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CBS Covers Oregon 'Pulling the Plug' on Health Exchange, But Omits 'Obama'; ABC, NBC Ignore

Friday's CBS Evening News was the lone Big Three evening newscast to spotlight how the State of Oregon decision to scrap its multimillion dollar health exchange website, and join the federal government's HealthCare.gov. ABC's World News was too busy covering violence over spots at mall parking lots to notice, while NBC Nightly News zeroed in on baby Prince George's first trip to Australia.

Scott Pelley underlined how "the State of Oregon said that after months of trying, it cannot get its state health insurance website to work. It hasn't signed a single customer, and it is pulling the plug. It is the first state to do that." Nancy Cordes pointed out the "$248 million failure," but didn't mention President Obama by name or ObamaCare as a term during her report. She merely made a vague references to the "federal" role in providing relief to the debacle: [MP3 audio available here; video below]

NANCY CORDES: Federal officials said today they would work with Oregon to make sure the state is ready for the next open enrollment period, which starts in November. Several other states –  including Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland – are all still trying to get their websites to work properly as well.

The correspondent led the segment by noting that "CoverOregon.com was supposed to launch six months ago, along with exchanges in the rest of the country....But today, the board of Oregon's exchange admitted defeat – voting unanimously to stop trying to fix the website." After highlighting the $248 million figure, she continued by documenting that "state health officials calculated it would have cost $78 million more to get the website working – compared to just $4 to $6 million to simply join 14 other states on the federal exchange."

Cordes later spotlighted how the Oregon state government is considering a lawsuit against Oracle, the main contractor for their dysfunctional health exchange website. She also pointed out that "with no online option, the state had to bring in 400 workers to process 70,000 paper applications."

Back on the July 28 2013 edition of CBS Evening News, correspondent Anna Werner acknowledged that ObamaCare may be a "tough sell" in the left-leaning northwestern state, and zeroed in on the hokey multi-million dollar campaign trying to get young people to sign up for its now-failed exchange.

The full transcript of Nancy Cordes's report from Friday's CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: Today, the State of Oregon said that after months of trying, it cannot get its state health insurance website to work. It hasn't signed a single customer, and it is pulling the plug. It is the first state to do that.

Here's Nancy Cordes.

[CBS News Graphic: "Pulling The Plug"]

NANCY CORDES (voice-over): CoverOregon.com was supposed to launch six months ago, along with exchanges in the rest of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: All in favor, please signify by saying aye. (panelists reply "aye")

CORDES: But today, the board of Oregon's exchange admitted defeat – voting unanimously to stop trying to fix the website. It is a $248 million failure, but state health officials calculated it would have cost $78 million more to get the website working – compared to just $4 to $6 million to simply join 14 other states on the federal exchange.

Border member Doctor George Brown conceded the website's design was too ambitious and too complex.

DR. GEORGE BROWN: Of course, we're very disappointed, and I think disappointment really describes it well. People have worked very hard to make this work.

CORDES: Still, the state is considering legal action against its website contractor – the tech giant, Oracle. In a statement, Oracle said it 'looks forward to providing any assistance the state needs in moving parts of Oregon's health care exchange to the federal system.'

With no online option, the state had to bring in 400 workers to process 70,000 paper applications. At the hearing today, one processor, Tom Haydn (spelling?), described the laborious procedure for enrolling Oregon residents.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: And we're talking about originally going through stacks of applications, about two and three inches thick, one at a time.

CORDES (on-camera): Federal officials said today they would work with Oregon to make sure the state is ready for the next open enrollment period, which starts in November. Several other states –  including Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland – are all still trying to get their websites to work properly as well, Scott.

PELLEY: Thanks, Nancy.

— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.