Media President Jay Wallace this week warned news networks against prematurely declaring the winner of the presidential election
on the night of Nov. 3.
Speaking to Reuters in an interview published Monday, Wallace recalled the night of the election two decades ago, which saw multiple major news networks inaccurately call the winner in the crucial state of Florida, before subsequently withdrawing their projections.
“I think 2000 still sort of lingers over everyone,” Wallace said. “As competitive as networks can be, you do know that you’re calling a presidency and you don’t want to be wrong on something like this.”
Basing their projections largely on exit polling, networks including Fox News, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC, initially projected then-Democratic nominee Al Gore the winner in the state, before pivoting to calling his Republican rival George W. Bush the next president.
During the 2000 election, Bush’s narrow margin of victory in Florida led to a recount. After more than a month of political and legal battles, the Supreme Court halted the counting in a 5-4 decision that further divided the nation—and still roils some Democrats.
With just weeks to go before this year’s matchup between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, television networks are facing greater pressure than ever to report election results accurately and without unwarranted speculation.
Among the nation’s—and the networks’—challeng….