The big winners of Election 2016 — in media and entertainment
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There have been plenty of winners and losers in this marathon of an election season that will go far beyond the presidential candidates tonight.
 
And for the sake of this column, let's take a look at Top 3 (very different) standouts who shined with the spotlight never brighter. 

Andrew Kaczynski, Buzzfeed/CNN: In a world of 140-character reporting and quantity over quality on online media, the 26-year-old political reporter went about his business in a forgotten way: Simple, good old-fashioned digging for unique, compelling, relevant content. 

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In Kaczynski's case, that meant simply going through whatever written archives or YouTube video was available on Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE, who was a very public figure who often did the kind of interviews one usually does not when remotely seriously considering a run for the White House. 

Most notably, Kacyzinski dug up a 2002 interview that Trump did with his friend Howard Stern. The popular radio veteran is known for doing long-form interviews on his morning show (sometimes going an hour without a break if the conversation is good, and it often is) and tends to just ask whatever is on his mind based on where the discussion goes. It brings authenticity to the discussion rarely seen anymore. 

In the case of the 2002 interview, Stern decided to randomly ask Trump — a businessman and entertainer at the time — if he agreed with invading Iraq. 

Trump's answer was one that clearly showed he hadn't given the topic any real previous thought, saying slowly with no conviction: "Yeah ... I guess ... so." 

Trump would say to Fox's Neil Cavuto a few months later before the war started that waiting for the United Nations was the prudent thing to do before going in, muddying the waters around his "support" for the war even further. 

One week into the war with the U.S. not facing much resistance and polls still well in favor of supporting the invasion, Trump was quoted as saying, "The war's a mess." 
 
So at best, Trump was lukewarm on the war but appeared to be against it before and as the war began. Ambiguity is the only word that comes to mind here...

But Kaczynski's discovery of the 2002 interview — which beat everyone to the punch by months — was the only bite that mattered to Politifact, who unequivocally stated Trump's claim of being against the war was outright "false" with no wiggle room whatsoever. 

In the first presidential debate, Trump challenged Lester Holt on the moderator's declaration that "the record shows" he supported the war. The Republican then went on to ramble, in what was arguably his worst moment of the three debates, about having said to Fox's Sean Hannity privately and repeatedly that he was against the war. 
 
That may have been true, but since the conversation happened without any microphones present there was no way to prove it. And Trump looked decidedly defensive in even broaching that point before 84 million people. 

Instead, "the record" belonged to Kaczynski. And not by doing anything more than taking the time to find an audio clip that none of the thousands of others covering the campaign even thought of doing. He would find other clips and interviews throughout the campaign nobody else did and was rewarded nicely for it. 

A few weeks before the election, CNN hired Kaczynski and his team of three others away from Buzzfeed. For the network, it was one of the smarter moves it has made recently. 

Chris Wallace, Fox News: Debate moderators mostly took a beating during this campaign season extending all the way back to the primaries. And when the last presidential debate was on tap and some eyebrows were raised among those with preconceived notions that a Fox News anchor was moderating a big event, it appeared Wallace was at risk of being another piñata for the partisans to knock around if perceived of showing favoritism to either Donald Trump or Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE

But Wallace has been in the broadcast business for 50 years. His first job was to work under Walter Cronkite at CBS News. His father, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame, had won 21 Emmys. The DNA and experience was there. 
 
The game-plan going in Debate 3, which included a declaration not to fact-check the candidates, was criticized by some who felt not fact-checking meant allowing the candidates (particularly Trump) to play fast and loose with the facts. 

"This is a debate and, you know, they’re both going to be on the stage. If I think there’s a need for me to intervene, I will. But I would prefer not to," Wallace explained the day before the debate. 

"Basically, you’re there as a timekeeper," Wallace said. "But you’re not a participant. You’re there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.

"And I take it very seriously. It’s not a TV show that we’re doing."

And after he event was over, the reviews were glowing in a way never quite seen for a debate moderator before. 

Chris Wallace did Fox proud (Politico)

Why Fox's Chris Wallace was a debate night winner (USA Today)

Focused and insistent, Chris Wallace plays role of America's hall monitor (Washington Post)

Chris Wallace, Mixing Humor With Scolding, Guides Final Debate (New York Times)

Chris Wallace Just Brought Us The Closest Thing We've Seen To A Normal Debate  (Huffington Post)

Chris Wallace delivers sterling performance as debate moderator (CNN)

Imagine That—a Fox News Anchor Moderated the Best Debate of the Election (Slate)
 
In a year when Fox News was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons for months following the Roger Ailes sexual harassment saga that led to his swift resignation, Wallace helped give the network the morale boost it needed. And in the process, restored faith for many Americans disappointed with the media and debate process as a whole. 
 
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live: Do you know how many SNL actors have captured Emmy awards in the 40-year existence of the program coming into this year? 
 
None. 
 
Not one. 
 
Until, of course, Kate McKinnon, who will now live in the pantheon of great presidential (and vice presidential candidates) impersonations of all-time thanks to her pitch-perfect portrayal of Hillary Clinton.  
 
Even the Democratic nominee gave her a thumbs-up for the SNL skit performances that almost-always go viral
McKinnon now joins Dana Carvey (George H.W. Bush), Darrell Hammond (Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMueller’s probe doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Congress should massively ramp up funding for the NIH MORE), Will Ferrell (George W. Bush) and Tina Fey (Sarah Palin) as one the best politico imitators ever. 
 
And if Hillary Clinton wins after all the ballots are counted, the kind of job security few have in any business. 
 
Enjoy Election Day. It promises to be the most-watched in history, just like every other big night in a campaign season that began more than 500 days ago. 
 
Concha is a media reporter for The Hill
The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.