Is the Media Rushing Clinton Out of the Race? Is it accurate or fair for the news media to call Barack Obama the Democratic nominee when Hillary Clinton is still winning primaries? Does it hurt her campaign, or give her something to run against?
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Is the Media Rushing Clinton Out of the Race?

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Is the Media Rushing Clinton Out of the Race?

Is the Media Rushing Clinton Out of the Race?

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


NPR's David Folkenflik was watching.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: So there I was last night, pacing in front of several TV sets. We're down to just a few seconds before the polls close, and you're seeing a clock tick down - the seconds actually ticking down on FOX and CNN, MSNBC and you wonder how quickly are they going to be able to call it. I'm looking now at three, two...

U: Hillary Clinton has beaten Barack Obama...

FOLKENFLIK: Boy, that didn't take any time at all. This afternoon, I asked CBS chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer how best to look at the West Virginia primaries.

NORRIS: It is kind of like a - kind of like a one-punch prize fight, you know, the bell rings, the guy goes out there, hits a guy in the jaw and that's it. There's not much analysis or a doubt about what happened on one like last night.

FOLKENFLIK: So that sounds like great news for Clinton, no?

NORRIS: We often say too little, too late. Maybe this was too much too late. She won and won big, but the end of the night, Barack Obama had picked up 27 superdelegates since North Carolina and Indiana. So in fact, he picked up more delegates through last night than she did in winning.

FOLKENFLIK: And that logic was driving the analysis provided by big-name media figures like MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

NORRIS: She has, in fact, not done as well as she needed to do in West Virginia tonight. She now needs to win 91 percent of the remaining...

U: Right.

NORRIS: ...remaining delegates up for grabs. The number has gotten worse even with a 2-1 triumph.

FOLKENFLIK: On The Today Show, NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert put it this way.

NORRIS: Sure, it's a massive victory. It doesn't change the math; she hopes it alters the psychology.

FOLKENFLIK: Former ABC News correspondent Judy Muller thinks they're all forgetting something.

P: I think a win is a win when it's a 2-1 victory. And yet, the narrative that the mainstream media have now latched on to is that she's toast, and why is she still in the race? Therefore, a win is not a win.

FOLKENFLIK: Muller covered several presidential campaigns for ABC, but she's retired from the news business and has been a journalism professor for the past two years. A year ago, she actually contributed $500 to the Obama campaign. But Obama hasn't crossed the finish line yet, and Muller says the media is rushing Clinton out of the race, which she calls...

P: Glib journalism, and a little bit arrogant - of setting this narrative despite what the voters continue to say, which is, hey, it's not that simple. There are a lot of people out there who are supporting Hillary Clinton, even now.

FOLKENFLIK: Making that point last night on all three networks was Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe. MSNBC's Chris Matthews called him the ballyhoo boy for being so upbeat yesterday. And here, McAuliffe was sparring with Shepard Smith on FOX News, which McAuliffe had previously declared the network that was fairest to Clinton.

NORRIS: You know me, I'm - listen, you know, I'm Irish.

NORRIS: I don't know how you do this. Why did James Carville turn?

NORRIS: James hasn't turned.


NORRIS: James has said - listen, you know, he said he's a light, you know, he can - he's entitled to say whatever he wants to say.

NORRIS: He's just more in touch with reality.


NORRIS: Are you saying I'm not tethered to reality? Is that what you're saying, Shep?


FOLKENFLIK: Judy Muller says the media should slow down and let the nomination play out.

NORRIS: The fact that she doesn't have the math to do it is a fact. But how much has the narrative, the sort of incestuous analysis, played into creating that? I'm not sure.

FOLKENFLIK: David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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