Americans are accustomed to knowing the outcome of elections within hours. For some, speed engenders trust in the result. Not-knowing stirs skepticism and distrust. Yet there's a lot we won't know on Election Night this year, due to the ways different states count mail-in ballots.
This is the most unusual election in our lifetime because so many people have voted by mail. . . . We have to be patient with the election authorities so they can count the votes, and we have to be patient with our decision desk teams because the votes are going to be counted more slowly, so . . . we're going to be projecting states later than we've probably ever projected them.
For now, news outlets are saying all the right things about being patient on Election Night . . . But the Beltway press does not have a strong track record standing up to Trump's bullying during the last four years, especially media institutions, which have refused to wage any kind of collective battle with the White House as it dismantles decades of norms. Will the networks have the fortitude if they face the full onslaught from Trump, Fox News, the Republican Party, all of AM talk radio and hysterical right-wing voices online, waging war on the media for not declaring Trump the winner? . . .TV news needs to break away from its decades-long tradition of marketing Election Night as one big game show that culminates with a late-night winner being announced . . . All that breathless chatter giving the illusion of real-time vote tallies, and bells ringing at the top of the hour to signify polls closing for a host of key states, needs to be reined in. . . .Fact: State laws dictate that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — potentially among the three most decisive states in the battle for the White House — cannot even start processing or counting mail-in ballots until Election Day.The problem is the networks are working with an Election Night formula that has to factor in mail-in ballots, which this year will represent nearly  million voters. . . . It's also impossible to conduct exit polling since  million voters aren't "exiting" a poll location on Election Day . . .Remember what happened Election Night two years ago? Relying on their old methods, TV outlets downplayed the more than 20 million early votes that had been cast and, based on in-person voting results, quickly announced there was no Blue Wave brewing, and that Democrats had failed to pull off a big night. But then as the early votes were counted over days and weeks it became obvious Democrats had pulled off a Blue Wave — they flipped 40 House seats.Imagine what the results might look like this year with 80 million early votes.
#US: The mobbed-up NYPD targeted & arrested journalists covering an anti-fascist & anti-impunity protest.— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) November 1, 2020
NYPD Union has also endorsed Donald Trump, while some officers have faced scrutiny for using their loudspeakers to chant "Trump 2020". (📹@AshAgony) pic.twitter.com/gcpZ5kHG33
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On January 30, 2018, during Trump's State of the Union address, Steve Bannon told interviewer Michael Lewis: "The Democrats don't matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit."
That tactic has been a resounding success. In the past, an illegal action or offensive quote might have dominated a week's worth of news. Trump himself makes several of those every single day. Reporters barely have time to note one instance before being hit with two more.
And that's why Trump can express praise for his armed supporters attempting to force a Biden campaign bus off a Texas highway and it will likely not even make a dent in the day's reporting.