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Media election planners prepare for a night of mystery – 570 News

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NEW YORK — This coming weekend, CNN’s Sam Feist will distribute to his staff copies of the testimony news executives gave to Congress when they tried to explain how television networks got 2000’s disputed election so spectacularly wrong.

It’s required reading — perhaps never more than this year. Media planners are preaching caution in the face of a surge in early voting, high anxiety levels overall and a president who raises the spectre of another disputed election.

“We need to prepare ourselves for a different kind of election night,” said Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, “and the word I keep using is ‘patience.’”

Nearly half of people polled recently by the Pew Research Center said they intend to follow election night returns closely. It’s easy to see this year eclipsing 2008’s record of 71.5 million people who watched for results, and many will have laptops, tablets or smartphones ready for a multi-screen experience.

CBS News built a new studio where pop stars once visited MTV’s “Total Request Live,” and Fox News hired the makers of the “Fortnite” video game to design whiz-bang graphics, an illustration of the money and planning that goes in to the quadrennial event.

Live television coverage will extend into the early morning of Nov. 4 and perhaps beyond. NBC News has mapped out a schedule to stay on the air for days if necessary, said Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president.

Besides the traditional broadcast and cable news networks, there will be live-stream options from the likes of The Washington Post and others, including websites filled with graphics and raw numbers.

“There is an odd combination of anticipation and uncertainty about this election night, more than any other election night I can remember,” said David Bohrman, a television veteran who this year is producing the CBS News coverage.

Election nights always have surprises, but the worry this year is being driven by the large number of people voting early or by mail, in part driven by the coronavirus. By many estimates, the early vote will eclipse the number of people going to polling places on Election Day for the first time.

That’s an extraordinary change: In 1972, only 5 per cent of votes were cast prior to Election Day, and by 2016 it was 42.5 per cent. That profoundly affects how the results are reported.

Some states begin counting early votes as they come in. Some wait until Election Day or even after polls close. Some key states count absentee ballots only if they are postmarked by Election Day. Elsewhere, ballots can arrive as late as Nov. 13, as is the case in Ohio.

Some states have enough experience that their counts usually go quickly and smoothly. Other counts are more problematic. Florida and North Carolina are two battleground states that have, historically, done well at counting and posting the results of mail ballots on election night.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are prohibited by state law from processing mail ballots until Election Day. It can be a cumbersome process, and since neither state has experience counting as many ballots as are expected this year, it may be days before their results are known.

With more Democrats than Republicans voting early, the pace of how votes are reported is also important. Some states will release early votes before the Election Day tallies. That can make the first numbers shown on the screen appear deceptive, said Steve Kornacki, elections guru at MSNBC.

The challenge is knowing all those idiosyncrasies and communicating them clearly, he said.

“When I say I want a few more days (to study), that’s why,” he said.

Instead of listing how many voting precincts are reporting, ABC News will tell viewers the percentage of expected votes that are in so far, said Marc Burstein, senior executive producer who’s been in charge of ABC election coverage since 2000.

“Our byword of the night is transparency,” Burstein said. “We will tell people what we know. We will tell people what we don’t know, and we will tell them why.”

News organizations will still declare winners in individual states much as they have done in the past, using a combination of poll results and actual vote totals. Again, the expectation is these calls may be slower than in past years.

Producers say viewers should look to Florida as an early bellwether, because of its importance, efficiency in counting and early poll closing time. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog said last week that if Democrat Joe Biden wins Florida, his chances of winning the presidency shoot up to 99 per cent. If President Donald Trump wins the state, his reelection chances jump to 39 per cent, what Silver calls essentially a tossup.

North Carolina and Ohio are other states where relatively early results could give an indication of how the night is going.

Perhaps.

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected,” said Alan Komissaroff, Fox News senior vice-president of news and politics.

More reporting from outside of studios will likely be on display, with news organizations placing greater emphasis on voter integrity issues and the possibility of legal challenges. PBS is tapping a dozen public broadcasting reporters from across the country to contribute to its coverage. The Washington Post is stationing reporters in 36 states.

Networks are hiring election law experts in case those issues need to be addressed.

Because of the coronavirus, CBS’ Bohrman said people who will be on the network’s new set are being tested every day.

ABC News’ Manhattan set isn’t big enough for everyone to be 6 feet apart, so the network will operate out of three different studios on election night, including the set of “The View,” Burstein said.

At some point, after months of pontificating and speculating, the conclusion of the 2020 election will be known. Four years ago, The Associated Press declared Trump the next president at 2:29 a.m. the day after the election.

“We’re going in prepared but without preconceptions,” Oppenheim said.

___

AP’s Election Decision Editor Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington contributed to this report.

David Bauder, The Associated Press

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Judge at Toronto van attack trial suggests media should stop naming killers but courts should not – National Post

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Article content continued

Her words on Friday, born of exasperation, described it as having a “gun to my head” and being handed “a ransom demand” for her kidnapped child.

The evidence from Westphal and his team is the only expected expert testimony directly supporting Minassian’s mental state defence.

“All of Mr. Minassian’s eggs are in this particular basket,” Molloy said in her ruling.

A screengrab of Alek Minassian’s booking video. Photo by Toronto Police Service

After all, Minassian has admitted he purposely rented a van on April 23, 2018, and drove it down a busy sidewalk with the planned purpose of killing as many people as he could.

Because Westphal is in the United States and the trial is being held online due to COVID-19, Molloy cannot do what she has done before, which is send police to corral a witness and bring them to court, where refusal to testify could lead to imprisonment.

“The devastation wrought by Mr. Minassian cannot be overstated. However, he is entitled to a fair trial in our courts, and to call a defence supported by evidence. That evidence exists, but is in the control of Dr. Westphal,” she concluded.

Molloy’s words on not naming killers rekindles the debate over what to do in the wake of violence that was raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the Nova Scotia rampage.

In Trudeau’s first public address after the Nova Scotia mass shooting during which 22 people were killed in April, he asked that the killer’s identity not be included in media coverage of the tragedy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the mass shootings in Nova Scotia during a news conference on April 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Photo by Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

“I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved,” he said as part of his prepared remarks. “Do not give him the gift of infamy. Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.”

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Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – Simcoe Reformer

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Port Rowan man pleads guilty to threatening Chopp

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp. File photo

File photo / Simcoe Reformer

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp says harassment and even threats of violence have been part of her job since being elected in 2018.

“I’m pretty tough, but the constant barrage of abuse that some find amusing has affected my psychology,” the mayor said in an interview last week.

Earlier this month, a 57-year-old Port Rowan man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Chopp.

Dana Robert Dargie was placed on house arrest for 30 days and put on probation for 18 months, during which he is banned from communicating with or going near the mayor. He also can’t go to the municipal building or attend any Norfolk council meetings. And he was directed to get counselling for anger management.

“It’s my understanding that he was warned once to stop and he didn’t,” Chopp said of Dargie.

But Dargie is just one of many people who lash out on social media against the mayor, who has faced controversy over council’s decisions to cut services and staff, among other things.

At a Norfolk council meeting last Tuesday, the mayor was accused by her council colleagues of using bullying tactics and intimidation as the politicians aired their feelings and grievances. Chopp refused to participate in the meeting, gathering her things and leaving.

Along with emails and negative online comments, Chopp is mocked through a parody account on Twitter, which often compares her to U.S. President Donald Trump. She said a members-only Facebook site with 3,000 members seems to have been formed specifically to discuss and denigrate her work and that of Norfolk CAO Jason Burgess, who is the municipality’s fifth CAO in just over a year.

She said she regularly receives inappropriate emails, including some from a “dirty old man,” who has sent dozens of messages, including half-naked photos of himself.

“I never used to believe in blocking people but that has changed in recent times. Social media has become too out of control, too offensive, too damaging and too harassing.”

And that harassment has extended to her family.

Chopp said her parents’ Hamilton-area farm was visited last year by bylaw officers looking for illegal cannabis.

“They realized they had been sent on a wild goose chase the second they stepped onto the farm but said they had so many phone calls and emails telling them to check it out that they finally went.”

A spokesperson for the City of Hamilton confirmed bylaw officers visited the farm and found no violations.

Chopp said that incident is still under investigation and included a “22-page manifesto” from someone named “Harry Smith,” who mailed his allegations to major media organizations in Canada and to Chopp’s employer, Air Canada, where she works as a pilot. The “manifesto” said the mayor is a narcissistic dictator and psychopath, who owns her own plane and runs a marijuana business.

“I think there’s a reason why women, in particular, don’t want to get involved in politics,” she said. “I can give you a list of more than a dozen men I’m allegedly sleeping with. And, if they don’t get off on that one, they call me a lesbian.”

Chopp said she has pondered taking civil action against some of the harassers as the abuse intensifies

She said she hopes Dargie’s conviction will stop others.

“But I don’t think it will,” she said. “Social media has taken on a life of its own and the facts don’t seem to matter.

“Ignoring the keyboard warriors is difficult but I will do my best to soldier on.”

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble

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The Debate – France, security and the media: Does the new global law go too far? – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 23/11/2020 – 20:17

France is caught in a row over the right to film police officers in the course of their duty. It is a controversy that has brought demonstrators on to the streets. A new law on the Security of France goes to a final vote on Tuesday. The Bill with a controversial amendment has been passed for a first time by the National Assembly by a margin in 146 to 24. Article 24 concerns the right to film the police. It raises fears and concerns among many media here in France about the right to report and inform.

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This evening with our panel we discuss the issues. Police officers have a tough job. But freedom to report is a foundation of democracy

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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