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Dingell to TV News Bosses: Don’t Call Election Early

Oct 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The powerful chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., is calling on the national TV and cable news channels to hold off projecting the winner of the presidential election Tuesday night until all polls nationwide are closed.
In letters to network execs, Rep. Dingell calls the election “historic” and expresses concern that any early naming of a winner will depress voting in the rest of the nation.
“It is critical that television coverage of the election results does not serve to depress voter turnout by calling the election for a particular presidential candidate before all polls have closed nationwide,” Rep. Dingell says in the letter.
“We are all too familiar with the voter confusion caused by the erroneous early calls by various cable and television networks of the 2000 presidential election. And many, myself included, believe that when television stations call elections based on the results in a few Eastern states, voter turnout elsewhere in the nation could potentially be lower than it would otherwise have been. This potentially affects not only the results of the presidential election, but also could have a dramatic impact on other contests for elected office.
“I therefore urge you to refrain from calling the 2008 presidential election until all polls across the country are closed. Such a fair and judicious approach will allow the elections to play out as they may, without any unintended influence by the media, and is in the best interests of the country.”
Rep. Dingell sent the letters to Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC; Jeff Zucker, president-CEO of NBC Universal; Leslie Moonves, president-CEO of CBS; Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group; Peter F. Chernin, president and chief operating officer, Fox Entertainment Group; and Jim Walton, president, CNN Worldwide.
Polling places in Hawaii are open until 6 p.m., which would mean that under the proposal the networks couldn’t declare a winner until midnight East Coast time.

15 Comments

  1. Finally a democrat who is talking some sense!

  2. Which of the network talking heads (CNN- Wolf and the Situation Room, Fox and the Fair and Balanced or MSNBC and the Keith and Chris show) will blatantly disregard the good Senators plea to wait until all the polls close?
    They, the networks called races in the Primary’s with Zero precincts reporting.
    By 9:00pm eastern some network will declare a winner. Bet ‘cha a dollar.
    Stand Up or Stand Aside

  3. It has happened before that people left the polls in western states when it was announced that one candidate was the winner! Let’s be certain that everyone has their opportunity to vote their heart and conscience before the pundints weigh in. Not a single person should be discouraged to vote by anything.

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