Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Both the AP and NBC News were accused of journalistic malpractice by ignoring the explicit intstructions of the DNC about how delegates should be counted and for declaring Hillay Clinton the Democratic Nominee on Monday. (Image: Screenshot/NBCNews/with overlay)

Voters Outraged as Media Accused of Falsely, Preemptively Crowning Clinton

"Shame on you AP! Superdelegates don't vote until the convention," tweeted documentary filmmaker Josh Fox. "Story of [Clinton nomination] is false and aims to suppress voters."

Jon Queally

The Bernie Sanders campaign and progressives across the nation expressed mixtures of frustration and contempt Monday night after major news outlets—following declarations by the Associated Press and NBC News—ignored the explicit instructions about how primary delegates should be tallied and declared that Hillary Clinton had won the nomination of the Democratic Party.

"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." —Michael Briggs, Sanders campaignIt was feared this would happen—and news outlets were repeatedly warned they would be reporting the results inaccurately if they counted so-called "superdelegates" in their totals before next month's national convention—but they did it any way.

The AP reported that newly captured "commitments" from superdelegates—current and former party insiders who are allowed to declare their support and ultimately cast a vote of their choice at the convention—gave Clinton on Monday enough total delegates to win the nomination. According to the prominent news agency's count:

Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. She also has the support of 571 superdelegates [...]

The AP surveyed all 714 superdelegates repeatedly in the past seven months, and only 95 remain publicly uncommitted.

Sanders plans to make the case to superdelegates that he is better positioned to beat Trump in November. 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.

The move by AP, which critics slammed as a blatant and despicable attempt to undermine the electoral process by suppressing voter turnout, came on the eve of six primaries on Tuesday, including the crucial state of California. The Sanders campaign responded by saying the reporting was not only poorly timed, but wholly inaccurate.

"The decisive edifice of super-delegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that their nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward and undemocratic sputter." —Glenn Greenwald

"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," said campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs in a statement. "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."

Critics charge that by adding the superdelegates to their total count—something Democratic National Committee communications director Luis Miranda specifically told CNN's Jake Tapper on April 28 that media outlets should not do—news outlets are giving potential voters an intentionally misleading understanding of how close the race actually is and suppressing potential turnout among those who think their votes will mean little in terms of closing such a large gap.

What Sanders will try to do from now until the convention, said Briggs in his statement, "is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump." As the campaign has repeatedly noted, poll after poll shows Sanders doing remarkably better against the GOP nominee Donald Trump than Clinton does.

Briggs also joined MSNBC's Rachel Maddow shortly after the news broke to reiterate and expand on those arguments:

Outside observers, meanwhile—including journalists and commentators who have covered the race closely and progressive supporters of Sanders—expressed various forms of outrage for the announcements by AP, NBC News, and the countless other outlets which subsequently parroted their headlines.

The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald described the media's decision to run these stories "the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary." He specifically criticized outlets for allowing superdelegates to retain anonymity, even as their actions hold such monumental significance.

"The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identity the media organization – incredibly – conceals. The decisive edifice of super-delegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that their nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward and undemocratic sputter."

The timing of the declarations were seen by many as a deplorable, given the stakes of Tuesday's primary, especially in California.

"It's crazy," said anti-fracking activist and documentary filmmaker Josh Fox during an interview on San Francisco's KPFK Monday night. "I want this to fire up Sanders supporters," he added, while expressing hope that people would react to the media's behavior by feeling even more compelled to go to the polls on Tuesday. He encouraged people to bring even more voters along. His contempt for AP was made plain in a series of earlier tweets:

Media critic and political commentator Adam Johnson, as well as political journalist Doug Henwood, added their thoughts:

Even as millions of people get ready to vote in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota on Tuesday, the AP made clear it was the pronouncements of a handful of individuals like Nancy Worley, a superdelegate who chairs Alabama's Democratic Party, who helped "put Clinton over the top" by confirming to the news agency that she would be backing the former secretary of state. "We really need to bring a close to this primary process and get on to defeating Donald Trump," she told the AP.

Meanwhile, the anger (and energy) was spreading:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Witness Intimidation. Clear as Day': Jan. 6 Panel Teases Evidence of Cover-Up Effort

"Add witness tampering to the laundry list of crimes Trump and his allies must be charged with," said professor Robert Reich.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Bombshell After Bombshell' Dropped as Jan. 6 Testimony Homes In On Trump Guilt

"Hutchinson's testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup," said one pro-democracy organizer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·


UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·


'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo