For a second, cable information discovered one thing to agree on.
At half previous midday on Wednesday, shortly after President Biden wrapped up an inaugural handle calling for an period of reconciliation, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer declared that the “world witnessed democracy withstand one of its greatest tests.” Brian Williams of MSNBC mentioned Mr. Biden “gave the kind of inaugural address our presidents used to give.”
On Fox Information, residence to right-wing stars like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham who relentlessly championed former President Donald J. Trump, anchors and pundits took turns lauding Mr. Biden’s message and the person who delivered it.
“I’ve been listening to these inaugural addresses since 1961,” mentioned Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” anchor. “I thought this was the best inaugural address I ever heard.”
It was an uncommon — and maybe fleeting — second for a cable information panorama that had been rived by the years of Trump. The cultural divide over a polarizing president and the more and more fractured notion of what’s true and what’s a lie appeared to play out each day on 24-hour information networks, the place Individuals flocked in document numbers for outrage or consolation.
So it was unusual to listen to Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, inform Fox Information viewers that Mr. Biden had delivered “a great speech for the moment,” across the time that CNN’s Jake Tapper praised the brand new president’s “steely determination and compassion.”
Though he didn’t indict information shops by title, Mr. Biden infused his remarks with a dose of tacit media criticism, warning of “lies told for power and profit” and urging Individuals to “reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”
On Fox Information, Mr. Wallace mentioned journalists should take heed. “It was a call to all of us — whether it’s us on the air, on cable or broadcast, whether it’s us on social media, on our Twitter accounts — understanding that we have to deal from facts, from the truth, to hear each other out,” he mentioned.
Mr. Hannity was set to ship his tackle Mr. Biden’s speech on Wednesday night time, and it appeared uncertain that he could be as charitable. Within the afternoon, Ben Domenech, a right-wing pundit and common Fox Information visitor, allowed that Mr. Biden had begun on a “very good” notice however added, pointedly, “The proof is going to be in the pudding.”
Different pro-Trump information shops that had held off on declaring Mr. Biden the president-elect, even after his victory was irrefutable, had been extra keen to assault Mr. Trump’s successor in his first hours in workplace. On Newsmax on Wednesday, one pundit known as the large safety presence for the inauguration an effort “to further suppress the voice of the American people.”
On tv, the day was break up into two acts: Mr. Trump’s defiant exit adopted by Mr. Biden’s triumphant arrival.
Inauguration Days have been comparatively unchanged for many years, very similar to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Academy Awards broadcast or the Tremendous Bowl. For TV producers, there’s a playbook: The president-elect arrives on the White Home to fulfill his predecessor; a motorcade heads to the Capitol; anchors speak poetically concerning the peaceable switch of energy.
On Wednesday, almost a yr right into a pandemic that has killed greater than 400,000 Individuals, two weeks after a violent crowd of Trump supporters rioted on the Capitol, and one week after Mr. Trump turned the primary president to be impeached twice, there was a notably totally different tone.
“You don’t see a whole lot of tourists or spectators, you see a lot of police and military personnel,” Mr. Blitzer mentioned on CNN shortly after 7 a.m., over photographs of the frilly safety equipment and abandoned Washington streets. On CBS, the anchor Tony Dokoupil requested, “How did we get to the point where there are more law enforcement in Washington, D.C., than in overseas wars?”
A bit of previous eight a.m., information cameras had been skilled on Marine One, the presidential helicopter, because it swooped previous the Washington Monument and settled onto the South Garden of the White Home, making ready to spirit the image-conscious Mr. Trump away on one final experience.
“It is a stunning moment,” Mr. Tapper mentioned on CNN because the president, in his trademark oversize pink tie, and Melania Trump, in a jet-black Chanel ensemble, approached the plane. (The Fox Information anchor Ainsley Earhardt known as the primary girl’s outfit “a very Audrey Hepburn look.”)
The aerial view on each main community originated from a digital camera perched on the prime of the Washington Monument. It offered a tableau that might not have been misplaced within the opening credit of “The Apprentice,” full with sunshine glinting off the floor of Marine One because it lifted into the sky, the soon-to-be-ex-president in tow.
Networks that devoted a lot of the previous 4 years to criticizing Mr. Trump caught to their theme within the last hours of his presidency. With no hedging, Mr. Tapper declared Mr. Trump “disgraced.” His colleague Dana Bash added: “He looks small. He just looks like a small man.”
With Marine One in flight, the ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos recalled one other presidential departure by helicopter: “The image in my head,” he mentioned, “is Richard Nixon in 1974.”
Correspondents famous the absence of Mr. Trump from the Inauguration Day ceremony, the primary president in 152 years to skip out on the swearing-in of his successor. “This is a moment to turn the page,” mentioned John Dickerson of CBS Information. “We just have never seen a president who tried to hold on to the book.”
Marine One took Mr. Trump from the White Home to Andrews Air Drive Base, the place he orchestrated his personal farewell scene. Visually, it was no match for the patriotic regalia in retailer for Mr. Biden on the Capitol. A short chant of “Thank you, Trump,” might be heard from the small crowd.
This was neither the fearsome protagonist of “The Apprentice” nor the pugnacious campaigner of his rallies. As an alternative, Mr. Trump delivered a casual and considerably circuitous speech, concluding, “Have a good life.”
On Fox Information, the ultimate pictures of his turbulent reign had been overlaid with sympathetic commentary. “Regarding the press, he never got a break,” the “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy advised viewers. “He’s got to be a little steamed that nobody in the history of the American presidency has been beaten up as badly as Donald Trump has over the past four years.”
As for Mr. Trump, he saved up his function as govt producer of the presidency till the tip. He walked a pink carpet to Air Drive One, boarding the plane because the Village Folks’s disco anthem “Y.M.C.A.” blared from loudspeakers.
The cameras caught with Air Drive One because it ready for takeoff at round 9 a.m. With anchors hushed, a well-known valedictory theme might be heard: Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The track reached a climax because the wheels of Air Drive One left the bottom. On CNN, the panelists couldn’t suppress a number of chuckles at a second that appeared virtually scripted.
Minimize to a picture of Mr. Biden and the longer term first girl attending a morning church service.
“The Biden family,” mentioned the anchor Anderson Cooper. “A new beginning.”
Tiffany Hsu contributed reporting.