Friday, July 19, 2024

ROLE OF THE MEDIA: WHY CONFLICTING REPORTS IN US 2020 ELECTIONS RESULT

As the US election results slowly pure in, one of the areas of confusion is that different media outlets are showing different results for the electoral votes.

The president is elected by winning at least 270 electoral college votes, not the outcome of the popular vote. Because there is no centralised federal election system, it has become tradition in the US that “decision desks” at media organisations make a call that states have been won by one candidate or the other when enough votes have been counted.

States that are too close to call – such as Nevada and Georgia at the moment – remain in the balance until a network “calls” them.

For example, The Guardian uses the data collected and analyzed by the Associated Press (AP) news agency as the source for when they call election results. There are a number of other highly reputable election decision desks in US media, including NBC, Fox News and others. They may call races earlier or later than AP. US networks obviously use the decisions from their own desks – other channels may chose to follow one, or wait for two desks to call a state before they count it.

This year, Arizona has brought this into sharp relief. The Guardian’s current total of 264 electoral votes for Joe Biden includes the fact that AP has called Arizona for the Democratic nominee. Not all decision desks have yet.

Associated Press, AP has issued this guide to all of the states it has called. This is what it says about Arizona:

The AP called the race at 2.50am EST Wednesday, after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded there were not enough outstanding to allow Trump to catch up. With 80% of the expected vote counted, Biden was ahead by 5 percentage points, with a roughly 130,000-vote lead over Trump, with about 2.6m ballots counted. The remaining ballots left to be counted, including mail-in votes in Maricopa county, where Biden performed strongly, were not enough for Trump to catch up to the former vice-president.

With the current trend in the mainstream media, following indications showing the bombardment of fake news alongside corrupt media, it is almost hard to get believability that can be said to be objective and unbiased.

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