Fox News Accused Of Violating Rules, Announcing Early Exit Polling Results For Scott Brown


Fox News reported exit polling results in New Hampshire two hours ahead of the polls closing, some say a serious violation of a media agreement.

Politico reports that "Fox News broadcast exit polls from the New Hampshire Senate race almost two hours before polls closed in that state, a move that is likely in violation of agreed-upon rules by the media companies who commission the exit polls."

Minutes after 6 p.m., Fox News ran exit polls that showed Republican Scott Brown leading Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen by 50 percent to 49 percent. The polls in New Hampshire don't close until 8 p.m.

A consortium of six news organizations, the National Election Pool, or NEP, sets the rules to which networks like Fox must agree. Organizations "agree not to publish or broadcast that information until polls close, because they don't want to influence those who have yet to vote (or are still deciding whether to vote.)"

As Vox's Dara Lind notes, the premature broadcast "definitely...broke the rules for exit polls."

"You are not supposed to show 'top line' exit poll results before polls close under any circumstances," one media executive from an NEP organization wrote in an email. "If Fox did it, they are violating a cardinal rule." Several sources from other Pool organizations told POLITICO the same.

Honest error, or was Fox attempting to sway the election?


Image via Wikimedia

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