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Nets May Call Election Before You Vote

From those champions of fair elections at the New York Times:

Networks May Call Race Before Voting Is Complete

By Jacques Steinberg

At least one broadcast network and one Web site said Monday that they could foresee signaling to viewers early Tuesday evening which candidate appeared to have won the presidency, despite the unreliability of some early exit polls in the last presidential election.

A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. — before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.

“We could know Virginia at 7,” he said. “We could know Indiana before 8. We could know Florida at 8. We could know Pennsylvania at 8. We could know the whole story of the election with those results. We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”

Similarly, the editor of the Web site Slate, David Plotz, said in an e-mail message that “if Obama is winning heavily,” he could see calling the race “sometime between 8 and 9.”

“Our readers are not stupid, and we shouldn’t engage in a weird Kabuki drama that pretends McCain could win California and thus the presidency,” Mr. Plotz wrote. “We will call it when a sensible person — not a TV news anchor who has to engage in a silly pretense about West Coast voters — would call it.”

All the networks (and other news organizations with their own Web sites) were engaging in similar debates on Monday about striking the following balance: not relying too much on early exit poll data — which had suggested, at least early on Election Day in 2004, that Senator John Kerry might be on track to defeat President Bush — while not being so cautious as to be beaten to the punch by a competitor who announces an emerging result first.

When asked how Katie Couric, who is leading CBS’s coverage, might present the network’s projection to viewers, Mr. Friedman said he could imagine her saying, for example, “Given what we know about the results, or the projected results in various states, it’s beginning to look like it will be very difficult for John McCain to put together enough votes to win this election.” …

The most shocking thing about all of this is that the New York Times would even report it.

Let alone pretend to be offended by it.

Of course they did bury it back in their “politics” section.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Nets May Call Election Before You Vote”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    USAtoday already as Obama winning 311-145 with several states “too close to call” according to their “polling.” Time to go home and cling to my god and guns.

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    Saw Shrek 3 last night – the one where Prince Charming enlists all the fairy tale bad guys – takes over far & away land & turns it into an elite run ghetto. Sound familiar?

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