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Establishment Media Commit Massive Act of Malpractice And Claim Clinton ‘Clinched’

The Associated Press and NBC News inappropriately reported Hillary Clinton made history and “clinched” the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. It spurred other media organizations, such as CNN and the New York Times, to follow suit and splash their home pages with big headlines indicating Clinton was the nominee.

In engaging in this act, establishment media improperly influenced five primaries scheduled for June 7, including the California primary, one of the biggest contests in the presidential race thus far. They collectively stooped to a new sycophantic low.

The reports of “clinching” are entirely based on an unofficial survey of superdelegates, which the AP and NBC News has conducted throughout the 2016 election. They both determined Clinton reached the “magic number” needed to clinch, which is 2383 delegates.

But if it is true that history happened, why didn’t Clinton’s own party congratulate her? How come there was no statement from the Democratic National Committee?

As of 12 am ET on June 7, the DNC had released no statement. There was no status update on the DNC’s Facebook page. There was no message sent or retweeted about Clinton making history.

Is that not a bit odd to journalists in the media or do journalists and pundits covering this election have their heads so deep in the Clinton campaign that they do not care to even fake objectivity and fairness anymore?

In late April, DNC communications director Luis Miranda informed CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Any night that you have a primary or caucus, and the media lumps the superdelegates in—that they basically polled by calling them up and saying who are you supporting—they don’t vote until the convention. And so, they shouldn’t be included in any count.”

Miranda told Tapper they should not be included in delegate count totals “because they’re not actually voting, and they are likely to change their mind. Look at 2008 and what happened then was there was all this assumption about what superdelegates were going to do, and many of them did change their mind before the convention and it shifted the results in the end.”

That is pretty plain. The DNC has not congratulated Clinton because it cannot until superdelegates vote in July.

This is why Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in the race, put out the following statement:

It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.

Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates, who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.

Sanders held a press conference hours before the AP and NBC News announced Clinton had “clinched.” He explicitly told reporters, as he has throughout the past month of the election, that his campaign plans to contest the convention. It will try and persuade superdelegates, who declared before any votes were cast, that he has the momentum and is the candidate who is best positioned to beat Donald Trump, the Republican’s presumptive nominee.

Despite this, the establishment media has collectively determined it is impossible for Sanders to achieve, and therefore, the nomination belongs to Clinton.

“Sanders plans to make the case to superdelegates that he is better positioned to beat Trump in November,” the AP stated. “While superdelegates can change their minds, those counted in Clinton’s tally have unequivocally told the AP they will support her at the party’s summer convention. Since the start of the AP’s survey in late 2015, no superdelegates have switched from supporting Clinton to backing Sanders.”

NBC News Director of Elections John Lapinski was asked by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow if there was any merit to the outrage from the Sanders campaign. He replied with a long-winded answer:

…Technically, they make their final formal decisions at the convention, right? I mean, but this is the way this is done—This is the process in the sense of—It’s really hard, especially to imagine how like so many of these delegates came out for her so early and they’ve been so supportive of her, to see them flip. And she’s going to have a huge—And, when you sort of think about it, the two factors I think that like—If Sanders were to go in essentially to the convention, where he had won the popular vote and won the pledged delegates, maybe, maybe there was a case that he could swing some delegates. Now, I am not saying he can’t swing a few here and there. I don’t know. I mean, it’s impossible to know. I mean, he’s going to sort of hold out. But the idea that—He doesn’t really have a lot there to make—There’s not a lot there, right? To sort of make that argument and that case. I don’t know what his argument and case will be, and I think, you know, he himself has said he’s going to reassess things. And so, we’ll actually have to—I mean, I can’t get inside of his mind and know what his actual decision will be…

Or, to put it more concisely, yes, superdelegates don’t vote until the convention but NBC News doesn’t care.

By announcing to citizens of the United States that Clinton has made history and clinched the nomination, superdelegates are definitely unlikely to switch, even if he wins California. Effectively, what AP and other media outlets did could shield Clinton from any massive boost Sanders may attain in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, New Jersey, and California.

At 12:42 pm on June 6, the AP reported Clinton was 23 delegates away from “clinching” the nomination. Uncommitted party insiders came forward to declare their votes and make it possible for the media to “report” Clinton’s “victory.”

The Democratic Party establishment has tried to push Sanders to quit for weeks. This could very well be some type of payback for staying in the race and competing for every last vote. If so, the establishment media is an effective co-conspirator in meting out this payback.

Way before this moment, there were rumblings that the media would announce Clinton “clinched” after she won New Jersey. Bill Mitchell of Poynter.org, the blog for the nonprofit school of journalism, argued media should not run such headlines.

Since superdelegates won’t cast their votes until July, Mitchell suggested, “It’s premature for journalists to act as if they have, in fact, already voted.”

“Clinton’s current overwhelming support among superdelegates (Sanders has commitments from only 46 of them) should by all means be part of Tuesday night’s story. But it should not be used to support declarations like Clinton clinching, crossing the threshold or any other lingo suggesting it’s all over,” Mitchell contended.

He added, “I base my argument on a non-partisan journalistic principle: Report what you know.”

The establishment media thinks they know that Sanders will not be able to persuade superdelegates to support him. They fervently believe this is impossible so much that it is a “fact” to them. NBC News Director of Elections John Lapinski told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow there has never been any evidence superdelegates would abandon Clinton. Yet, recall, the conventional wisdom among the press was that Donald Trump would never be the Republican Party’s nominee.

Back in 2008, around this time, Senator Harry Reid urged senators to “keep their decisions in their pocket” until South Dakota and Montana had voted. Referring to uncommitted superdelegates, he told reporters, “I want everyone, until the elections are over, to keep their decisions in their pocket.” He said “Secretary Clinton needs to be left alone to get through the primary process and let it run it’s course.”

The Democratic Party establishment has, in sharp contrast, refused to show Sanders the same respect and leave him alone until the primary runs its course. The party’s leading politicians have fueled a steady drumbeat of calls in the press to quit or “tone down” his campaign so Clinton can focus on beating Trump. The message has been it is insubordinate of Sanders to compete in the primary as aggressively as Clinton has competed for the support of voters.

The establishment media is eager to focus on churning out storylines about Clinton versus Trump. There is no better way to justify tuning out his campaign than to seize upon party insiders just as eager to see Sanders and his supporters fade away.

There has been widespread concern promoted by Democrats that Sanders voters will not support Clinton in the general election. They may vote third party or stay home. Or, worse, they may vote Trump. This has fueled consternation on social media since March and inspired many pieces from pundits, which pathologize supporters.

What the AP, NBC News, and party insiders did is terribly offensive to voters, who still have not cast their ballots yet.

If there ever was a reason for Sanders supporters to never give Clinton their votes in November, AP, NBC News, and other media outlets gave them one gigantic reason with this act of journalistic malpractice.


Below are screen shots from the pages of outlets, which took part in the massive act of malpractice:


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New York Times

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Huffington Post

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Washington Post

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Screen shot 2016-06-06 at 11.08.49 PM

Verizon strikers in Herald Square, New York City. Photo by otto-yamamoto on Flickr
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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."