November 5, 2020
MSNBC heavily focused on reporting the data, being sure to explain the numbers without showing strong bias to either candidate. However, several of the reporting guests clearly focused on discussing Biden, showing slight disdain for President Trump. Mike Memoli was brought on specifically to discuss Bidens’s campaign, meanwhile, the network did not have a specialized reporter for Trump.
MSNBC throughout the night used a combination of graphics and language to explain to the audience what the numerous numbers on the screen were referring to. They were able to show a closer look at what each individualized county’s numbers meant for each county.
They used comparisons between the 2016 election and the 2020 election, to give viewers an idea for what states were expected to continue as either Democratic or Republican and explained which states each presidential candidate would need to gain in order to secure victory where the 2016 democrat could not. The usage of the 2016 electoral map was particularly helpful due to the slow count of votes due to mail-in ballots which made it difficult to show any significant results.
“Once result for mail-in voting come in, numbers could start looking very different,” the analyst said.
The hosts made sure to mention that most mail-in ballots would skew left, while in-person voting would skew right. This helped to explain why certain states didn’t have conclusive results quite yet. MSNBC primarily had white male broadcasters and journalists, with the exception of a few female anchors and Amy Holmes, a Black woman who holds a strong position as an anchor.
Due to the nature of the night, which was primarily data-focused, the lack of strong diversity did not devalue the reporting. MSNBC managed a clear report of data and explained the difficulties in making any guesses before the week is over. The channel continues to relay information to viewers, as votes come in.