News media shapes election night perceptions, says Hill reporter

The Hill campaign reporter Reid Wilson said Friday in an interview that the media ultimately shapes how people perceive election night results.  

"The perception of how the election played out ... it's shaped by the media, and how we talk about it," Wilson told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

Post–midterm election data shows that the American people were largely invested in this year's midterm contests, which were largely viewed as a referendum on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's first two years in office. 

Roughly 36 million people tuned in to watch coverage of the 2018 midterm elections on television, according to Nielsen, marking the largest increase in midterm election viewers in recent years. 

Wilson warned that media consumers should not view election coverage by the press as the official way votes are counted. 

"The way election night went, there were a number of news outlets ... they made calls, The Associated Press, NBC News, that had to retract those calls," he said. 

"The Associated Press just retracted a call in California's 21st District, where California's David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE now looks like he's going to lose to Democratic T.J Cox. That will be the 40th seat once it's fine and certified," he continued. 

"We need to remember that the way the media counts votes is not the official way to count votes. It is not up to the AP, or NBC, or thehill.com, to tell people who won an election," he said. 

— Julia Manchester