Why Clinton’s non-concession speech shouldn’t have been a surprise

Tuesday night, Senator Obama clinched the Democratic party’s nomination for President of the United States, and Senator Clinton announced she was going to take some time to figure out what’s next.

While the speech was in bad taste and has been very poorly received since, we should have seen it coming.

See, even though Senator Obama had been the frontrunner since January, you’d never know it listening to the media. Although Senator Obama took and maintained a significant lead in the delegate count – the only count that matters in a mixed primary process – reporters composed an alternate narrative. They kept Clinton very much in the mix up until the absolute possible moment by entertaining every ludicrous rules-bending, game-changing strategy her campaign threw on the table.

So when Senator Clinton lost – really lost – on Tuesday night, it should have come as little surprise to anyone paying attention that she refused to admit defeat. Mathematically, the race had been over for quite some time, and yet it hadn’t mattered. The Clinton camp got a pass at every turn. Why should Tuesday have been any different?

We’ll know tomorrow what’s next, but I don’t think putting Clinton on the ticket is a good idea for a variety of reasons, not the least of which her campaign has come to represent everything we should despise about politics – the lying, cheating, stealing ends-justify-the-means mentality. I feel we’ve got a real shot to turn it all around without the drag of the past hanging like an albatross around the neck of the party.

But that aside, today we’ve got blame to cast beyond the Clinton camp. Journalists need to take responsibility for what happened Tuesday night. Like a lax parent who never says no and is then somehow surprised when his kid misbehaves, the media needs to evaluate its role in allowing Senator Clinton to get to a place where she could stand in front of the nation and ignore reality. To accept and deliver the words she did Tuesday night, Clinton had to believe she still had a chance. She had to believe there was some game left to play, some angle left to manipulate.

And who could blame her? It worked for so long that there was no reason to suspect it wouldn’t again. I’m all for telling both sides of a story, but not every story has two sides. Sometimes the math adds up, and the number’s not negotiable. The media had a responsibility to hold Clinton accountable months ago, and it failed.

started on-air as a sports reporter in Hagerstown, Md and was a one-woman-band - shooting, writing, editing, and working the teleprompter with my foot. I moved to NYC in 1999 and joined Pseudo.com - the world's first interactive TV network. Pseudo died Sept 2000, and the following years were filled with a series for Discovery International, a pilot for the History Channel, a pilot for the Travel Channel, and countless auditions. Client feedback research for a big investment bank paid the bills. In 2004, I took a gig with Kuma and made news reports for their reality-based video games. CNN called February 2005, and on Valentine's Day, I started covering the Internet as a beat on national TV. I left cable news in 2007, started this site, wrote a little for Americablog, and threw down the gauntlet. I said I'd leave TV to help fix health care if someone was taking a real stab at it. Someone was. I became the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now. That was June 2008, and almost 2 years later - on March 25, 2010 - we won health care reform. I am currently at liberty.

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