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How and why the media projects election winners unofficially

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(WQOW)- Major media outlets have projected Joe Biden to become our next president, but many Americans, including President Donald Trump, are questioning the legitimacy of news sources determining a winner.

The President called out the media on Twitter over the weekend for their projections of election results, but experts say the media has always predicted winners and shared them with the public, dating back to the beginning of our country's history.

"The media has always done it," said Kim Zagorski, professor of political science at UW-Stout. "Even before TV and radio, it was a newspaper that was giving people the information through telegraph, or even before that with people riding horses and delivering the mail, so there's always been some way to deliver the message."

Zagorski says major media outlets often have reporters at polling places collecting real-time data and relaying that to colleagues who are able to make winning projections based off of voting trends in certain areas, how many votes are left to be counted, and the margin of votes between candidates.

Zagorski says the electoral college has never gone against media reports and cast votes for the candidate predicted to lose, and she doesn't forsee that happening for President Trump.

Evan Hong

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