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Media’s Professional Responsibility in an Election: Media Must Resist Calling Race Too Early
October 17, 2020. New York. – Media coverage and tone continues to strongly suggest that Biden will be the winner of the 2020 election, but the media tendency to declare a winner before voting is done must be resisted, according to new research from Media Tenor International.
With less than three weeks left until the 2020 elections and the cancellation of the most recent presidential debate, Trump has lost the chance to convince voters that he can help the U.S. deal with the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout. But with early voting and mail-in voting setting record numbers across the U.S., it is important for the media to resist the urge to declare a winner too soon. Additionally, four years later, it should now be public knowledge that Trump had a significant financial advantage from journalists that helped him avoid advertising spending by over-focusing on his 2016 campaign and reporting on it favorably.
“This is an issue we saw in 2000 when CNN called Florida before the court cases and lawsuits began,” says Roland Schatz, founder and CEO of Media Tenor. “We saw this again in 2016, when CNN again declared states won before the votes showed that that was true. We know that the electoral college system, voter suppression, and legal challenges may make the results come out other than as something that seems obvious. It is important that all voters get a fair say without being told a future that suggests their votes don’t matter. Only then can the U.S. start returning to norms that include free and fair elections and candidates that represent what the people show they want through their votes.”