Big Networks fear public doesn’t trust them on election night

Huh? Trust is beside the point.

From Michael M. Grynbaum at New York Times

But as television news gears up for 2016’s big finale, an intense public distrust in the media is threatening the networks’ traditional role as election night scorekeeper.

The era of Tim Russert’s famed whiteboard — when network anchors could serve as the ultimate authority on election results — has faded. And scrutiny on big media organizations on Tuesday, when 70 million people might tune in, is likely to be harsher than ever.

“We’re surrounded by so much false information and aggressive misinformation,” said James Goldston, the president of ABC News, who will oversee coverage from a Times Square studio built for the occasion. “The pain of getting it wrong in this environment would be very long-lasting.” More.

Reality check: It would help if the Bigs hadn’t generated so much wrong information themselves over the years–reluctantly adjusting to the internet while hoping to secure their position as the gods of news. Now, whoever wins, they can at best hope to be the gods of progressive PR.

We should always recollect that they aren’t dying because people reject their values so much as that people don’t bother with them much any more.

Take my local community newspaper, which is dumped unsolicited on my doorstep, then exits immediately to the recycle bin, provided it isn’t blowing around the street first.

Just about any information they publish that I really need, I can get online. I’ve no idea what their editorial slant is and don’t care. Fewer do every day.

Increasingly, even the biggest of the Bigs who relied on old-fashioned gatekeeping are feeling the same pinch.

If I just want to know who won, Google will tell me. And that’s all most people do want to know.

See also: New York Times’ disastrous third quarter