Networks Ignore Ultra-Low Support for ObamaCare; CBS Hypes 'Surging' Website Visits
Friday's CBS Evening News picked up where the Big Three morning shows left off earlier in the day and trumpeted how "visitors have been surging to [HealthCare.gov] – about one-and-half million a day." Scott Pelley did give a bit of slightly bad news during his 16-second news brief, noting that "today, the ObamaCare website was taken down for about 20 minutes, to fix a problem that affected log-ins." [MP3 audio available here; video below]
However, the CBS evening newscast, along with Friday's NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News, glossed over the latest Associated Press poll, which found record-high disapproval of the controversial law: "[S]upport for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago...26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act." This omission continues a nearly three-month-long trend by the Big Three networks to paper over bad news about ObamaCare.
AP correspondents Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Dennis Junius played up the silver lining for the President in the third and fourth sentence of their article on the poll: "Yet even fewer — 13 percent — think it will be completely repealed. A narrow majority expects the law to be further implemented with minor changes, or as passed." Six paragraphs in, the journalists gave a further breakdown of the findings:
That central requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage or face fines remains highly unpopular. Forty-one percent said it should be completely repealed, about double the 19 percent who said it should remain in the law as passed. Obama, insurers, and most policy experts consider the so-called individual mandate essential to creating a big insurance pool that keeps premiums affordable.
Alonso-Zaldivar and Junius then pointed out that "the poll was taken before Thursday's announcement by the White House that new health insurance markets have surpassed the goal of 6 million sign-ups, so it did not register the potential impact of that news on public opinion. Open enrollment season began with a dysfunctional HealthCare.gov website last Oct. 1. It will end Monday at midnight EDT, on what looks to be a more positive note." The two later gave additional biased language:
Repealing the health care law is the rallying cry of Republicans running to capture control of the Senate in the fall elections. The Republican-led House has already voted more than 50 times to repeal, defund or scale back "Obamacare," but has been stymied in its crusade by Democrats running the Senate. Playing defense, Democrats are campaigning with a message of fixing the law to make it work better.
Instead of noticing the AP poll, the NBC Nightly News devoted almost two and a half minutes of air time to a report about the movie industry adjusting to how "the number of frequent movie-goers ages 18 to 24 plummeted 17 percent last year. The total amount of tickets sold in the last ten years has plunged 11 percent."
ABC's World News also set aside over two minutes to a segment on "bad behavior by mom and dads caught on tape," as the parents watch their children participate in sporting events. Correspondent Deborah Roberts zeroed in on a case out of Nassau County, New York, where an "angry mom out to settle the score" sent threatening letters to a neighbor, who coached a local Little League baseball team.
The transcript of Scott Pelley's news brief from Friday's CBS Evening News:
SCOTT PELLEY: Today, the ObamaCare website was taken down for about 20 minutes, to fix a problem that affected log-ins. Visitors have been surging to the site – about one-and-half million a day. Monday is the deadline to sign up for insurance under the President's health care law.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.