The media, bar its conservative flank, is the hero in resolving the nearly constitutional impasse from the 2020 presidential election between incumbent President Donald Trump and challenger, Joe Biden, who has so far garnered 306 of the 538 Electoral College electors.
The CNN, leading international television network, is emerging as a guiding light in the desperate effort to uphold America’s rule of law as the legal and moral standard of the 2020 presidential election.
Oxford English Dictionary defines rule of law as “the authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behaviour; the principle (that) all members of a society are equally subject to.”
It is a common fundamental principle of governance derived from the United Kingdom’s Magna Carta of 1215, when the power of the absolute monarch was negotiated and significantly reduced.
With rule of law, all citizens and institutions are accountable to the demands of the laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated and (expected to be) consistent with international human rights principles. It’s the bulwark against impunity.
In pledging to keep the military out of America’s politics, General Mark Miller, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff, put it this way: “We (in the military) do not take an oath to a king, or a queen, a tyrant, or dictator.
“We do not take an oath to a country, a tribe, or a religion. We take an oath to the Constitution. And every soldier… every sailor, airman, marine, (and) coast guardsman… will protect and defend that document (that is, the Constitution) regardless of personal price.
“It is that document that gives purpose to our service. And we in uniform are willing to die to pass it on to the next generation. In it are the ideas and the values that make up this experiment called the United States of America. And the motto of the United States Army… has been, ‘This we will defend.’ And this refers to the Constitution.”
So, it is the personal resolve of each to commit to what has been agreed that makes the American democracy. America’s most agreed documents are: The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, The Constitution of the United States, and The Amendment Notes.
The media has been able to mass up quite a number of Republican stalwarts, who openly disagree with President Trump, fault his claim to having won the election, and call for him to allow the transition process to commence.
The Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, asked President Trump to concede the election. A former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, declares that though he is a Republican, America comes first.
Unfortunately, Grand Old Party members who support President Trump have encouraged white supremacist groups, like the violently nationalist Proud Boys and QAnon, who think an international sex trafficking ring wants to pull down Trump’s government.
President Trump’s cheerleaders, like Rudi Giuliani, a former New York City Mayor and latter day presidential lawyer, are moving from state to state like “Round Robin,” fishing for elusive electoral fraud. The President and Vice President Mike Pence appear to be back on the hustings, campaigning after election.
The American media, with capacity to receive, tally and report presidential election results, plays the crucial role of presidential election umpire because America has no central or national electoral agency.
But there is a gap in the provisions of the Constitution. To elect the President, Article 2 of the Constitution provides: “Each State shall appoint… a Number of Electors… (who) shall meet in their respective States, and vote… and make a List of all the Persons voted for, and the Number of Votes for each…
“The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed… And if there be more than one who have such a Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes (meaning a tie), then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse (choose) by Ballot one of them for President;
“And if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House (of Representatives) shall in like manner chuse the President… The Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the President.”
The devil that President Trump probably wants to exploit is in the 19th Amendment: “If the House of Representatives shall not choose a President… before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.”
Albeit, CNN continues to update and project the results of the popular vote and the number of electors garnered by each candidate, and leads the countdown to the 12 noon, January 20, 2021, Inaugural of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President.
The media addresses Biden and Harris as President-elect and Vice President-elect respectively. They accuse lameduck President Trump of stonewalling and attempting to subvert America’s democracy and disenfranchise the majority that voted for Biden.
CNN is especially consistent in shooting down President Trump’s tweets that he was cheated out of the election, and constantly requires him to accept the results and concede that he lost the election to Biden.
The media covered Biden’s meetings with a bipartisan group of governors, Big Business and Big Labour players, like behemoth automaker General Motors, ICT giant Microsoft, and labour cartels American Federation of Labour-Council of Industrial Organisations and the United Auto Workers.
The media also painstakingly reports Biden’s probable nominees for top positions in his incoming cabinet, some of whom are well known, like John Kerry, former President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.
Biden has also taken his luck to the high of meeting, and discussing possible laws that his government may need the American Congress to pass, with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, who are Democrats, by the way.
The media also mounts a permanent vigil at his press centre and waits on his pronouncements with all the diligence deserving of a President-elect, despite the intransigence of drama queen President Trump.
The media, observing that President Trump adamantly approaches the courts for redress despite the glaring weakness of his case, started to goad Biden to ask the courts to compel Trump to accord him his dues as President-elect.
The press is encouraging this route because the courts have consistently thrown out the prayers of Trump’s campaign lawyers to overturn the election results for want of evidence of the voter fraud alleged.
Everyone is surprised that America that is generous with its hypocrisy to remove the political speck from the eyes of other nations is unable to remove the log in its own eyes. This is one case where democratic charity does not begin from home.
Anyway, after some “whereases, heretofores and so therefore,” the General Services Agency, charged with government procurement and property management, but also responsible for granting Presidents-elect access to government funding and briefings, upon ascertaining the presidential elections certified by the states, finally accorded Biden measured recognition.
The title of Jeremy Tunstall’s book on communication, “The Media Are America,” may prove prophetic as the American media shapes America’s democracy.