Donald Trump: Losing is not easy for me 0:29
(CNN Business) ––
(CNN Business) ––
If the president of the United States, Donald Trump, comes out and claims his victory prematurely on election night, what will the television networks and social media websites do?
The scenario, undemocratic and unthinkable in the past, is a very real possibility with Trump, who seeks to stay in power.
Which has gotten media and tech executives debating possible answers.
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For the major broadcasters there is an overriding question: Will they broadcast Trump live if he gives a speech and makes completely misleading claims?
The short answer is yes.
Television network executives are reluctant to speak publicly about such a hypothetical and disturbing scenario.
However, five people on various networks said, on condition of anonymity, that they expect the president's comments on election night to be broadcast live virtually from beginning to end.
Still, any premature statement by President Trump - or by Joe Biden, in this case, though there is no equivalent fear of that happening - - will appear in a televised context, with strong corrections and visual evidence that the race is too far. contested to claim a victory.
LOOK: Election projection in the US: live results
How to deal with a possible declaration of premature victory by Trump in the elections?
A plan outlined publicly by NBC News president Noah Oppenheim has been echoed by leaders at other networks, including CNN.
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"We are prepared to aggressively verify any effort by anyone to incorrectly and prematurely characterize the state of the contest or its outcomes," Oppenheim told
The Hollywood Reporter
But is that enough?
The Trump era has raised unusual questions about the ethics of broadcasting.
Also about the repetition of atrocious political lies.
“I think there is a very difficult decision for the networks about bringing Trump live on election night.
Especially if you know that he is going to go out and lie and sow dangerous misinformation about the election, ”tweeted MSNBC host Chris Hayes this Sunday, amid media reports about the possibility of a premature victory being claimed.
CNN Poll: Biden leads Trump by 10 points 1:00
On Monday, an MSNBC spokesperson declined to comment on how the network could handle such a scenario.
Should the networks broadcast Trump live in the elections or not?
There is a question in question.
Should the networks act as gatekeepers and refuse to broadcast Trump's claims, unfiltered, to tens of millions of Americans?
Or is its function to show the news as it happens?
Many liberals believe that US networks are guilty of airing too many Trump falsehoods too often.
In contrast, many conservatives believe that networks other than Fox News are already exercising too much restraint.
This is how Donald Trump can win 4:59
Inside newsrooms, a common response to this situation is simply, "He's the president."
The belief that the words of an elected leader are inherently newsworthy, even when wrong, and that they should be listened to and then verified if necessary.
ABC News chief host George Stephanopoulos alluded to this view in an interview with
The New York Times
on Election Night.
"I don't think we can censor the candidates," he said.
"But we have to be vigilant to put the comments made into context, with everything we know about where the contest is, where the law is, where the votes are."
After the polls close, the real presidential election begins.
Check out this guide to what happens from election to possession
A possible scenario
That seems to be the consensus opinion within the major television networks.
However, some members are taking a tougher line on Trump, given his history of speeches filled with lies.
An industry source, on condition of anonymity, outlined a possible scenario in which the networks decide not to broadcast Trump live.
This is if there is widespread violence and newsroom leaders have reason to believe that Trump will add fuel to the fire.
How is the president elected in the US?
In response to questions about a possible premature victory declaration, a CBS News spokeswoman said: “We will report a candidate's claims.
However, we will only make projections based on statistical data and models from our decision table.
CNN coverage will be based on data
On CNN's "Reliable Sources," CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist said coverage of the election will be data-driven.
"Once you start counting and reporting the votes, the changes and the time for changes are over," he said.
“On election night, we will talk a lot about the numbers.
We are going to look at the numbers in great detail, where the votes come from, how many of them are advance mail ballots or face-to-face ballots on Election Day.
But we will not spend a lot of time paying attention to the changes.
We're really going to focus on the data. "
Feist and other experts have emphasized that election projections may take longer this year.
Precisely due to the pandemic and the huge increase in vote-by-mail ballots.
“Just because it takes longer doesn't mean something is wrong.
And we must all remember that, "he insisted.
What if Trump and Biden tied for the number of voters?
However, there are widespread fears that Trump will take advantage of potential election delays to shape public opinion and claim he has been re-elected.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter say they will draw inspiration from major networks and The Associated Press.
What do Facebook and Twitter say?
Twitter and Facebook said on Monday that they will depend on the projections of the decision table made by the main networks and The Associated Press.
Specifically, Twitter indicated that it can put a warning label on highly visible candidate posts, campaigns, and other accounts attempting to claim victory before official results are declared.
"From the night of the election to the inauguration, we will tag some tweets that make claims about the results of the elections," Twitter said in a blog post.
"We will give priority to presidential elections and other highly contested races where there may be significant problems with misleading information based on the following criteria."
On the other hand, Facebook said that "if a presidential candidate or party declares a premature victory before the main media reports the contest," the platform "will add more specific information on the labels of the candidates' posts" and " will add more specific information to the top of the notifications.
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