It's obvious the media has had a close eye on the 2020 presidential election and all its storylines: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, election security, how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is impacting the voting process, and so on.
The magnitude of the race and its potential fallout, the way the process has been altered by coronavirus, and the election’s effect on all Americans means it should be reported on by journalists with the utmost care and responsibility. AllSides is no different.
Here’s our news team’s game plan for covering the election on and after November 3rd.
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AllSides WILL point our audience to the best sources of election information on all sides of the political spectrum. Using our media bias ratings, we’ll link you to the most up-to-date and reliable election knowledge from throughout the media sphere.
AllSides WILL NOT cover exit polling from any state until all polling stations nationwide have closed. Some news outlets cover exit polls while the polls are still open, though that has been criticized and we suspect that due to COVID-19, this will happen less this year.
AllSides WILL NOT cover presidential election results from any state until all polling stations nationwide have closed. It’s become common for media outlets to cover East Coast presidential results while other states are still voting. However, some research (but not all) has concluded that the reporting of voting results affects people who haven’t voted yet (either how they vote or, more often, whether they vote), and can put media outlets in a bad spot if data turns out to be wrong. This year, these figures may be less accurate or potentially more damaging on Election Night due to the large numbers of votes that won’t yet have been counted in many states due to the increased use of mail-in voting.
Therefore, we at AllSides believe prematurely covering these reports can be harmful to democracy and should be discouraged throughout the news media. Although some of the election news we share may come from sources that also prematurely cover election exit polls and results, we will avoid pointing directly to those reports.
AllSides also encourages our audience not to share apparent election results or exit polls prematurely.
AllSides WILL be patient. Votes may take several days, and in some cases weeks, to be tallied in certain states. We’ll keep you informed and updated on these processes as best we can.
To see election news, state-by-state voting information, and everything you need to know about what's on your ballot, visit our Election Coverage and Resources page.