On November 4th, those typical exit polls (those that many accuse of skewing election outcomes) will be conducted. According to an interview on last weekend's On The Media, representatives from the four TV networks and Associated Press will be quarantined. At 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, those individuals will be given some early and general trend information from those polls. They are free to take it back to the newsroom where employees are supposed to embargo the information until the Western states have finished voting.
This will be the ultimate test of news media ethics. After all, TV anchors will be ravenous for anything to say during the long stretch from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. EST Standard Time (when all polls have closed).
The On The Media piece (click on the podcast Poll Me Twice) addressed the genuine concern that newsrooms may leak the forbidden info to bloggers/citizen journalists, who will then post online...allowing traditional media to simply "cover what's already out there."
And if it happens....will it skew the results as anchors release scraps of online information? Will Western voters figure their vote won't count if they see TV report a "clear trend" from the exit polls.
The world will be watching.