Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Examining the Media: Has the Press Deliberately KO'd Hillary? (Opinion)

Sen. Hillary Clinton's camp is emphatically denying an AP story announcing her resignation from her campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for president.

Regardless of what the Clinton campaign says, AP has announced the anointing of Barack Obama as well as announced that Clinton is dropping out of the race. Isn't it Clinton's job to announce what she's doing?

And isn't it the Democratic Party's job to officially nominate Sen. Barack Obama? Apparently not.

Here's what the Clinton campaign has to say, via Fox News:

"“The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening,” the campaign said in a statement.

Clinton aides told FOX News that the only concession she will make Tuesday night is that Obama “has a slight lead in the delegate count.”

They said Clinton plans to claim she has won the popular vote, and is working up a victory-type speech for her address in New York City.

“She is in this race until we have a nominee. We do not expect there to be one tonight,” Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said."

Still, media are following the AP's lead and accepting the AP announcement as though it came from Clinton herself. Apparently, there is no longer any reason to have a convention, because AP has just announced the nominee.

The intrusion of the media as propagandists and active PR agents for Sen. Barack Obama has been appalling, and something that I hope serious journalists take a long and hard look at. For weeks, indeed months, even before people voted, we've been told, by the media, that Clinton had already lost.

In the frantic rush to ordain Obama, the media seems to have forgotten that its job is to report factually, and not be part of the political system, but an objective  lenses on the process. These days, I think that a definition of the term "objective" needs to be given to most media.

There's a place for opinion: in the editorial section of a newspaper, or in the commentary segments of TV shows. There's an endless stream of newly-appointed pundits who drone on for hours about the slightest thing.

Their shows should have a message on the screen at the start and all commercial breaks: editorial and commentary only; this is not breaking news. Too harsh? I think not.

The media has told Hillary to quit many times--in a way they wouldn't have done with a man. They've announced her defeat so often that were this a prize fight, there'd be more announced knock-outs than rounds.

They've consistently used the least attractive photos of Clinton they could find, while finding attractive photos of Obama. One day, a supposedly objective news story gushed on about the "glamorous" Mrs. Obama, when the supposed subject was Obama policy as presented in speeches.

Watching today as the sheep stampede to follow AP's lead, I'm left wondering: when did the media get the idea that reporting news isn't good enough, and that making news is their job? 

Today, media outlets are rushing to carol the good news: AP has announced Clinton's quitting, tonight, and Obama is the nominee.

No, he's not the nominee. Even if Clinton concedes tonight, he's only the presumptive nominee.

Unless, of course, the media has now decided to take over democratic processes. In which case, everyone can save a lot of money by calling off the Democratic convention.

Personally, although Clinton hasn't been my candidate, I hope she stays in it as long as she chooses, not the media. I'd like to see her take her issues to the convention. I'd like to see Clinton supporters have the chance for some good, old-fashioned floor fights.

Above all else, I hope she doesn't accept the AP announcement as her own.

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