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The networks insist that they will not release exit polling data until the polls actually close in this election, the Washington Times reports. They recall only too well the disaster that ensued when incomplete -- and as it turned out, inaccurate -- exit polling hit the wires, creating an expectation of a John Kerry landslide that never materialized. That promise will not keep the networks from playing a bit of partisan hardball with their analysts, however (h/t: Newsbeat1):
The 2006 elections have garnered more broadcast coverage than the last midterm elections, much of it billing them as bringing political change, and although the networks have vowed that they will not make any premature calls tomorrow night, virtuous reserve may not stem partisan flirtations. ...
Election-night coverage will feature big names and multiple components. ABC, NBC and CBS will offer hourly updates and one-hour specials at 10 p.m.
ABC will use dozen correspondents, a special edition of "Nightline," continual coverage online and even commentary from former Sen. Fred Thompson, a Tennessee Republican and a senior analyst on ABC Radio. NBC will bring back former anchor Tom Brokaw to the news desk alongside Brian Williams and Tim Russert. CBS will hand the election night reins to newly minted anchor Katie Couric.
The cable networks are frantic. After five prime-time hours of "multiplatform" results delivered by 40 correspondents, CNN's coverage will continue until 5 a.m. when the network airs "complete postgame election results." MSNBC has predicted that the election "could lead to a seismic shift in political power" and will hold forth on the idea from 6 p.m. through 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Fox News Channel begins coverage at 7 p.m. with Brit Hume, Fred Barnes and others on analysis, and Chris Wallace to cover those tricky exit polls.
The real question is whether journalists will keep early exit polling to themselves. Although the networks have pledged not to report on exit polls before voting ends in the affected states, the results will start getting shared around 5 pm ET with pool reporters for "background":
Well, I'll tell you a brief description of what we will be doing with the networks and the Associated Press. We're going to put in place systems in which no one, even at the networks, can view any of this data before 5 p.m. on Election Day. This will be very similar to procedures used in England and Mexico and other places to strictly control the dissemination of data, and the number of people who get to look at it before 5 o'clock. We'll have one or two rooms in which people will,in essence, be in a bubble, quarantined. They'll have to give up their cell phones, their pagers, any internet activity, anything of that sort and stay in that room until 5 o' clock in order to view the data so we know there is no possibility of communication with the outside world.
Journalists will be hermetically sealed, so to speak, until 5 pm -- but after that, they will be free to report on the live results from exit polling. That would be 2 pm on the West Coast, and for most of the nation, people will still be at the office waiting to cast their ballots that evening. We can expect to see Drudge Report headlines and wire service analyses shortly afterwards, and the cat will be out of the bag ... even if it's the wrong cat, as in 2004.
I think we can expect to see the networks casting aside their vows of obedience by 6 pm ET, with veiled allusions to the exit polling as it hits the wires. It will be up to voters to recall the abysmal data that first came out of the exit polls in 2004 and give them the credence they deserve.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Will The Exit Polls Leak? from Bill's Bites
Will The Exit Polls Leak?Ed Morrissey The networks insist that they will not release exit polling data until the polls actually close in this election, the Washington Times reports. They recall only too well the disaster that ensued when incomplete [Read More]
Tracked on November 6, 2006 9:36 AM
» The Captain Has A Prediction from Hang Right Politics
About media self-restraint: I think we can expect to see the networks casting aside their vows of obedience by 6 pm ET, with veiled allusions to the exit polling as it hits the wires. It will be up to voters to recall the abysmal data that first came o... [Read More]
Tracked on November 6, 2006 11:06 AM
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