Scotland Voting–And the Inability to Report Certain Topics
Yesterday I wrote on a number of resources that are covering the Scotland independence vote. Today, the election has finally arrived. According the BBC, 4,285,323 people are registered to vote. However, as the BBC mentions, “[s]trict rules mean the BBC – in common with other broadcasters – is not allowed to report details of campaigning until after the polls close.” However, the BBC has an article entitled Scottish Independence: How the the BBC reports polling day” that I believe it worth reading. People interested in the election results, or in the coverage leading up to the final election tally, may be surprised to see limited information regarding what is taking place in Scotland. Namely, as the BBC explains, “[c]overage is limited to uncontroversial factual accounts of things like the logistics of voting, how the count will be done, or just the weather, so the BBC’c output can’t be seen as influencing the ballot while the polls are open.”
As we are aware, such rules are in stark contract with the rules and media coverage in the United States on election day. Thus, while students and scholars of international relations will have to wait for the results or projected results, it can be an interesting to reflect upon how the media covers elections the actual day of the voting. If we recall, in the United States, there have been some memorable incidents of inaccurate projections or analysis, going back to cases such as Dewey Defeats Truman, or the 2000 elections (particularly with regards to the state of Florida). We can also think of examples of analysts such as Karl Rove in 2012 saying projections about Ohio going to President Obama were premature, despite the fact that he did go on to win Ohio.