What's New(s)

WHAT’S NEW(S) – 06/11/2020

WHAT’S NEW(S) – 06/11/2020

This weekly broadcast series presents the European news from different angles and perspectives. Which events and developments have made the news, and how? Each week we take a closer look at one event that dominated this week’s news, and quickly discuss other topics that grabbed the headlines in various countries across the continent.

Tuesday 3 November was a crucial day not only for the United States but also for the rest of the world, that was watching nervously how the media announced the outcomes, state by state, while Trump already claimed victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning. According to Politico, ‘Europe is the loser’, independent of the outcome, since the narrow results spell trouble for transatlantic ties. How did European media report on the close race and its impact on the world’s future? 

You'll find the script below:

Tuesday 3 November was a crucial day not only for the United States, but also for the rest of the world.

While recording this show it has been almost 24 hours since the U.S. polls closed. and the counting started. 

Even if millions of votes were still left to count, Trump already claimed victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and threatened to go to court to stop the counting of votes in various states. How was this perceived by the press?

According to the Guardian, the ‘staggering remarks’ confirmed the worst fears of analysts, who predicted that Trump would use spurious arguments to stop mail-in votes from being counted. Belgian VRT stated it was ‘unseen’ that the democratic system is being questioned. European leaders have however reacted ‘with caution’ to Trump’s statements, waiting silently for the events to unfold, according to Patrick Wintour in the Guardian. Politico stated the opposite, emphasizing that most European public figures reacted with dismay, except from Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who congratulated the Republican Party for strong results and accused the media of denying the facts.

And what will the outcome of these elections mean for the future of the U.S.?

German newspaper Der Spiegel describes how the whole country is caught up in a mixture of hope, anger and fear about the future. VRT journalist Jan Balliauw fears Trump’s actions will lead to weeks, if not months of chaos in the U.S., and will hurt democracy in general. According to David Herzsenhorn in Politico the first outcomes and Trump’s defiance of polls only confirmed the widespread view among European politicians and policy experts that the “the bullying, blustering, polarizing, and unpredictable president is the symptom of a general political trend in the United States”. Politico also states that Europe’s relation with its transatlantic ally will be troubled in any case, while results have revealed that Trump’s tens of millions supporters are not going anywhere.

What about disinformation, one of the main issues in the last elections and that seems to have disappeared from the public debate this time?

The Guardian quoted Michigan’s state attorney general, who said that voters in the state received a robocall telling them to vote on Wednesday because of long lines, as well as New York’s attorney general, who said she was investigating reports 10m people received a robocall telling them to “stay safe and stay home”. German newspaper Der Spiegel referred to a study by Zignal Labs, that showed how the Swing States were particularly affected by disinformation campaigns on TV, print, online and social media. Dutch newspaper NRC mentioned that a manipulated video of Joe Biden on Twitter was watched over 1.1 million times last weekend. In the 24h preceding the electoral night Twitter has flagged 4 out of the 11 tweets posted by Trump as misleading or containing false statements.

Besides the U.S. elections, which other events made the news in Europe this week, starting with Spain Erik?

In Spain, as one might expect, the fear of a possible total lockdown has taken over the front pages of the main newspapers, along with the riots that have occurred in various cities such as Burgos, Bilbao and Barcelona in opposition to the new restrictive measures. The new scandal of the former King Juan Carlos I, currently in exile in the Arab Emirates, has also been picked up by all the newspapers and television. The country's anti-corruption prosecutor's office is investigating the expenses that he and some of the members of the Spanish royal house incurred using a credit card that neither of them officially owned.

And what about Belgium?

The terrorist attacks in Nice and Vienna last week were echoed in most Belgian newspapers. The coronavirus was, of course, the main topic. "La dernière chance" was the headline on the front page of the French-speaking newspaper Le Soir on Saturday, announcing a new lockdown to try to prevent the total collapse of Belgian hospitals. The Benelux country's newspapers are keeping an eye on their Dutch neighbours. The Belgian press seems surprised at the hardening of the measures taken by Mark Rutte's government to halt the spread of the virus.

And how did Austrian media report on the terrorist attacks in the beginning of this week?

When news about the attacks started to spread on Monday evening, there was still much uncertainty about what happened, how and when. A newspaper article in Kronen Zeitung on Monday evening, talked about 1 terrorist attack and 5 other crimes, with one of the suspects wearing an explosive belt, which later turned out to be fake. Kurier stated that the perpetrator, 20 years old, was a sympathizer of IS. According to information of the newspaper Heute, 12 other suspects in between 16 and 25 were arrested. On Tuesday afternoon the Minister of the Interior said the attacks were committed by one single person, a theory confirmed by around 20.000 videos sent by citizens to the authorities, according to Kronen Zeitung. Media have confirmed 4 deaths and several injured.

crédits photo: brotiN biswaS