As for in an arena setting, it'd be next to impractical, I would think. Might be possible with modern electronics, but like you say, 100 people chanting something WILL be heard. Now, the networks used directional cardiod mics, I'm sure, and they probably also had some really good directional mics at the podiums, so you would not hear much of a "crowd" sound being recorded anyway. You would need some Omni mics to do that, and they would have fed back in that environment, if put through the PA system.
Anyway, like most things called "news" today, they exaggerate in order to push their point, no matter who's side it is. Everything, including the weather on the six o'clock news is "unprecedented"... Got's tah sell them papers... err, they've gone bankrupt, haven't they?...
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