The Value of Channel Surfing, and Patience


As the night progresses, and polls close and pundits project based on (dubious) exit polls, the general viewing public (extending now beyond simply television or radio, but also to online sources) has several major choices from which they can derive their updates throughout the evening. However, depending on one’s choice of which major network, be it on television or website, they could be receiving different results, sometimes conflicting. So while it may be annoying when someone is flipping between stations on the television or has three or four tabs open in Firefox, it could provide a more comprehensive view of the election–as projected.

It is important to keep in mind that most of the information being “updated every four minutes,” flashing in bright headlines at the tops of sites, and interrupting scheduled programming is, at this juncture and for a few more hours, strictly projection. The public has long demonstrated a fervent desire for instant gratification, which the media is aware of and more than happy to oblige, but to get attached to the projections as well as the exit polls (the value of which has already been discussed in previous posts) even now when many of the East coast states have hunkered down to do their calculations, would be premature. The truth is, “40 straight hours of coverage” is more theater than actual valuable information, considering some of the top headlines on top networks are things we have been hearing for months (“Clinton and Obama split Democratic vote,” for instance, which would only make sense…)

So, don’t pop the champagne corks (or unfurl the white flags) just yet, and keep the remote close by.


2 Responses to “The Value of Channel Surfing, and Patience”

  1. Robin Kolodny Says:

    And while you are channel surfing, don’t forget that the delegate allocation formulas in each of these states are key — in the end what matters is delegates at the conventions, not popular votes. So, keep in mind that you may find some interesting results tomorrow especially in Democratic primaries with 15% threshholds.

    From an old prof. who couldn’t resist commenting…

  2. Kate Says:

    Definitely. Tomorrow, despite the fervor and anxiety of tonight, is definitely going to be more interesting, and the Conventions even moreso indicative.

    Old prof, or just FORMER prof…?

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