Friday, April 10, 2020

An Election Problem: The Collective Action Problem of Patient Media

Listening to the latest Pressbox podcast, Bryan Curtis and David Shoemaker discuss a question from a listener--how will the media react to a slow roll out of results if there is voting by mail?  Their guess and mine: not well.  Bryan and David remind us of GOP criticism when California in 2018 took a week for some of the closer legislative races to announce winners.

Imagine that in a much bigger way in November.  The one thing I would recommend to the media outlets is not to treat GOP accusations of fraud with any seriousness if the only problem is speed.  The GOP is proven to be the Party of Bad Faith especially when it comes to elections.  So, it would be swell if the mainstream media simply covers the counts, maybe does the exit polling thing to guess who is likely to win, but not give much attention to wild accusations about fraud. 

Is that likely?  Hell no.  We see the NYT engaged in the daily dance of false equivalance.  I can see them saying: "Trump says mailed votes are being miscounted; Democrats disagree."  Instead of: "Mailed votes taking longer to count." Of course, Fox will do the best to damage American democracy to keep the GOP in power, but the other outlets should (but will not) learn to speak the truth rather than both-sides-ing the story. 

So, this is just a short depressing post.  If anyone has any recommendations, let me know.

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