Let’s face it: The words “fake news” get thrown around a lot these days. It’s a bit of a vague term that both sides now use to dismiss any report they don’t like, but MSNBC just got caught generating undeniably fake news on the eve of the midterm elections.
On Monday, many viewers were surprised when the left-leaning network displayed a vote count from the Florida governor’s race. The full-screen image declared that 99 percent of the votes in that state had been counted, and Democrat Andrew Gillum was winning.
There were two glaring problems. The election hadn’t even happened yet, and MSNBC had literally made up the vote numbers.
“Just want to say, earlier this hour, uh, we showed a graphic of the Florida gubernatorial race,” admitted “All In” host Chris Hayes, according to Deadline Hollywood. “May have caught your eye because our system had inadvertently populated some test numbers.”
MSNBC accidentally shows false results of Tomorrow’s election that has not happened in Florida showing socialist Gillum in slight lead against @RonDeSantisFL. Wishful thinking? What do you think https://t.co/IHaTFIAYEq
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) November 6, 2018
Inadvertently. Do MSNBC’s computers have minds of their own?
“Obviously, we do not yet have any vote totals here, the night before the election. That was a misfire. Don’t worry. I was pretty confused when I saw it up there, to see it myself,” Hayes said.
Florida, of all places, should be an example of how even a few confused voters can have a major impact. It was there that a combination of misread exit polling, complicated ballots and infamous “hanging chads,” among other factors, led to the 2000 presidential election being thrown into doubt until the Supreme Court intervened more than a month after voting ended.
At the time, many media outlets wrongly called Florida for then-Vice President Al Gore before the polls were even closed, which influenced Bush voters to stay home, according to news reports from the time. You would think a major news network would know better than to potentially confuse people in the midst of a key election.
Now, out of fairness, a national television broadcast is pretty complicated and it certainly is possible that somebody in the control room made an honest mistake. Though irresponsible, it could have been just coincidence that a left-leaning network posted false, left-leaning election results.
The problem, however, is the double standard here. A major network just showed incorrect, manufactured election results to its audience, something that even Hayes admitted was confusing. Yet he dismissed it with a nervous laugh. Nothing to see here.
But on liberal-controlled social media platforms, spreading false information about the midterm election — even when joking — has been getting people banned left and right.
The Daily Wire has reported its commentator Michael Knowles was suspended by Twitter after he made an old joke about Republicans voting on Tuesday, and Democrats voting the day after. It was obviously in jest, but the social media giant hit him hard based on the vague claim of spreading false election information.
Knowles wasn’t alone in running into problems on social media.
“We already prohibit … misrepresentations about the dates, locations, times and qualifications for casting a ballot,” Facebook stated a few weeks ago.
On Oct. 11, the social media giant confirmed that it had removed nearly 600 pages for “inauthentic behavior” related to the midterm elections.
It doesn’t get much more “inauthentic” or “misrepresentative” than broadcasting fake election results and implying that the race has already happened. But do you think MSNBC will face any scrutiny from the left?
Don’t hold your breath.
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