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Nets Fret About Obama Blowout Ratings

From the Politico:

Nation faces short Election Night

By: Mike Allen
October 17, 2008

Network news executives said they are preparing for an unusual Election Night challenge: How to be honest with the audience, and still keep them tuned in, if the race between John McCain and Barack Obama is effectively decided before most Americans have finished dinner.

After two elections in which the suspense went far into the evening (and, in the case of 2000, for 36 days afterward), the executives said they are contemplating how to manage their newscasts in the event of an Obama blowout — in which the Democrat’s victory would be obvious while polls are still open in most of the country.

“Our policy is that we won’t call individual states until all of the voting in those states is finished,” said Jeffrey Schneider, ABC News senior vice president. “If enough of those states add up to 270 electoral votes, then the outcome is obvious.”

The quandary is highlighted by Virginia, a state that has not voted Democratic for president since 1964 but where Obama is now leading in polls. There is no realistic McCain electoral college strategy that does not depend on winning the Old Dominion.

If it is clear on Nov. 4 that Obama has won in Virginia by the time polls there close at 7 p.m. — it will still be daylight west of the Mississippi — the obvious conclusion will be that Obama is headed to the White House.

But executives are already mulling how clearly they would want their anchors and analysts to state the obvious, since networks have been criticized for depressing turnout by calling elections while polls are still open for several more hours. But they must also decide how they are going to fill air time, since networks are planning to be on the air until 2 a.m. on the East Coast.

Paul Friedman, CBS News senior vice president, said he has started to think “about what we could do to augment our Senate and House coverage on election night if the presidential story is over.”

“As to the presidential race, it’s pretty simple: We will try to call a winner in each state as soon as possible after the polls close in each state,” Friedman e-mailed. “If that adds up to 270 for someone before the polls close in the West, there’s not a lot we can do. If there are not enough electoral votes for one man to win it before the Western states close, but we’re pretty sure how they’re going to fall, we will be ready with language which states the obvious without being too obvious. We can’t be in the business of pretending to be stupid.”

Network political experts do not expect a candidate to reach the winning threshold of 270 electoral votes before 11 p.m. Eastern. “Nearly a mathematical impossibility,” one network official e-mailed.

So even if the trend looks insurmountable, the technical suspense will remain, even in the outcome has been clear for hours.

Friedman said that in case of a landslide, “We could say something like, ‘Given the number of electoral votes Obama already has, and given what we know about the voting so far in various states where the polls have not closed, it is going to be very hard for John McCain to win.’ I would sincerely hope that kind of language would not discourage people out West from voting.”

You see, the real problem here is how to keep the election interesting when it will be such an obvious blowout decided in the first few hours.

What media bias?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 17th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Nets Fret About Obama Blowout Ratings”

  1. Steve says:

    Mr. Limbaugh is talking about this article as we type.

  2. 1sttofight says:

    What are they going to do when it is a McCain blowout?

  3. Not all Republicans are rich says:

    The media is so out of touch with most Americans, they falsely assume we will watch the news to hear who won.

  4. GuppyNblue says:

    Here we have the media trying to convince Republicans that their cause is lost. The article accepts the premise that Obama will win big and the only thing to discuss is the most profitable way to broadcast it on election night.

    Obama has the support of the media, communist, radical Islam, Hollywood, billionaire rogues, leftist professors, and subversive groups like ACORN. The only thing we have is one miserable vote that will be trumped by their fraud. IMO this is just the beginning. They effectively manage to demonize every leader we produce and it’s only a matter of time before they do the same to us (Joet he Plumber is a mild example). Patriots are labeled extremist while their wealth and political power is now systematically taken away by all those supporters of the One. If this sounds like reactionary hype, just give it a little more time.

  5. Anonymoose says:

    I’ve never seen a candidate get such a free pass as Obama, hardly a single questionable thing about the man has been investigated, only met with “so what, you’re a racist for asking.”

    The media can’t hype any more than they have, even talking of “Reverse Bradley effects” where white people in the racist south, afraid of their neighbors, say they’ll vote McCain when they plan to vote Obama. Or how the polls may in reality be even less skewed towards Obama because they’re not able to reach young college students with cell phones.

    If he loses we’ll never hear the end of it; cries of conspiracy and racism and anything else you could think of. I personally would love to see the MSM with egg on their face trying to explain how Mom-n-Pop America didn’t buy the hype.

    If he wins (which is what I fear will happen) all of his hype will come due. I don’t think he can blame his problems on Republicans for very long, and soon he won’t be able to please everyone, since his supporters all have different expectations of what he’s going to do.

    Mr. Change will have the biggest job of all, being the person his promoters claim, and I don’t see how anyone can live up to that.

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Whats the big deal? The media has already announced that Bro HO is the winner. Good night and Good God!!!

  7. Odie44 says:

    Isn’t this the same tactic that lead to 2000 continuing for over a month? Wasn’t it CBS’ early “call Florida for Gore” that began the charade of hunting down old ladies in voting parking lots to ask “are you sure you punched the right chad?”, with zero evidence as to what people actually did behind the curtain?

    And according to the polls I follow (Gallup/Rasmussen) – there is a 3-4% gap – with a margin of error of 2-3%, statistically a tie – not exactly the blow out reported, with 18 days left. Additionally, these polls are not taking into account post debate statistics.

    Off topic (sort of) – My degree is in Political Science, concentrate in Polling and Policy. The following comments are based on my “Political Science” radar, not my ideological one:

    I truly do not believe the polls , which are weighted Dem – are telling us the truth as to voter intent, at least actual intent – which is what polls do – represent the intent of an action. I may be going down a slippery slope here – but I do not think Obama is going to win – It’s a media/society catch 22, hence articles like these, along with “threats” of violence if Obama loses. We all are labeled racist by default, of course – but here she goes:

    I do not believe when it comes to actually voting – the majority of white Americans, namely white women – will look up to a Black American male for guidance, leadership, support and ultimately the Presidency. Why? Because I find it hard to believe the perception or reality (which may be racist or just plain social fabric) of black males – at a 70% “family abandonement”, primarily “agressive”, tied to “thuggery”, crime, etc. which is what we see, hear and are sold everyday between athletes, musicians and people of black stature that dominate American society, combined with a 7% American population, 4% voting black male population can garner a vote and victory, BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

    I just don’t see it materializing in the voting booths. The good news, for whatever political ideological reason is – if Obama does win, it will finally trump the gross slandar that “America is a racist country”. I would think the fact Obama is a step away from the Presidency, for the first time – would douse these race-baiting flames; but clearly the commentary, accusations, “white guilt”, etc that we hear every single day tell me otherwise.

    As a resident of Atlanta – my wife to be and I are literally concerned as to the potential violence for 1) we are white, 2) do not hold the Obama bag and 3) Atlanta is roughly 65% African American, home to McKinney/New Black Panther support ( anyone remember the “kyke” comment and physical threat, upon her losing to Hank Johnson 2 years ago, from a New Black Panther Party member to a Jewish journalist asking an honest question).

    Sorry for the ramble, my writing is a bit off today (comma-tose as my better half says) – but I am really torn between what will really happen, sans polls – because a black male has never gone this far, with this much support; and just do not believe the polls are accurately reflecting this first time dynamic.

  8. wytammic says:

    This really ticks me off. You know it is just an attempt on the LSM’s part to discourage Republican and Conservative voters from wasting their time going to the polls. Odie44 hits the nail on the head referring to the media’s premature calling of Florida to Gore in 2000. Hell, now they don’t even wait for the voting to start. This is utterly ridiculous. I think McCain and Palin will pull this out, but watch out if and when this happens. The Rodney King riots will be a mild comparison as to what will happen on November 4th. Ugh! I’m just disgusted beyond words.

  9. Eilsel says:

    I say let ’em be cocky! Hopefully it will backfire on them and the Dems will feel so secure THEY won’t go to the polls and vote.

  10. BillK says:

    Gee, you think their “no projections until the polls close” promise will be out the window?

    They’ll be projecting Obama to be the winner before the polls close anywhere west of the Rockies.

    (Hell, they’re projecting it now; the election is such an annoying formality…

  11. sheehanjihad says:

    They’ll be projecting Obama to be the winner before the polls close anywhere west of the Rockies.

    They predicted an Obama win before he got the nomination, and have volunteered all of their considerable assets and effort to work on his campaign too! Obama couldnt have asked for more compliant drones hard wired to serve him than these insects. They are obamites….vapid foolish socialists who will hopefully get exactly what they deserve: a democrat controlled government.

  12. JannyMae says:

    Eilsel October 17th, 2008 at 5:39 pm —
    “I say let ‘em be cocky! Hopefully it will backfire on them and the Dems will feel so secure THEY won’t go to the polls and vote.”

    I’m beginning to think the same way. Some of you brought up 2000. I well remember that in 2004, many were gloating over Kerry’s victory based on the exit polls. I expect the same thing will happen. Somehow, some way, Obama will be declared the victor before all the votes are CAST.

  13. Lipstick on a PIAPS says:

    ROFLMAO, I remember KERRY writing his victory speech at lunchtime in 2004 on election day! The only thing stopping him was the true election results. Let these ba$tards glow in the flames of the Bradley Effect, I can’t wait till November for my “priviledge” to cast my “racist” vote!

  14. ohio_voter says:

    I just think it is amazing they can tear apart Joe the Plumber and investigate to know that he doesn’t have a plumber’s license (which wouldn’t prevent him from buying a plumbing company or hiring others that do) in a matter of minutes, but can’t seem to find out where Obama’s birth certificate is. They can’t seem to quiz Biden on his constitutional knowledge of the office he seeks — when he clearly has no clue. Constantly label anyone who opposes their point of view as racist, bigoted, or stupid, but can’t put the same lens on their own. They are so quick to take a poll of a couple hundred folks and declare their candidate the winner. At least this time around they are looking at the Electoral College instead of the popular vote since it may come out in their favor that way this time.

    As recent examples or their “fair treatment”… Rep. Foley was run out of congress for talking to pages (never had sex with them — at least as far as we know). I agree his behavior was deplorable and he should not have been able to hold his seat in the Congress. His replacement is getting a free pass for much worse. Bill Clinton made it ok to sexually harass people within the chain of command, but if he were a Republican, he would have been expected to resign. I am glad the expectations are higher for Republicans than Democrats. I support purging those from public office that do not uphold those ideals at a high level. I would just like to see the Democrats police themselves with the same vigor. Or the press go after each with the same vigor for the same offense.

    I have no issue with parties disagreeing on policy. Healthy debate is a cornerstone in our country we should be proud of. I don’t agree that every idea needs to have two sides so that Republicans can be on one side and Democrats on the other. If you don’t like an idea… come up with a better one and improve the idea. Just using sound bytes to say everything the other party says is a bad idea doesn’t solve anything. If you are in a position to change something… do your job and change it and spend less time whining about the fact that you aren’t doing your job (under the pretense you are complaining about the other party’s idea).

    Their attempt to pin all responsibility for an issue on the Administration, such as the financial situation, shows a complete lack of understanding and integrity. Too many people are failing to realize (because it is all the fault of President Bush) that the economy was largely doing reasonably fine until the Democrats came to the majority in the House and Senate. When the Republicans controlled Congress, they should have done more knowing the 10-year interest only loans and other more risky financing policy was going to burst. There were Democrats in the House and the Senate at those times too who have the ability to bring up legislation through committee and the floor if they were on the ball then too. Since the Democrats (portrayed as the all knowing, smart, intelligent, saviors of everything) were in control of Congress, the lack of oversight in the financial and housing mortgage market is an issue they have had plenty of time to bring to the floor and change policy to avoid the current crisis. The amount of finger pointing that goes on only points out the lack of leadership to see a problem, affect policy and legislate responsibly. When the worst of the news of the financial crisis broke — not as if it hadn’t been known for the past several years this time bomb was ticking — it was the President’s Administration who put a plan out there. There were changes that needed to be made, but there was action taken. It was debated and improved. But until the President put something out there to begin the rescue, the congress had no clue what to do, or how to react. While you may debate whether John McCain, Joe Biden or Barack O’Bama going back to work through an important issue facing the country made a difference. It was really only one who saw that going back to rally support within the party was something they could do. The “other” ticket would rather sit back, let someone else do the work, take the risk and criticize. After several weeks come up with something to spew on a web site as their “plan” but when it was on the line… they had no interest in being part of the solution.

    Just some opinions from an Ohio voter who will go to the polls and vote regardless of whether they tell me it is a lost cause.

  15. pinandpuller says:

    Wouldn’t it be richly ironic if mass rioting in the streets by pissed off Dems led to martial law and a suspension of the Constitution, for real?

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