Here’s the latest example:
On Oct. 19, 2012, two CBS affiliates — KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona, and WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio — had already called the election with Obama as the winner.
Randy Hall reports for NewsBusters, Oct. 22, 2012, that during last Friday’s edition of “The People’s Court” at 3:30 p.m. on KPHO, Phoenix, a “lower-third graphic” scrolled across the bottom of the screen and stated that with 99% of all precincts reporting, Obama had won the nationwide vote, 43% v. 40% or 40,237, 966 votes v. Romney’s 38,116,216.
Here’s a blow-up of the banner:
After 17 seconds, the banner disappeared.
Soon after, WCPO in Cleveland posted a list of vote totals for the Nov. 6 election that again declared Obama the victor in the presidential election and even stated that Ohio’s Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown was re-elected to his U.S. Senate seat. Below is a screen shot taken by the blog TexasDarlin:
Here’s a blowup of the WCPO screen shot showing that in Ohio, with 100% of precincts reporting, Obama won by a 7 point margin, 46% vs. Romney’s 39%:
WCPO’s election results site is now back to 0% precincts reporting.
A commenter on TexasDarlin, Mike Dolanson, poo-pooed questions about WCPO’s premature election results: “I worked at local TV stations for years. Stations test their on-air and online systems in the weeks leading up to elections. Random results are put in to make sure everything is ready and then zero’ed out. Occassionally, something isn’t right and it appears on the screen for a second or on the website for a brief time. That’s all. There is no fix — unless you’re paranoid.”
To that, other commenters made these excellent ripostes:
- cbas: “So why not put all zeros in the results instead of random numbers?”
- Jim Wafwot: “Why not put exact numbers for each party so they show 45% – 45% ?”
- Reidmere: “I own a radio site, and when working on ‘test’ pages that you want to have live, you put it on an unlinked URL, not your homepages. Any professional tech knows this. Poor excuse: And this is coming from a programmer and web dev.”
- a: “Maybe if they say Obama wins they may think that people won’t bother to vote for Mitt….it is some kind of scam.”
- Guy S: “Some will claim this is simply an accident as stations prepare for the election and test pages for broadcast. Sorry, I’m not buying it. I interned at a PBS TV Station in Boise, Idaho as a cameraman and believe you me, the directors are anal about what is and is not done. And that’s PBS! To say that an ABC or CBS affiliate would ‘accidentally” run something like this stinks to high heavens!”
One CBS affiliate making a mistake, I can understand.
But TWO? And BOTH “mistakes” are in Obama’s favor?
What are the chances of that happening “by accident”?