CBS Touts Hillary’s Big Lead with Super-Delegates; Still ‘Made History’ Despite Close Finish

Tuesday’s CBS Evening News offered three segments recapping the results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses and in covering the Democratic side, touted Hillary Clinton as having “made history” despite the near-tie with socialist Senator Bernie Sanders plus how she’s already past 15 percent of her way to the nomination based on the superdelegates she’s already amassed. 

Anchor Scott Pelley declared right off the top that “Hillary Clinton made history today, though not the way she hoped” despite being “declared the winner of Iowa's Democratic caucuses by the small margin ever.”

Leading off her report on the Democrats, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes mentioned that the former secretary of state became “[t]he first woman ever to win the Iowa caucuses” but “by .2 of 1 percent.”  

Pelley picked up with more 2016 coverage after Cordes finished and was the only network reporter to note that Democrat Martin O’Malley and Republican Mike Huckabee dropped out of the 2016 campaign on Monday. 

Before going to Face the Nation host John Dickerson for analysis, Pelley sought to downplay both the close finish and Sanders’s big lead in New Hampshire by putting on screen the early delegate count with Clinton having already secured numerous superdelegates:

Clinton picked up 22 national convention delegates in Iowa. Sanders 21, but that’s a little misleading because Clinton already has 362 super delegates, party leaders who pledged their votes to her, that brings her now to 384 or about 16 percent of the 2,382 that she needs and after New Hampshire, the polls indicate the primaries are expected to break Clinton's way.

The relevant portions of transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on February 2 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
February 2, 2016
6:31 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Hillary Clinton made history today, though not the way she hoped. She was declared the winner of Iowa's Democratic caucuses by the small margin ever. Now, she faces a tougher battle against Bernie Sanders on his New England home turf next week.

(....)

6:33 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Race to the White House]

PELLEY: Now we go to the Democrats and here’s Nancy Cordes.

HILLARY CLINTON: I am so thrilled that I'm coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa. 

NANCY CORDES: The first woman ever to win the Iowa caucuses did it by .2 of 1 percent. [TO SANDERS] Senator Sanders, are you conceding the race in Iowa?

INDEPENDENT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (Vt.): That last that I saw we were four delegates down. As I understand it, there were some precincts actually where delegates were won with the flip of a coin. So we want to take a look a that. 

(....)

CORDES: In the end, 84 percent of young voters under the age of 30 went for Sanders but 58 percent of caucus-goers were 50 up and they went overwhelmingly for Clinton. The Granite State is rockier territory for Clinton. The latest CBS News battleground tracker shows Sanders leading in New Hampshire by 19 point. His Democratic socialist message plays well with the state's large independent population. 

SANDERS: It sounds to me like you're ready for a political revolution.

CORDES: Sanders also has something of a home field advantage here. He is from neighboring Vermont, but Clinton has deep tie here too, Scott. It is here that she staged a comeback eight years ago after a stinging floss Iowa.

(....)

PELLEY: Clinton picked up 22 national convention delegates in Iowa. Sanders 21, but that’s a little misleading because Clinton already has 362 super delegates, party leaders who pledged their votes to her, that brings her now to 384 or about 16 percent of the 2,382 that she needs and after New Hampshire, the polls indicate the primaries are expected to break Clinton's way.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center