Election Mistakes May Have Damaged TV News Credibility

Knoxville – The television network news divisions are reevaluating their performance during the presidential elections to learn why they made mistakes in predicting the winner.

A broadcasting professor at the University of Tennessee said it-s led to a dispute between the networks and the Voter News Service (VNS).

“All of the networks relied on VNS to provide the voting results,” said Dr. Barbara Moore. “The service said it provided accurate results, but the networks interpreted them too early. The networks said ‘No, they gave us the wrong numbers.'”

“My guess is that the networks were just too eager to be the first to call a particular state and name a particular candidate as the winner, and that-s caused problems,” Moore said.

The CBS network recently announced it would analyze its election-night coverage, and how it might have avoided the vote-counting snafus that plagued TV coverage of the event.

Moore said the reputations of network news operations may have been hurt by all the changes and retractions in the election results.

“I think the ultimate price that the networks pay is a loss of credibility,” Moore said. “Viewers may take their word less often on important issues, they may be more willing to criticize and question what the networks say.”