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Big Three Networks Mostly Mum About ObamaCare Setbacks

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.)

■ As for the one-year delay in ObamaCare’s promised cost caps: the CBS Evening News ran a full story on August 13; other than that, the broadcast networks have skipped that deficiency in the law, too.

■ On September 11 Big Labor came out against ObamaCare. Terry O'Sullivan, President of the Laborers' International Union of America, railed: “But we will be damned if we are going to lose our health insurance because of unintended consequences in the law. It needs to be changed. It needs to be fixed. And it needs to be fixed now.” Both CBS and NBC ignored the news. Only ABC mentioned Big Labor’s opposition offering just a 24-second brief, on September 12, from Good Morning America’s Josh Elliot who reported: “At its convention in Los Angeles, the AFL-CIO outlined flaws the group says that will drive the cost of union-sponsored health plans so high, workers and employers will both be forced to abandon them.”

— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.