The Associated Press has caught quite a bit of heat from Bernie Sanders supporters after they declared Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee the day before the final primaries.
On the night preceding six huge primaries, including the large state of California, the respected news organization published results from an anonymous “survey” of uncommitted superdelegates in order to call the race before it happened.
Soon after AP’s story went out, other mainstream media outlets jumped on board and continued reporting Clinton’s “historical win” and congratulating her on making powerful strides for women; however, official votes were still not in yet.
This irresponsible strategy made many voters come to the conclusion that there was virtually no point in casting a primary vote or that their vote no longer mattered since Clinton had already won.
As to be expected, Sanders supporters were livid and went after AP reporters.
“Some AP staff have received angry communications in the form of emails, social-media messages, and phone calls,” the press cooperative’s vice president for global security reportedly said.
Although they’ve received backlash, they maintain that no specific security threats have been received. Nonetheless, the publication told its reporters to “practice situational awareness” around AP bureaus and offices, according to Poynter.
PHOTO: The Associated Press meets with the Clinton campaign. pic.twitter.com/PQamUfkdp3— daveweigel (@daveweigel) June 7, 2016
Reporters from The Washington Post, New York Times, and National Public Radio (NPR) said they were also personally attacked and threatened by Sanders supporters after they followed AP’s lead and named Clinton the winner.
Despite how voters feel, AP has defended their decision to jump the gun in a post on its corporate blog:
“By Monday evening, 571 superdelegates had told us unequivocally that they intend to vote for Clinton at the convention. Adding that number to the delegates awarded to Clinton in primary and caucus voting to date gave her the number needed to be the presumptive nominee.
That is news, and reporting the news is what we do.
Nothing in that discourages or prevents voters in six states from exercising their right to go to the polls today and cast their ballots.”
AP’s defense just barely skims the surface of why Sanders supporters are so upset.
While depressing voter turnout was a concern, AP’s early report is actually a part of a larger issue surrounding the fact that mainstream media has counted Sanders out throughout his entire campaign —completely ignoring his popularity among voters who are supposed to be the real decision makers.
As far as the media has been concerned, Sanders never really stood a chance and AP made that fact even more apparent by sealing his fate even before a single vote was cast.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters