To the Executive Editor of the Associated Press and the Presidents of the News Divisions at ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC:

Powerful actors have deliberately sought to undermine trust in the media and the election process, even refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Between that and the onslaught of disinformation and hate speech that was already proliferating across social media, the integrity of the 2020 election is in danger.

Given the grave threats that all of this poses, your responsibility as news leaders is all the more significant. Election-season coverage, especially on Election Day, is one of the most solemn duties that the media perform. It’s urgent that you concern yourselves with getting it right rather than getting it first.

  1. Do not repeat baseless claims of voter fraud.
  2. Reject coverage that fuels partisanship, hate and violence.
  3. Cover and confront attempts to derail the election directly. Don’t default to “both-sides” framing.
  4. Support and amplify local-news reporting on voter-suppression tactics and intimidation.
  5. Prepare your audience now for an election that will likely not be decided on election night.
  6. Protect the integrity of the election by demonstrating restraint before declaring “winners”. Challenge any attempts to halt vote tallying.

    Not ? Click here.

    You will receive periodic updates from Free Press and Free Press Action Fund. You may unsubscribe at any time. We take your privacy seriously — read our privacy policy here.

    Tell Media Executives: Get Your Election Coverage Right

    Tell Media Executives: Get Election Coverage Right

    Trump has spent his entire presidency undermining voters’ confidence in this election and sowing doubt about the results. And as he began asserting that he was the winner on social media, he is behaving exactly as expected.

    This election is unlike any other we’ve experienced. We’re living in a global pandemic, much-needed racial-justice uprisings are taking place around the country, misinformation and disinformation abound on social media and powerful actors have deliberately sought to undermine trust in the media and the election process, even refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

    We’re calling on the heads of the cable and broadcast-news outlets — as well as the Associated Press — to rise to this moment by prioritizing coverage that gets it right, not just first.

     

    Photo credit: Gage Skidmore