By Blake Neff
Within moments of the Associated Press (AP) announcing Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton’s foes on the Internet seized upon evidence that the announcement was the product of collaboration between Clinton’s campaign and the media.
At 8:20 p.m. Eastern time Monday night, the Associated Press tweeted out that, based on a combination of pledged delegates and promised superdelegate support, Clinton had amassed enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination. (RELATED: New Emails Show Press Literally Taking Orders From Hillary)
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 7, 2016
Very shortly afterwards, the Clinton campaign sent out an email featuring the tweet and thanking her supporters for the victory.
That’s where things get interesting. About an hour after the AP’s announcement, Los Angeles Times editor Christina Bellantoni noted that the images in Clinton’s email had the unusual title of “Secret Win.”
The images in this Clinton email are labeled “secret win.” pic.twitter.com/YR4uCdQTZv
— Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) June 7, 2016
Specifically, the full image name was “secret-win-V2-060416c_04.png.” Fans of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has refused to concede the race, quickly seized upon the image title, suggesting that “secret win” reflected a secret, coordinated effort between the Clinton campaign and the AP to announce Clinton’s victory just before the final Democratic primaries. Suspicion was further aroused by the “060416” part of the image name, which could represent the date June 4, 2016, and would imply the image celebrating Hillary’s win was created days in advance.
— Stardust (@Cold_Stare) June 7, 2016
Of course, that’s not the only interpretation possible for the image’s name. It could be short for “Secretary Win,” reflecting her old title as Secretary of State. It could be an incidental name, or even the name of an older photo that was saved over.
The AP has strongly defended its decision to label Clinton as the presumptive nominee, saying it was based on the laborious effort of calling up superdelegates and confirming their intentions.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.