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Over the past eight months, CNN has become the go-to network for alarmist coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, but the anti-Trump channel sang a different tune on Saturday as thousands gathered in cities across the country to celebrate Joe Biden's election victory.
The Fox News Decision Desk projected Biden to win both Pennsylvania and Nevada on Saturday, giving him more than the needed 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
In the weeks leading up to the election, CNN repeatedly condemned the Trump White House for holding various events in apparent defiance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) pandemic guidance. Those events, including ceremonies to mark the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, were billed by the network as "potential superspreader" events.
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Similarly, CNN highlighted former President Barack Obama railing against Trump's campaign rallies, calling them the "COVID superspreader tour" while on the stump for Biden.
However, the network's concerns about the possible spread of the virus were virtuall non-existent Saturday.
"People have just gone out to the streets. People are just so excited, so happy right now," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said in response to images of gatherings in cities like Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. "They're wearing masks. They're not [doing] much social distancing, but they are at least wearing masks."
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CNN anchor Jake Tapper specifically praised the voters in his hometown of Philadelphia.
"Philadelphians, realizing the significant role they played in this election, taking to the streets in celebration in the birthplace of liberty, we should say, in this country," Tapper told his colleague Dana Bash. "I'm sorry for interrupting. I had to say hi to my friends."
Senior media reporter Oliver Darcy approvingly retweeted video of celebrants outside the White House taken by network White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins.
"The crowd outside the White House celebrating Joe Biden’s projected victory is blaring YMCA — the song President Trump closed out his latest rallies with," Collins noted.
Anchor Anderson Cooper and chief media correspondent Brian Stelter were noticeably silent about the risks of large crowds gathering in the middle of a worldwide viral pandemic.
The apparent double standard was not lost on critics.
"Where is @JoeBiden calling on the massive Super Spreader events held in his name to end?" White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted in reaction to footage of a large crowd outside of the White House singing "YMCA."
"The pandemic is over! Media has stopped calling gatherings 'superspreader events!'" radio host Dana Loesch tweeted.
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"How the media shifted so abruptly from 'anyone going to a spacious beach is a super-spreading monster killing Grandma' to 'these mass, densely populated protests with people screaming on top of each other are so inspiring' was one of 2020's most credibility-destroying media acts," journalist Glenn Greenwald declared.
"This is all perfectly fine because, as we’ve learned, covid is a politically enlightened virus that spares those with the correct ideological leanings," Daily Wire writer Matt Walsh tweeted.
"Wondering how media is going to explain away COVID spikes with no Trump rallies anymore. Excited to find out!" conservative commentator Stephen Miller exclaimed.
Even lawmakers chimed in, with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeting: "And suddenly people gathering in large crowds and not social distancing is no longer considered irresponsible by the media."
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