CNSNews.com was still pushing Republican talking points on the day of the midterm elections, but the reality of poor GOP performance slowly sank in -- to the point that it was even critical of Donald Trump.
By Terry Krepel Posted 1/4/2023
After playing up Republican talking points and nitpicking President Biden in the run-up to the midterm elections, Election Day finally came on Nov. 8 -- and CNSNews.com was still pushing Republican narratives. Susan Jones set up the narrative regarding "election integrity" and election fraud -- suggesting that results that aren't complete on the night of the election may be fraudulent -- in a Nov. 7 article, while taking her usual partisan shots at Biden:
President Biden has said this, and his press secretary repeated it on Monday: It may take a few days to determine the outcome of some close, or legally challenged, elections.
In Pennsylvania, for example, lawsuits already have been filed over thousands of absentee ballots that were not properly dated, and which therefore must not be counted, by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Democrat Senate candidate John Fetterman has joined a lawsuit challenging the court ruling.
Jean-Pierre said President Biden has a "full schedule" at the White House on this Election Day. "As I previously said, we expect the President will address the elections the day afterwards. And when we have details on the timing of that, we of course will share it with all of you," she said.
In response to a follow-up question, Jean-Pierre said, "You’re going to hear from the President. He always enjoys taking your questions. [Clearly, he does not.]
On Election Day Nov. 8, first up was Craig Bannister, who complained:
The White House said that the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections aren’t supposed to be known immediately after Election Day and, in several states, they won’t, news reports reveal.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeated President Joe Biden’s prediction that election results won’t be finalized on time, this year, adding that “that’s how this is supposed to work”:
This was followed by an article from Micky Wootten complaining that "the Department of Justice announced that it would be sending poll monitors to 64 jurisdictions across 24 states 'to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws.'" Another article by Bannister hyped Republican claims that monitoring those elections amounts to intimidation:
Florida and Missouri have told the U.S. Justice Department that they will not allow the DOJ to violate their state laws by going through with its plan to deploy election monitors to their states.
Missouri’s Secretary of State has said that his state will not allow federal agents to illegally intimidate voters,CNN reports:
Missouri law empowers local election authorities to dictate who may be at polling locations.
Florida has also notified the DOJ it would be illegal for it to intervene in the state’s elections.
Bannister didn't cite which laws in those states explicitly forbade federal election monitors -- nor did he mention that the monitors would be there to check compliance with federal laws, not state laws. Bannister also didn't mention that just the day before, CNS had approvingly quoted RNC chair Ronna McDaniel declaring that "poll watching is not intimidating" and hyping how "We have poll watchers everywhere. We have 100% coverage," let alone why GOP monitors are OK and federal ones are "illegal."
CNS even made time for some last-minute pro-GOP stenography on Election Day. Melanie Arter wrote:
Despite the White House’s warning that election results may take days to be determined, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) predicted that we’ll know tonight the fate of the House and Senate and gubernatorial races.
“We're going to know these results tonight, and we are seeing historic turnout. I will tell you in my district in upstate New York, and that bodes very well for statewide tickets like Lee Zeldin. We are seeing Democrats underperform consistently, when it comes to early vote numbers, but I expect results tonight. I expect results when it comes to winning back the House as well as the U.S. Senate and our gubernatorial races,” she told Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
“Democrats have been tone-deaf. So has the mainstream media but the good news is the voters in this country are smarter than the mainstream media biased media, which is why the voters and the American people are going to save this country, and it’s why we have states like New York, Oregon Washington state. We have an opportunity to have once-in-a-generation Republican wins,” she said.
Arter shilled for a GOP candidate that day as well:
Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters promised Tuesday to grind President Biden’s agenda to a halt until he secures the southern border.
“We bear the blunt of this crisis, but the reality is Joe Biden and Mark Kelly and their open borders policies, they've turned every county, not just in Arizona, but every county in America, into a border county,” Masters told Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
Masters said that the GOP plans to “bear hug” Biden’s administration and send them a message that nothing gets through unless he actually secures the border.
When asked what he plans to do to stop the flow of fentanyl through the southern border, the congressman said, “Well, by taking back Congress, right. We are going to send Biden a message. We’re going to bear hug his whole administration. I’m going to grind his agenda to a halt unless and until we get border security.
“I’m not going to vote for a thing, not a single thing, not a continuing resolution, not a single appointee unless Joe Biden actually does something to secure our border. That’s the leverage that one senator has. It’s the leverage that Mark Kelly has had for the last 20 months. Remember we had a 50-50 Senate,” Masters said.
As usual, Arter didn't allow anyone to respond to Stefanik or Masters.
Even Pat Buchanan -- whose presidential campaigns CNS editor Terry Jeffrey worked for in 1992 and 1996 -- got on the GOP talking points bandwagon in his Nov. 8 column:
Which brings us to what the election is really all about: the failure of a regime, and of the president, party and philosophy steering that regime.
"Democracy" is not on the ballot. What is on the ballot is a huge slice of the leadership and ruling class of the national Democratic Party, which is not the same thing.
What is being decided by the ballots this election season is the verdict of the nation on a president who has failed, a party that has failed, and a political philosophy that has failed.
Democracy has not failed America. The reigning Democrats have failed America. And their desperate leaders are urging us to equate their party's defeat and repudiation with a rejection of our political system.
If we lose the election to these Republicans, Democratic leaders have been telling America, it is because the American people preferred fascism to democracy.
This is the Big Lie of 2022.
Buchanan didn't say what it would mean if voters decided that Biden and the Democrats weren't the failures he insists they are and rejected Republicans at the ballot box.
Bannister also touted how Republican Rep. (and CNS fave) Jim Jordan, speaking at an election-eve rally in Ohio being held by Donald Trump, declared that "Americans need to embrace three 'words of action' from the Bible" -- though, in true bipartisan fashion, he dinged Jordan for inaccurately paraphrasing the Bible quote Jordan referenced.
CNS' Nov. 9 coverage began with Goodenough expressing sadness that right-wing anti-abortion measures lost at the ballot box:
While abortion was indirectly on the ballot for many voters across the nation in Tuesday’s midterm election, it was also the subject of specific ballot measures in five states with results disappointing for pro-lifers.
In California, Michigan and Vermont, voters were considering measures enshrining abortion “rights” in the constitutions of each state (abortion is already legal under state law in California and Vermont), while in Kentucky and Montana, voters faced decisions on ballot measures designed to limit access to abortions.
As of at 2 AM Wednesday eastern time, support for Montana’s Legislative Referendum 131 was lagging behind, by around 45.5 points to 54.5, although with only around half of the votes tallied.
The referendum asked voters in Montana to adopt the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which declares that babies born alive, including after an attempted abortion, are legal persons.
“The measures in CA, KY, & MI are deeply disappointing & show the need to redouble our efforts of education & persuasion on the value of human life,” tweeted LiveAction president Lila Rose.
“Our movement must match & exceed the reach & resources of the abortion industry, especially on questions directly before voters.”
“Extremely sad day to be a Californian,” Rose said. “Killing children on demand, through all nine months of pregnancy, enshrined into law. May God have mercy on our state.”
Planned Parenthood Action was celebrating the results in the five states.
Of the projected defeat of the Montana measure that seeks to ensure that all babies born alive are cared for, the abortion advocacy group said, “Montana voters you did this!! You voted for reproductive freedom, rejecting a dangerous attempt to put politicians in charge of our personal medical decisions.”
Note that Goodenough used biased right-wing nomenclature like "pro-life" and "abortion advocacy" to describe the sides of the debate.
But rather than dwelling on Republican losses, CNS cranked out several articles touting Republican wins and talking points:
President Biden began his post-midterm election press conference on Wednesday by pointing out that there wasn’t any election interference and that the “giant red wave” that was predicted by pundits and the media didn’t happen.
“Our democracy has been tested, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven again that democracy is who we are. The states across the country saw record voter turnout. The heart and soul of our democracy, the voters, the poll workers, election officials, they did their job,” the president said.
The president said that voters spoke clearly on the issue of abortion.
“Another thing that we know is that voters spoke clearly about their concerns, about raising costs, the rising costs and the need to get inflation down. There's still a lot of people hurting. They're very concerned. It's about crime and public safety. They sent a clear and unmistakable message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country,” Biden said.
It wasn't until two days after the election, on Nov. 10, that CNS got around to acting less like an arm of the Republican National Committee and more like the "news" organization it likes to claim it is by actually going somewhat in-depth on how bad Republicans did in the midterms compared with typical expectations.
First out of the gate in the morning was Susan Jones, who led with GOP cheerleading on how "Republicans are jockeying for leadership positions" in the House, but the headline quoted one Republican saying that "I actually believe the outcome would have been better last night if the voters trusted Republicans." Jones then touted weirdly sour grapes from Republicans who actually won and blamed Democrats for GOP underperformance:
Sen. Marco Rubio says his Democrat opponent out-raised him 2 to 1, but he easily won re-election in bright red Florida Tuesday night. Republicans elsewhere did not fare as well, and it's no wonder, Rubio told Fox News's Sean Hannity:
"Literally everything in our society and culture is aligned against Republicans. It's a miracle Republicans win anywhere. Virtually every major television and media outlet in America is against us. All the celebrities. All the movie actors. I mean, you name it. It's just constant. The tech companies. The list goes -- now major American corporations.
“So it's amazing that Republicans are even competitive, much less winning these seats. Look, I think we're going to win the House. We still have a real chance. We're going to win Nevada. I think Arizona.”
Rubio called the delayed vote totals in Arizona "an embarrassment," especially compared with the state of Florida, which "had every vote tabulated" on election night.
Following Rubio on Hannity's show, Sen. Ron Johnson said "lies," amplified by the media, account for his narrow victory over a leftist Democrat.
Then came some actual Republican laments (for the most part) in an article by Lauren Shank:
The talk of a “red wave” coming to the polls and pivoting the election results to a landslide Republican majority did not live up to expectations as final congressional races are called.
A major upset in the lack of an apparent “red wave” caused a variety of responses from the GOP, attempting to identify why Republican-sweeping results did not turn out.
President of the Heritage Foundation Kevin Roberts tweeted, “The lesson thus far from the non-wave election: bold leadership, with a clear policy plan, matters. Conservatives, as I’ve said all year, needed a bolder plan, and much earlier.”
I understand things didn’t go as well as we wanted them to last night, but I find the utter depression I’m seeing to be a little melodramatic and unhelpful,” conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey tweeted. “1) We had some great wins last night and 2) Jesus is the same yesterday, today, & forever (Heb 13:8).”
Texas Congresswoman Mayra Flores suggested, “The RED WAVE did not happen. Republicans and Independents stayed home. DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS IF YOU DID NOT DO YOUR PART!”
Shank failed to mention that Flores lost her election.
CNS still made sure to tout a couple more GOP wins:
Democrat John Fetterman beat his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, and claimed the title for Pennsylvania’s next senator. Fetterman gave his winning speech Wednesday, focusing mostly on thanking everyone who helped him secure the win.
Supporters cheered Fetterman as he stood on stage in his infamous hoodie attire, and began his speech with, “Yeah, I uh I’m I’m not really sure really what to say right now, my goodness,” and “I am uh yeah.”
“Yeah, I mean, uh so I am I’m so humbled, thank you so much, really, thank you, thank you,” Fetterman said.
Shank didn't mention that Fetterman is recovering from a stroke, but she didn't have to. She was parroting the nasty attacks on Fetterman by CNS' parent, the Media Research Center.
For her first article on Nov. 11, Jones did what CNS hasn't done for years -- make Donald Trump look like the crazy, unstable person he is by accurately quoting him:
In a flurry of statements on Thursday, former President Donald Trump dumped on his possible Republican rival, whom he has branded Ron "DeSanctimonious"; he slammed CNN and other media outlets; and he called Pennsylvania a corrupt state.
Then he sent an email to supporters, asking: "Would you vote for me a THIRD TIME?"
Trump has teased a "big announcement" on November 15th, when he's widely expected to announce a third run for president.
His statements came after The Wall Street Journal declared that "Trump is the Republican Party's biggest loser" in the midterm elections; and after the New York Post hailed Gov. Ron DeSantis as "DeFuture" of the Republican Party, sidelining Donald as "Trumpty Dumpty."
Shockingly, Jones included no spin at all. Could that cost her her CNS job?
Briefly souring on Trump
CNS was still feeling emboldened enough to take shots at Trump. A Nov. 14 article by Jones highlighted Republican politician Chris Christie pointing out that "Trump has convinced some Republicans that the 2020 election "was stolen," but independent voters don't like it," adding that "I think what Republicans came to grips with Tuesday night was we're tired of losing and we're tired of Donald Trump dragging us to lose because of his personal vanities." Melanie Arter, surprisingly, was the one to drop the hammer on Trump in another article that day:
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that former President Donald Trump has cost the GOP an election victory for the third time in a row.
“I have been talking about this for years, and it seemed as if I was the only one talking about it, but, today, there are a whole lot more people talking about it, and the way I would interpret it, look, this was -- this should have been a huge red wave. It should have been one of the biggest red waves we have ever had, because President Biden's approval rating was so low, one of the lowest historically,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
More than 70 percent of people thought the country was going in the wrong direction, and yet we still didn't perform, and I think commonsense conservatives that focused on talking about issues people cared about, like the economy and crime and education,” the governor said.
“They did win, but people who tried to re-litigate the 2020 election and focused on conspiracy theories and talked about things the voters didn't care about, they were almost universally rejected, and I think it's basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race, and it's like three strikes, you're out,” he said.
When asked what he thinks will happen if Trump announces a 2024 presidential bid, Hogan said, “Well, there's no question he's still the 800-pound gorilla, and it's still a battle. It's going to continue for the next two years. I would just say that we're two years out from the next election, and we're just trying to -- the dust is settling from this one. I think it'd be a mistake. As I mentioned, Trump's cost us the last three election, and I don't want to see it happen a fourth time.”
Hogan said there’s “no question” that if Trump does announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race, he could cost Republicans the Senate run-off in Georgia between Herschel Walker and Sen. Rafael Warnock.
“No question about that. I mean, that's not as consequential now. We still would like to win Georgia, but we're not going to win back the Senate as a result, and that's Donald Trump's fault,” the governor said.
It wasn't all bad news, though; another Nov. 14 article by Craig Bannister cheered how comedian Dave Chappelle called Trump an "honest liar," which made him a star among "poor whites."
Things got further back on track with a Nov. 16 article by Patrick Goodenough serving up stenography to mark Trump's announcement for the 2024 presidential campaign. Bannister followed that up with a Trump apologist who denied that Trump's speech lacked energy:
Donald Trump’s tone was exactly what needed to be not “low energy” as liberal media claim Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said Tuesday after the former president announced his 2024 presidential candidacy.
“I thought it was the exact pitch he needed to do,” Rep. Donalds concluded in an interview on Fox Business Channel’s “Varney & Company,” analyzing Trump’s announcement.
Americans should have no doubt that Trump knows how to run the country, Donalds said. But, they do want to know what his tone will be and how he plans to conduct himself, if reelected, the congressman said:
“If this is what you see from Donald Trump for 16 months, he’s going to be president again,” Rep. Donalds predicted. However, Donalds has not yet said whether he will end up backing Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to be his party’s 2024 candidate.
Still, as Human Events Senior Editor Jack Posobiec tweeted Tuesday, liberal media will criticize Donald Trump no matter what his tone is:
And that low-energy effort was the last of CNS' coverage of Trump's announcement.