NEW YORK—In an effort to safeguard the democratic process during a year in which a record number of ballots will be counted after election day, top TV news outlets including CNN, MSNBC, and Fox vowed Tuesday they would not prematurely declare a winner in the presidential contest unless their ratings began to drop. “With so much uncertainty surrounding the race this time around, we simply cannot risk announcing the outcome until a candidate has decisively won the Electoral College or our viewers are growing bored enough to change the channel,” said CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who added that the election was far too important for the media to sow confusion about who had been victorious, except in a circumstance in which a network was failing to deliver the kinds of numbers its advertisers expected. “It’s our duty as members of the free press to keep our reporting as accurate as possible, and up to the moment one of our competitors draws a better audience with a too-hasty verdict on the results, that’s exactly what we’ll do. You can trust that as long as you and millions of others stay tuned in, we won’t resort to calling Florida with only 30% of precincts reporting.” At press time, members of the media clarified that they still reserved the right to gin up ratings by declaring Trump the winner and then backtracking to call it for Biden, then Trump, and then Biden again.
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