The American election: fake news, facts and fairness

The race for the US presidency is nearly over!

On Saturday November 7th Joe Biden was called as the winner by all major American news networks! Read the full story here on the BBC News website, on BBC, or on Newsround here.

In his acceptance speech, he pledged to unify the country and declared it a “time to heal”. Donald Trump responded by calling the election fraudulent but has so far provided no evidence to support this claim.

Mr Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris - who is the first female, the first black person and the first Asian-American to be vice-president - will be sworn in on January 20th 2021.

Why has Donald Trump's reaction caused outrage?

Donald Trump has made several false claims about election fraud without offering any firm evidence. It has angered and shocked people across both parties in America as it looks like he's discrediting the election process. America prides itself on holding fair and clear elections, and a peaceful transfer of power when a new president is chosen. Watch what Donald Trump said on Thursday below.

See what the BBC's Adam Zurcher had to say below....

See how the BBC fact-checked his speech here.

The BBC has also provided a guide to spotting fake news and disinformation - watch it here!

Questions and activities:

  • Read the fact-check of Donald Trump's speech. What do you think the American people will think of what he is trying to do?
  • What do you think of what Donald Trump is trying to do?
  • Why do you think it's so dangerous people Donald Trump to falsely accuse people who count the votes of fraud?
  • Watch and read Newsround's guide to spotting fake news - what are the most important things you've learnt from it?

What happened earlier in the election race?

On Monday October 26th, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the latest Supreme Court judge to be chosen by President Trump. Donald Trump had vowed to fill the empty seat on the United States Supreme Court after the death of the pioneering judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (read more about her here!). He nominated Amy Coney Barrett. The Supreme Court is made up of 9 judges and is the highest in the land - it settles really big disagreements, including to do with the law. It is made up of judges nominated by Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. Most recently, it has had 5 judges nominated by Republican presidents, and 4 from the Democrats. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by Democratic president Bill Clinton.

Read the full story here!

On Thursday October 22nd, Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head for a second and final time in a debate. Watch the highlights here.

On Thursday 15th October, Donald Trump and Joe Biden each took questions from voters live on television - but from separate places. Read all about it here.

On Wednesday October 7th, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris squared off in a live TV debate in Utah. Watch the highlights here.

On Friday October 2nd it was revealed that Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for covid-19. He was admitted to hospital but has since returned to the White House after a few days of treatment. Read more here.

On Tuesday 29th September, Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head in the first of three presidential debates. Read our special post on it here!

On Monday 28th September, we woke up to hear that The New York Times have seen details of how much tax Donald Trump has paid over the past 15 years. Is it good news for the president? Probably not - it shows he paid very little tax - by trying to avoid tax and also because his businesses were losing more money than they made. It doesn't reflect well on a president who has always talked of his business success as a reason why he is good for America. Find out more on this story here.

You can also compare the different ways it was reported - what do you notice about the difference between how the Guardian reported it here and how Fox News reported it here?

On the same day, Channel 4 published a report on the Trump campaign deliberately trying to deter (put off) black voters from voting in 2016. Read the full report here!

President Trump and Joe Biden have disagreed over the decision not to charge any police officers over the killing of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman who was shot six times in a police raid on her home in March. Read what happened to her here.

Breonna's family sued the Kentucky city for the death and a £9.4m settlement was agreed. However, they also pressed for charges for the officers who fired the shots, but this did not happen.

About the decision, Donald Trump said he "thought it was really brilliant".

However, Joe Biden, said the decision "does not answer" the call for justice, while telling protesters to act peacefully.

The killing of Breonna Taylor, and the decisions made afterwards, are stirring a lot of debate about police treatment of black people in the United States, ahead of the US election. Read more about the reaction here.

Where to find more updates:

The BBC has a page dedicated to stories on the US election - visit it here.

The electoral college system is explained in the video below:

What do you think about these breaking stories? Add your comments below and remember to give reasons for your opinions and provide links to your sources if you give us new information.

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