Fox News figures distorted the contents of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to claim that the Democratic presidential primary was “rigged” and that Hillary Clinton’s victory is “illegitimate.” But media have noted that Clinton won “her party’s nomination by every available measure” and that the hacked emails in no way prove the primary was “rigged.”
DNC Email Hack Shows Internal Emails Discussing Bernie Sanders
DNC Apologizes And Chairwoman Resigns After Hacked Emails Released On Eve Of Convention. The Democratic National Committee offered “a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders” after hacked internal DNC emails released by WikiLeaks showed former DNC chairwoman “Debbie Wasserman Schultz and top DNC officials criticizing the Vermont Senator’s campaign during the primary”:
The Democratic National Committee apologized to Bernie Sanders after leaked emails showed former Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and top DNC officials criticizing the Vermont Senator’s campaign during the primary.
The emails, released by WikiLeaks, came shortly before the Democratic National Convention, which kicked off Monday in Philadelphia. On Sunday, Schultz said she would resign after the convention, where she will not speak.
“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for inexcusable remarks made over email,” the statement reads. “The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates.” [Time, 7/25/16]
Right-Wing Media Claim Clinton’s Primary Victory Was “Rigged” By The DNC
Fox’s Bill O’Reilly: DNC Hack Shows “Process Was Rigged Against” Sanders.” Fox host Bill O’Reilly claimed, “As the hacked email showed, the DNC was not fair and the process was rigged against Senator Sanders.” Fox contributor Katie Pavlich alleged that the hacked emails prove “that the DNC was used as an arm and extension of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It proves that the system was rigged”:
BILL O’REILLY: As the hacked email showed, the DNC was not fair and the process was rigged against Senator Sanders. That falls on the shoulders of DNC chief Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, congresswoman from Florida.
KATIE PAVLICH: Overall this does have an effect on the general election in this way. This proves that the DNC was used as an arm and extension of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It proves that the system was rigged. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 7/25/16]
Fox’s Richard Grennell: “The Process Was A Sham” And DNC Should “Nullify” Clinton’s Victory. Fox contributor Richard Grenell claimed that the hacked DNC emails proved that “the debates were a sham, the process was a sham,” and that the Democratic primary “wasn’t a game that was fair”:
RICHARD GRENNELL: I'm here in Philadelphia. Everywhere you go, there are protesters, there are Bernie supporters who are not letting go. This email scandal, which shows that Hillary Clinton used the -- her friends at the Democratic National Committee to literally take this election into a different direction. The debates were a sham, the process was a sham. All of the DNC officials that were hired by Debbie Wasserman Schultz were pro-Hillary. Think about all the possible ways that they didn't help Bernie, whether if it was fundraising lists, with information, they stalled his requests. What we're seeing through these emails is that this really wasn't a game that was fair, and usually what happens when you find out through the officials that the game wasn't fair, you nullify the win, and then you play the game over. I think the Bernie people are going to absolutely speak up and say, “we didn't have our voice, and we are not done yet.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 7/25/16]
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “It’s All Staged, It’s All Phony, It’s All Fraudulent, It’s All Corrupt.” Fox host Sean Hannity claimed that the DNC “rigged the system against Bernie,” “undermin[ed]” and “manipulat[ed]” Democratic primary voters, and “had moles [and] spies working within the Sanders campaign”:
SEAN HANNITY: On top of officials wanting to use Bernie Sanders and antisemitism, because, I assume, they believe that their own party -- because this is the Democratic primary, that their own party, that they can manipulate antisemitism and racism within their own party, so they use Bernie Sanders' religion to try and get a few extra points, as they say, for Hillary. Then DNC officials, what do they do? Oh, they had moles, spies working within the Sanders campaign. And then DNC interns are sent out to Trump rallies when their allies couldn't deliver bodies and times to the gathering. In other words, it's all staged, it's all phony, it's all fraudulent, it's all corrupt.
No apology, no acknowledgement. Why do you think she hired her right away? Because she doesn't want her to talk. You see how corrupt this is? It is, at its core, the essence of why we are in the state we're in. They literally not only rigged the system against Bernie, they were undermining the will, and manipulating their own voters to get the person they want selected. And to hell what the people think. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/25/16]
Fox’s Bret Baier: Sanders Supporters Should Be “Mad” That Emails Confirmed The “Whole Thing Is Rigged.” Fox host Bret Baier asked, “If you were a Sanders supporter and you saw what was in these emails,” and after hearing throughout the primary that the “whole thing is rigged” and it turned out “it was, aren’t you mad?” Associated Press reporter Julie Pace responded that “for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, their strongest message to their supporters … is that the system is rigged”:
BRET BAIER (HOST): If you were a Sanders supporter and you saw what was in these emails and you heard your candidate from the very beginning say hey, they're fighting against me, this whole thing is rigged and then it turns out wait a second, it was, aren’t you mad?
JULIE PACE: I think that for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, their strongest message to their supporters and to people who don't support them is that the system is rigged. Is that there's something that's happening beneath the surface that real people, average voters, don't have any control over. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 7/25/16]
Fox’s Eric Bolling: Bernie Supporters Will Vote Trump Once They Realize “This Was Stolen From Bernie Sanders.” Fox host Eric Bolling claimed that 40 percent of Sanders’ primary supporters said they would never vote for Clinton, and he said that once they “realize that this was stolen from Bernie Sanders, they’re very ripe for Donald Trump to take.” [Fox News, The Five, 7/25/16]
Media Note “Nothing” In The DNC Email Hack Shows The Primary Was Rigged
Slate: Leaked Emails Show DNC “Didn’t Seem To Have Very Many ideas At All For Meddling With Sanders’ Candidacy.” In an article titled “The DNC’s Leaked Emails Show It Had No Idea How to Rig an Election,” Slate’s Jordan Weissmann noted, “Rather than proving that the primary was deviously rigged by Clinton's cronies—as many Sandernistas clearly believe—the Wikileaks emails suggest the opposite.” Weissman explained that while DNC officials used their emails to offensively talk about Sander’s apparent atheism, the email leak amounts to “a bunch of cranky D.C. office drones dealing with and letting off some steam about a cantankerous campaign,” and wrote that “nothing has been found in the leaked batch of emails that rises to the level of ‘rigging’”:
Rather than proving that the primary was deviously rigged by Clinton's cronies—as many Sandernistas clearly believe—the Wikileaks emails suggest the opposite. The party didn't seem to have very many ideas at all for meddling with Sanders' candidacy. And the ones they cooked up were weak and quickly forgotten.
Consider the most damaging news to come out of the leak. One DNC official seems to have floated the concept of trying to make an issue of Sanders' apparent atheism, in order to hurt his standing with Southern Baptists in states like Kentucky. This was a deeply offensive idea. It also seems to have gone nowhere. In May, meanwhile, the DNC national press secretary suggested “pushing a narrative” that Sanders “never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess.” This was meant to push back against the charge that there was a DNC conspiracy against against him in the first place. But in any event, as ABC News notes, the idea was quashed.
We're reading a bunch of cranky D.C. office drones dealing with and letting off some steam about a cantankerous campaign.
Again, on balance, this is all a bad look for the DNC. But it's not vote tampering. The worst ideas seem to have been scotched. It's always possible the real malfeasance was plotted offline. But nothing has been found in the leaked batch of emails that rises to the level of “rigging.” [Slate, 7/25/16]
Wash. Post: “Clinton Didn’t Just Win Superdelegates, She Won Pledged Delegates” And Raw Votes Too. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump noted that the narrative that Clinton won because of a rigged primary process is “unwarranted” and false, because “Clinton didn't just win superdelegates, she won pledged delegates … by a wide margin.” Bump wrote, “Hillary Clinton is not the nominee because of superdelegates. She is the nominee because a majority of her party wanted her to be”:
It is true that Hillary Clinton needs superdelegates' votes to get a majority of those available at this week's convention. It is simultaneously true that if you eliminated all superdelegate votes right at this moment, that Clinton would beat Sanders by nearly 400 delegates. After all, Clinton didn't just win superdelegates, she won pledged delegates — those delegates divvied up based on the results in a states — by a wide margin, too. For contrast, Barack Obama had only about 130 more pledged delegates than Clinton going into the convention in 2008.
As we noted in April, even if you change the rules on how superdelegates work (which is in the cards), Clinton still wins. If you divvy up the superdelegates in each state at the same proportion as the pledged delegates were divvied up, Clinton has a 65-delegate lead there, too. That's smaller than her existing superdelegate lead, but it doesn't make any difference in the outcome.
There are plenty of questions that can be asked about nearly every aspect of the past 12 months, on both sides of the aisle. But Hillary Clinton is not the nominee because of superdelegates. She is the nominee because a majority of her party wanted her to be. [The Washington Post, 7/25/16]
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver: Clinton Won “Her Party’s Nomination By Every Available Measure.” FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver wrote on June 7, “Clinton will be the Democratic nominee because substantially more Democrats have voted for her.” Silver added, “The Associated Press declared Clinton to be the presumptive Democratic nominee” because she had obtained “exactly the number [of pledged delegates] needed to win the nomination”:
It’s an emblematically annoying ending to the Democratic campaign, one that reflects both the acrimony between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and the fact that Clinton, in the end, is winning her party’s nomination by every available measure.
At 8:20 p.m. EDT on Monday night, The Associated Press declared Clinton to be the presumptive Democratic nominee based on her having accumulated 1,812 elected (pledged) delegates and 571 superdelegates, for 2,383 total delegates, exactly the number needed to win the nomination. In the overwhelming likelihood that Clinton’s nomination is confirmed at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next month, she will officially become the first woman nominated for president by a major American political party.
But Sanders’s statement — and the AP’s call — distract from the larger point. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee because substantially more Democrats have voted for her. In addition to her elected delegate majority, she’s received approximately 13.5 million votes so far in primaries and caucuses, compared with 10.5 million for Sanders.
There are not many plausible arrangements under which Sanders would have become the Democratic nominee. He’s been aided by caucuses, which have much lower voter participation. He’d trail even if all states had open primaries, which are generally favorable to Sanders. If the Democratic race were contested under Republican rules, with no superdelegates but winner-take-all delegate allocations in states such as Florida and Ohio, Clinton would have clinched the nomination long ago. Clinton has won in those states where the turnout demographics most closely resemble those of the Democratic Party as a whole. [FiveThirtyEight, 6/7/16]