Television networks are making plans in case President Donald Trump decides to call the election without official word. It is a scenario that most major networks including CNN and MSNBC have been preparing for.
Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are making similar plans and will use official information from decision desks and the Associated Press.
“This is an incredibly complex election. This is an unpredictable election, and we have what will be absolutely, almost guaranteed, a record number of voters,” CBS News president Susan Zirinsky told The Hollywood Reporter.
Networks will be fact-checking anyone who tries to take the results out-of-context and report false information. ABC News has billed Election Day 2020 as election week for quite some time.
“I don’t think we can censor the candidates,” ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos said. “But we have to be vigilant about putting whatever comments are made in context, with everything we know about where the race stands, where the law stands, where the votes are.”
Some network executives said they may opt out of carrying President Trump live if they feel there will be rhetoric contained in a speech. Newsrooms are also worried about widespread violence associated with the election results.
On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday morning, CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist said election coverage will be data-driven. “Once you start counting and reporting the votes, the spin and the time for spin is over.”
Twitter said that it may apply a warning label to tweets by candidates, campaigns and other highly visible accounts that attempt to claim victory before official results have been declared.