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An NBC correspondent was mocked on social media over a clip in which she described a “mob-like scene” outside a ballot-counting station in Detroit that did not appear to exist.
“What we see here is essentially an increasing mob-like scene of self-proclaimed ‘poll watchers’ who say that they want to get access to the building,” NBC’s Heidi Przybyla reported from the TCF Center Wednesday afternoon in a segment broadcast on MSNBC.
But though there were crowds of people gathered in front of the center behind her, they appeared calm and orderly, making her description seem overly dramatic.
The remainder of Przybyla’s roughly three-and-a-half-minute report was also heavily biased in favor of Democrats.
For one, the correspondent said she spoke to official Democrat poll watchers who may have inadvertently been locked out of the building while counts were continuing, but never mentioned whether she spoke to any Republican poll watchers.
Also, she interviewed the Rev. Steven Bland of Detroit’s Liberty Baptist Church, both of whom were critical of efforts by state Republicans and President Donald Trump’s campaign to ensure that votes were valid and properly vetted.
“What we see here is essentially an increasing mob-like scene of self proclaimed ‘poll watchers’ who say that they want to get access to the building,” @HeidiNBC on the poll watching protests in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/xbTK1XFLcZ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 4, 2020
The mischaracterization of crowds outside the TCF Center, however, drew the most criticism from social media users.
Let me know when they set the building on fire. https://t.co/VIl2XQ0wwa
— Extremely Careless (@Shanghaibeast) November 4, 2020
“Increasing mob-like scene”
We can literally see the people calmly just standing there. https://t.co/jajlf8ccJT
— Ashe Short (@AsheSchow) November 4, 2020
MSNBC calls Republicans patiently waiting "an increasing mob-like scene." https://t.co/EVFJqF97J3
— America First (@AmericaFirstPAC) November 4, 2020
Streets burning = "mostly peaceful protests"
People standing around chatting = "mob-like scene" https://t.co/yA6iB9MeHV
— Brian Phillips (@RealBPhil) November 4, 2020
Interestingly, Michigan has been called for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. But as of Thursday morning, the Secretary of State’s office vote tally website showed President Donald Trump with a comfortable lead of approximately 173,000 votes, as of Thursday night.
The Trump campaign and state Republican poll watchers converged on the TCF Center after election officials covered windows while poring over absentee ballots, prompting allegations of vote fraud on Wednesday. Hours later, the state was called for Biden.
Republican poll watchers also complained that election officials were preventing them from being able to enter the room and visualize the counting of ballots. They also said that officials allowed more Democrat poll watchers in than Republicans.
“The scene at Detroit’s absentee ballot counting center is growing more heated. The windows now being covered up. Allegations of violations,” Fox News correspondent Matt Finn reported as he videoed election officials covering windows.
“Some of the windows remain blocked off. I asked a few people who taped them up why, no clear answer. A few poll challengers/workers tell us they feel there wasn’t a fair number of Republicans and Democrats in this room,” Finn added.
In response, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office responded by saying official poll watchers have a legal route to address any perceived problems, adding that “a record number of Republican challengers” were “observing” the “transparent” vote counting.
The covering of the windows and other actions by election officials drew a scathing response from the Trump campaign.
“Detroit election officials are currently refusing to let the public observe the counting process at the TCF Center. They have padlocked the doors. This is a disgrace to the democratic process,” Drew Thompson, director of Michigan Trump Victory, tweeted with photos.
Detroit election officials are currently refusing to let the public observe the counting process at the TCF center.
They have padlocked the doors.
This is a disgrace to the democratic process. pic.twitter.com/usZckeVjdu
— Drew Thompson (@DrewThompson40) November 4, 2020
The president’s campaign filed suit against Michigan election officials on Wednesday, claiming they were denied proper access to observe ballot counts.