One bad call on Super Tuesday

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PBS’s NewsHour and NPR were among the news organizations that mistakenly named Sen. Hillary Clinton the winner in the Missouri Democratic primary on Super Tuesday. For their live election coverage, both organizations relied on the erroneous Associated Press projection that Sen. Clinton had won the race, explained pubcasting ombudsmen Michael Getler of PBS and Alicia Shepard of NPR in their most recent columns. “Obviously, we wish we hadn’t been among those using the incorrect call, but we have no independent resources for checking the numbers,” NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow tells readers of Getler’s column. “We talked about it on the air, saying we and other news orgs had called the state when it appeared Clinton had won with 96 percent of the vote counted,” wrote NPR’s Ron Elving, one of two political editors to sign off on the decision to call Missouri for Clinton, in an email to Shepard. She concludes that the goof had no effect on the outcome of Super Tuesday’s primaries, but a “concerned listener” who responded to Shepard’s column says it undermined NPR’s credibility.

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