Accuracy in Media

NBC News chairman Andy Lack said the network plans to make significant changes in how it covers future elections after the failure of state polls in the 2016 election.

Lack made his remarks during an interview at the IESE Business School in New York on Wednesday:

“We didn’t get this election right, news organizations, we didn’t know that night how wrong or how close it was. I don’t know anyone who thought at 6 o’clock in the evening it was going to go down that way. Democracy is messy, our relationship to the free and independent press that we cherish is messy, and we forget about that too often. It is not clean, it is not perfect, we make mistakes, we screw up, but we fix that and are open about that. Embarrassed, humbled, yes, but not shy about saying we didn’t get that right.”

Lack cited the network’s over-reliance on polls during the election as one of the reasons they missed the Trump victory:

“We have to make some big changes in that area [polling]. I think we have to get out in the county more, and live in these states more, and that will take a bigger commitment from us going in. I think we relied too much on polls, and not enough on our own good reporting inside Michigan and Pennsylvania and Ohio.”

Trump was the beneficiary of a majority of late deciders in Wisconsin (59-30 percent), Michigan (54-37 percent) and Pennsylvania (52-37 percent), something that couldn’t be caught by the polls—which are a lagging indicator—but might have been detected if the network had more reporters in those battleground states that gave Trump the presidency.

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