CNSNews.com went into Election Day with its usual pro-Trump bias on top of the pro-Trump polls it was promoting: for example, one article by Melanie Arter hyped how "Stony Brook University political science professor Helmut Norpoth, whose election model correctly predicted the winner over the past 100 elections and correctly predicted President Donald Trump’s win in 2016, has predicted that Trump has a 91 percent chance of winning," and another Arter piece featured right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh arguing that "he thinks the majority of early voters and absentee voters are Trump supporters who are fed up with the way that President Donald Trump has been treated."
But -- in an apparently instance of hedging its bets -- CNS also set up a narrative in case Trump didn't win by publishing a Nov. 2 op-ed by the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky insisting that not only is election fraud a threat, denial of election fraud is too.
CNS' first post-election coverage came from Patrick Goodenough, who gushed that "President Trump’s chances were looking stronger than opinion polls had suggested." Since it was so close, it was time to aggressively push the narrative that the election was being stolen from Trump:
- Trump Says He’ll Go to Supreme Court: ‘As Far as I’m Concerned, We Already Have Won’
- Trump Tweets: 'Surprise Ballot Dumps' Made His Solid Leads Disappear
- Sen. Blackburn: 'Unbelievable' That Some States Would Pause Their Vote-Counting
- Gov. Wolf: 'Pennsylvania Will Have a Fair Election...Free of Outside Influences'
- Trump Campaign to Request Recount in Wisconsin
- Mark Levin: Media Peddling ‘Nonsense’ that Trump Never Had a Chance, Delayed Vote-Counting Is Normal
- Eric Trump: ‘They’re Trying to Cheat’
But as more votes were counted, Joe Biden moved closer to victory, forcing CNS to add a new framing narrative: it's just a media thing. That was illustrated by a Goodenough article headlined "Media Organizations Have Biden Edging Towards 270 Electoral Votes."
From there, CNS tried to justify the stolen-election narrative and Trump's efforts to fight reality in court:
- McConnell: 'Going to Court Is the Way We Resolve Uncertainty in Our Country'
- Gov. DeSantis: 'Transparency' Minimizes 'Funny Business' in Florida Vote Counting
- Trump Campaign: Poll Watchers in Philadelphia Were Forced to Observe Ballot Counting 30 Feet Away
- Court Orders Philadelphia to Give Trump Team 'Immediate Access' to Vote-Counting Center
- Trump Campaign Files Lawsuit Over Voting ‘Irregularities’ in Nevada
- Biden Has 917-Vote Lead in Georgia; Trump Whittles Away at Biden’s Lead in Arizona
- Trump: Democrats Knew They Couldn't Win; 'That's Why They Did the Mail-In Ballots'
This was joined by a Nov. 5 article by managing editor Michael W. Chapman in which John McLaughlin, CEO and Partner of the consulting firm McLaughlin & Associates, said that many of the presidential polling firms deliberately boosted their poll numbers to suggest that Democrat Joe Biden was ahead of Republican Donald Trump in many states, all in order to suppress the vote of Trump supporters." McLaughlin presented no evidence -- and Chapman apparently didn't ask for any -- that would prove his assertion, which dovetails nicely with a similar conspiracy theory forwarded by Chapman's boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell.
Curiously, Chapman waited until the very end of his 22-paragraph article to make a highly relevant disclosure: "McLaughlin & Associates is one of several firms doing polling for President Trump and the Trump-Pence campaign." Shouldn't that have been disclosed much earlier so that McLaughlin's bias could be taken into account? Chapman clearly didn't believe so.
(McLaughlin is also whom the MRC hired to manufacture a poll finding that the media stole the election for Biden, and the MRC has yet to tell its readers it hired Trump's pollster.)
Still, the news turned worse for Trump -- that is, it became more clear that Biden was winning. It grudgingly published a couple articles noting how Nancy Pelosi was proclaiming Biden the winner; in the second, Susan Jones parenthetically huffed, "As she spoke, even media outlets had not yet called the election for Biden."
When it became inescapably clear that Biden would win, CNS framed it again as a media narrative in an anonymously written Nov. 7 article: "The major television networks and the New York Times and The Washington Post are now projecting that Joe Biden will be the president of the United States." That was joined by a couple more anonymous attack pieces on Biden, under the headlines "Biden Says Anatomical Males Should Be Able to Say They Are Female on U.S. Passports" and "Biden Says Taxpayers Must Pay for Abortions."
So, yeah, they're not taking this well.