story yesterday, US Election 2020: How the world is reacting to knife-edge vote the British Broadcasting Corporation said that the winner, the free world’s new leader, will be critical in determining who America’s allies and enemies will be. 

According to the report, both President Trump and Joseph R. Biden have pledged to be tough on China, a country where U.S. relations are at an all-time low. China’s official Xinhua news agency meanwhile reported that they expect chaos and social unrest following the US election.

Deep concern about social unrest is shared by many countries, including Russia, whose state-run TV news channel Rossiya 24 reported that they are “continuing to follow the madness.” The Russian politician Vyacheslav Nikonov even suggested for the world to “stock up on large quantities of popcorn” as the election results unfold. 

News outlets representing European allies Germany, France, UK and Slovenia commented on the tense situation in the U.S. and their worries of future allyship. 

Iran media stories were suggesting that the U.S. is facing the “threat of civil war,” with articles saying that the situation “looks very scary.”

Latin American journalists focused on the Florida results, with stories about Hispanic voters who said that Trump was the candidate who will keep them safe from “a socialist government.”

Whether Trump or Biden is elected, the BBC reported, one thing is for certain- the world will change. — By Alexandra Cogan

TRUMP ROAST AND AMERICA’S GREAT DIVIDE

With former Vice President Biden in the lead over President Trump in the 2020 US election and some Republicans questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 voting process, the foreign press weighed in, comparing Trump to a “late Roman emperor.”

In Japan, the newspaper Mainichi noted that “responsibility for fanning the divide and amplifying the confusion lies with Mr. Trump.” 

In the United Arab Emirates, the National, a state-owned English daily, highlighted the divide in America caused by the confluence of a major election, an economic crisis, and a pandemic. The news organization suggested that America needs a motivator to help America come together, something it called “Blitz spirit.” – By Austin Watkins

TWITTER HIDES TRUMP TWEETS

In another BBC News story yesterday, social media giant Twitter again weighed in after President Trump voiced his opinion on social media about how votes are swaying in some states, implying skepticism about how votes were being counted. 

In one of his tweets, Trump had written that his vote advantage in key Democrat-run states had “started to magically disappear.”

Twitter moved to hide the President’s tweets behind warnings that say the claims are disputed and might be misleading. Users’ ability to reply to and like the posts is also being limited.

Another platform operating similarly is Facebook, which has now placed fact check boxes under some of Trump’s posts to indicate that they may be misleading. — By Jalen Holloway

WHAT’S THE HOLD-UP?

For those around the globe on the edge of their seats, asking, “Who is going to be the next President?” a BBC news story has an answer and an explanation for those unfamiliar with the US voting system.  

Though Biden has won the popular vote, the article explains, the electoral vote is the deciding factor in who wins America’s Presidential election. “There are 538 state votes and the person who gets 270 wins the prize,” according to the BBC article. The electoral votes are part of the long wait for a final outcome, and unlike other countries, in the US, individual states make laws about when and how to tally the votes. 

So, why is it taking so long? Biden is leading, but Trump is trailing close behind, doing better than anticipated in some traditionally Democratic states. The race is close in many swing states, meaning the world will continue to wait as some key states carry on with counting votes. — By Mona Dougani

A VIEW FROM AFRICA

Reuters reported on views of the election through the lenses of those in Africa, where reactions ranged from dark humor to concern.

The story said that many Africans are worried about what President Trump’s early victory claim might signal to their leaders. Recent elections in Africa have faced similar accusations of cheating and violence, such as in Guinea where dozens were killed during protests before and after their presidential election last month, where their President won a controversial third term.

The story added that many Africans find the American situation ironic, with one quote from a Tanzanian citizen who believes what they are seeing with President Trump is no different than that in African politics. — By Noah Foshée

RIDING THE BENCH, HOPING FOR A WIN

An Associated Press news article, “Trump sues in 3 states, laying ground for contesting outcome,” focussed on reports that President Trump sued Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia after hearing about Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Michigan on Wednesday.

“President Donald Trump’s campaign put into action the legal strategy the president had signaled for weeks,” according to the AP article. “Attacking the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean his defeat.”

With existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, Trump’s lawsuit demands better access for campaign observers, alleging concern for absentee ballot counting.

“What makes these charades especially pathetic is that while Trump is demanding recounts in places he has already lost, he’s simultaneously engaged in fruitless attempts to halt the counting of votes in other states in which he’s on the road to defeat,” said Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, in a statement for AP news.

In previous years, results reported on Election Day are considered unofficial, and ballot counting extends past that day. This year, due to COVID-19, there was a predicted “avalanche of mail ballots driven by fears of voting in person during a pandemic,” according to the AP.

“The lawsuits the Trump campaign filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania on Wednesday called for a temporary halt in the counting until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed.” – By Shannon McGuire

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.