UPI Revisited

Last week Campaign Desk promised our readers United Press International’s explanation as to why they copied the National Review Online’s early exit poll results for Arizona into a wire story that ran three hours prior to the polls closing in Arizona.

UPI’s error demonstrated the dangers of blogs (especially those associated with political magazines staffed by supposedly ethically-bound journalists) prematurely releasing otherwise confidential numbers: These numbers can easily leak into the mainstream press.

Well, it’s a week later, and Tobin Beck, UPI’s executive editor, who had been on vacation, finally got back to us.

Beck told Campaign Desk, “In general, policy would not be to report [exit poll results], but use it internally for pieces we were working on it, unless there were a compelling reason otherwise.”

When asked if the situation created by blogs last Tuesday constituted a “compelling reason,” Beck answered “no.” Rather, Beck says, this wire story “slipped through” and stand as an “anomaly” to UPI’s usual policy.

Beck said that UPI does not plan to release early exit polls for the upcoming Democratic primaries, unless, of course, there is a “compelling reason otherwise.”

Thomas Lang

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.