“How to minimize 2020 election chaos”

Jennifer Rubin WaPo column:

We also need responsible behavior from mainstream media outlets. It is too much to hope that Twitter or Facebook will take down all posts that attempt to suppress the vote, circulate false claims of fraud and spread other misleading information. However, legitimate newspapers and broadcast and cable-news networks should begin well in advance of the election to explain what the process for casting and tabulating votes will look like. They should make absolutely clear that tallying votes may take days or longer to complete in some states given the number of absentee ballots voters are likely to cast.

Reporters and pundits alike need to adhere to pre-established rules, strictly enforced by senior management, for “calling” states. They must avoid providing a false sense of certainty when substantial numbers of votes are still outstanding. They cannot uncritically report on Trump’s claims of fraud. “Without basis, President Trump claims. . . ” should be the formulation not, “Trump says. . . .” or even worse, “Widespread claims of fraud have been raised.”

News outlets should explain that returns from big-city precincts often come in well after less populous rural precincts. And they should disabuse the public of the notion that there is something nefarious if the “winner” of votes counted and reported on Election Day does not come out ahead after all the votes are tallied. (This happened with numerous House seats in 2018.)


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