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Media defending slow vote count in Nevada, Arizona, grew frustrated with stalled tally in 2020 Iowa caucuses


As mainstream media pundits have been defending the multi-day long vote counts for Arizona and Nevada’s midterm races, urging a frustrated electorate that this is "normal," "ordinary," and "part of the process," press coverage of the 2020 Democratic Iowa caucuses showed hosts and pundits growing exasperated over the stalled vote tally.

Media watchdog outlet NewsBusters compiled two video montages, one of the media’s reactions to 2022’s still ongoing vote count, and one of reactions to the delayed counting in the key 2020 Democratic presidential caucus state.

Side by side, the videos reveal two contradictory media attitudes to similar prolonged vote tabulation processes. 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 11: Election workers open mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 11, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ballots continue to be counted in Maricopa County three days after voters went to the polls for the midterm election in Arizona. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 11: Election workers open mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 11, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ballots continue to be counted in Maricopa County three days after voters went to the polls for the midterm election in Arizona. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The footage from 2022 show pundits such as MSNBC's Katy Tur, MSNBC contributor Michael Steele, and CNN’s John King, among others, urging viewers to stay calm and recognize that Arizona taking nearly four days now to count its votes for the governor and U.S. Senate race is part of the process.

However, the video from 2020 reveals growing frustrations among many of the pundits from these mainstream networks that vote counting was being dragged out over multiple days to decide who won the major Democratic contest in Iowa.

Watching these videos in succession reveals the hypocrisy of the media concerning the country’s vote counting process.

In the 2022 video, Tur urged her viewers to understand that the count in Arizona and Nevada is "gonna take time, and that is normal." ABC reporter Terry Moran told "Good Morning America" viewers, "This is normal. Ordinary Arizonans will continue the ordinary work of counting votes."

The race between GOP candidate Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs is still undecided.

The race between GOP candidate Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs is still undecided.

MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele is shown telling MSNBC viewers, "This is part of the process. This is normal. Don’t get upset." CNN anchors and correspondents are then shown in quick succession saying the counting process "takes time" as if it were a talking point. 

CNN anchor John King told viewers, "We need to be patient." NBC late night host Seth Meyers says, "We have to be patient," and CNN anchor Don Lemon claims, "And they’re working really, really hard to get everything done in a timely fashion, and so patience, patience, patience." 

However, in the compilation of 2020 reactions to extended Iowa vote counts, pundits from some of the same outlets were shown clearly lacking patience. That video opens with MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson quipping, "Breaking this morning, the Iowa Caucuses. They’re what’s breaking because the system is actually broken." Then-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo calls the delayed results an "epic failure by the Iowa state Democratic Party." 

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle is shown emphatically saying, "We still don’t know the numbers." CBS’s Gayle King makes flippant remarks, saying, "It seems the jokes are gonna start writing themselves." The video then provides a quick succession of cuts with journalists from CNN, MSNBC and ABC claiming "chaos" with regard to the count.

The Nevada U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt is still undecided.

The Nevada U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt is still undecided.(Associated Press)

CNN anchor Van Jones then calls the count "a real debacle," and a then-"CBS This Morning" anchor describes it as "not a good look for Democrats."

NewsBusters senior research analyst Bill D’Agostino, who compiled both videos, captioned the latter, stating, "FLASHBACK: Vote counting for the 2020 Democratic Iowa Caucus was so abysmally bad that even the media dunked on it. Keep in mind, this is the same media who are now wagging their fingers at you like kindergarten teachers, and lecturing you about patience in Arizona and Nevada."

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