Bizarro World: Ed Schultz Slams Journalists for Being Too Negative on ObamaCare
In the world that Ed Schultz lives in, journalists have just been too negative about ObamaCare, showering the President's law with insults. The MSNBC anchor on Tuesday theorized as to why the implementation of the health care law has been received so poorly: "I think that network reporters throughout the entire industry maybe caught in a dilemma that ObamaCare is so positive and going to have such a tremendous impact on American life and American society." [See MP3 audio here.] Later, he mocked the "crappy" insurance that many Americans are losing.
According to Shultz, these reporters "are having a hard time saying something nice about it or positive about it because they might be viewed as journalistically compromised." In a bizarre move, the host implicitly attacked his own liberal network as part of this conspiracy against Obama. The anchor included a clip of MSNBC's Willie Geist asserting, "White House officials were aware that between 40 to 67 percent of individuals will not be able to keep their policies."
MSNBC is in on this effort to derail ObamaCare?
In reality, far from attacking the Affordable Care Act, the networks Schultz mentioned have offered generous, positive coverage, hiding the negative aspects. An MRC study found:
With the ObamaCare exchanges set to take effect today, and polls showing the President’s health care law as unpopular as ever (a September 25 poll from CBS News/New York Times found 51% "somewhat" or "strongly" disapproved of the law), the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks have been reluctant to report the multiple fiascos surrounding its implementation:
On July 2 and 3, all three broadcast networks covered the one-year postponement of the ObamaCare employer mandate as a "surprising," "significant setback" for the President. But that was it for major coverage of that delay — apart from a few passing mentions in other stories, after July 3 the networks only discussed the employer mandate delay on the Sunday talk shows.
ABC and NBC still haven’t gotten around to telling viewers that the Obama administration had decided to delay until 2015 the requirement that people provide proof of their eligibility for federal subsidies (sort of like those no-document mortgages from a few years ago). The CBS Evening News gave that just 9 seconds on August 13, part of a round-up of delays with the law. [House Speaker John Boehner also brought this up, unprompted by moderator Bob Schieffer, on the July 21 Face the Nation.]
On August 1, Politico reported that the Office of Personnel Management had decided to issue new regulations this week to protect members of Congress and their staffs from seeing their health care premiums skyrocket. ABC and NBC have completely skipped this news, while CBS This Morning gave it a grand total of 18 seconds on Friday, August 2 (nothing on the Evening News.)
Schultz's rage came as he tried to rationalize and explain away Obama's repeated claim that "if you like your plan, you can keep it." According to the anchor, people are simply being " forced to upgrade to a plan with standards under the Affordable Care Act." He seethed, "Folks, this is about standards."
Speaking of people who are losing their health insurance, Schultz mocked, "These 14 million people that buy insurance on the individual marketplace, some of them are going to get these notices because they have, I can't use the S-word, they have crappy insurance."
A partial transcript of the October 29 segment is below:
ED SCHULTZ: You know, there is so much negativity right now that's taking place in the media. I find it absolutely amazing. It's almost as if we're afraid to say a positive statement about healthcare for millions of Americans. Let's start with the numbers tonight if we can. ObamaCare by the Gallup Poll was at 41 percent with the American people back in August. In October it was at 45 percent. It's gaining in popularity. The more we hear about it, the more people realize it. But I know we're fixated on websites right now.
You know what? I think that network reporters throughout the entire industry maybe caught in a dilemma that ObamaCare is so positive and going to have such a tremendous impact on American life and American society. It's setting the foundation for better changes in the future. I think that network reporters and people on TV are having a hard time saying something nice about it or positive about it because they might be viewed as journalistically compromised. They're not really showing a great deal of integrity if they say something positive about ObamaCare.
Here is the point. There are absolutes. And if you go to a free healthcare clinic and if you run into someone who hasn't seen a doctor for seven years and that person has stage four breast cancer, believe me, it will change you. All of that is going to be changed under ObamaCare, but in the meantime there's an awful lot of misinformation floating around television about ObamaCare these days. So let me just take a few minutes to set the record straight tonight. Let's start with perception about what America is going through. When I was in London last week, I tweeted out man on the street, a conversation in UK. Why does you media want health care to fail? Now, where in the world would they ever get that idea? Take a look at some of the reporting over the last few days.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Millions of people right now can't -- either holding their hands up in distress. Number one, because they're losing their insurance policies.
CHARLIE ROSE: More than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current health insurance policies.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And that is more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
WILLIE GEIST: He discovered the White House officials were aware that between 40 to 67 percent of individuals will not be able to keep their policies.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: The real problem is that people weren't told the truth. You can remember they were told that they would be able to keep their policies if they liked them.
SCHULTZ: Oh, lots of accusations floating around. Who's lying? Lots of numbers being thrown out there whether they're correct or not? Well let's get to the chase. Let's start tonight by giving you the Paul Harvey rest of the story. Fourteen million people in this country purchase insurance on the individual marketplace. If you purchase health insurance from an individual marketplace, there are no changes made to your plan if you can keep it. Amazing, isn't it? You're grandfathered in. Now, however, if your insurer, meaning the insurance company makes changes to your plan like changing a premium or deductible or you're plan is no -- and you're is no longer valid. OK, you would get a cancellation notice. And that's what's going on right now and be forced to upgrade to a plan with standards under the Affordable Care Act. Folks, this is all about standards. These 14 million people that buy insurance on the individual marketplace, some of them are going to get these notices because they have, I can't use the S-word, they have crappy insurance.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.