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The award for most deliberate and egregious burying of a lead has just been handed out.
It goes to NBC News, for a story entitled, "Bernie Sanders Makes Things Awkward for Hillary Clinton's DNC Takeover."
Put aside for a moment that the story's central premise is the uncritical repetition of a nonsense: the idea that a major-party convention can't -- as in literally cannot be -- planned without a nominee being declared at least a month and a half in advance. We know that's untrue because, up until a week ago, that's exactly what the GOP was (with minimal public grousing by RNC Chair Reince Priebus) planning to do.
More importantly, in the context of Democratic National Committee rules -- which, as DNC officials Luis Miranda and Debbie Wasserman Schultz have both explained to the media repeatedly, dictate that super-delegates cannot be tallied until July -- there can be no doubt about which sentence in the above-cited NBC News story is the most important. It's this one, about what the Clinton campaign and the DNC have been up to since April (more than three months prior to the Party's late-July convention):
Back-channel conversations have already begun between Clinton's campaign and the DNC about what role the party will play in the general election. These discussions are happening out of sight for now to avoid the appearance of collusion before the party has formally selected a nominee.
Where does this information appear in the article? In the very last sentence, of course.
That's the spot in a hard-news article reserved for (assuming there's no "kicker") the least important piece of information in the article.
Or it would be, had not some editor at NBC News switched the rules around.
That's something that's becoming not just a trend in, but a cancer upon, the 2016 presidential election, so let's go back in time to find the root of the problem. If you can, cast your mind all the way back to February 19th -- less than 90 days ago. On February 19th, only two states -- Iowa and New Hampshire -- had held primary votes for the Democratic presidential nomination. The results in Iowa (a tie) and New Hampshire (a landslide victory for Bernie Sanders) had at that point made Sanders the front-runner for the nomination.
Sanders was the leader in the popular vote.
Sanders was the early leader in the all-important pledged-delegate count.
And here's where the super-delegate count stood on February 19th:
- Hillary Clinton: 451
- Bernie Sanders: 19
Now it's May, and we're being told that the sole purpose of the Democratic "super-delegate" has all along been to acknowledge the popular-vote and pledged-delegate leader.
Except that's nonsense.