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ABC, CBS Acknowledge Obama's 'Broken Promise,' But Knock Americans' 'Sub-Par Insurance'

ABC and CBS on Thursday and Friday reacted to Barack Obama's health care apology by acknowledging his "broken promise." At the same time, both networks attempted to spin the NBC interview with qualifiers on the millions of Americans who will be losing their health insurance. After explaining what the President originally insisted and then showing his apology,CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley justified, "The plans are being canceled because they don't meet the minimum standards of the President's health insurance law. That's something that was always in the legislation." [MP3 audio of ABC and CBS montage here.]

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos opened the program on Friday by announcing, "Broken promise. The President says he's sorry." Jon Karl noted that the apology is "for the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, despite [Obama's] repeated promise over and over again that nobody would lose their insurance." However, he then shifted into spin mode.

Karl sympathetically related, "The President pointed out that those insurance policies that are being canceled are what he called sub-par insurance."

The journalist added, "And he pointed out that once the website is up and running fully, people will be able to find better alternatives, many of them for less money."

Karl interpreted, "...This was an apology, but it was an apology with caveats."

On Friday's CBS This Morning, Jeff Glor summarized the last month as the "health care debacle."

Major Garrett offered:

MAJOR GARRETT: Well, good morning, everybody. Inside the White House this week, the President and his top advisers debated how to handle the obvious glaring discrepancy between what the President repeatedly said about insurance plans – you remember – 'if you like it, you can keep it' – and the reality of those on [the] individual market losing their coverage. Some in the White House urged the President to apologize. In an interview yesterday, the President did – at least partially. He did not apologize for what he said, but for what's been happening.

ABC's handling of the disastrous roll-out of ObamaCare shown some consistency. On October 30, Jim Avila noted that some Republicans see the President's broken promise as a "lie." But he parroted White House talking points that Americans would only be losing "cheap, underperforming insurance."

A transcript of the November 8 GMA segment is below:

7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Broken promise. The President says he's sorry. Why he's apologizing right now for people losing health insurance, pledging the government will do everything it can to help millions, now, in a tough position.

7:04

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to Washington. Two major stories there today. That new apology from President Obama on health care and a possible breakthrough on negotiations to contain Iran's nuclear program. ABC's Jon Karl and Martha Raddatz here with more on that. And Jon let me begin with you and that presidential apology for a broken promise.

ABC GRAPHIC: President Obama Apologizes: "Sorry" for Those Who Lost Insurance Plans

JON KARL: That's right, George. You know, you almost never see – hear a President say "I am sorry" and Barack Obama is no exception to that. And this apology was not so much for the problems with the website, but for the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, despite his repeated promise over and over again that nobody would lose their insurance.

BARACK OBAMA: I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.

KARL: Now, despite the apology, the President pointed out that those insurance policies that are being canceled are what he called sub-par insurance. And he pointed out that once the website is up and running fully, people will be able to find better alternatives, many of them for less money. So, George, this was an apology. But it was an apology with caveats.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The House is going to vote next week on a bill that would block any attempt to take away those policies from people who have them. White House reaction to that?

KARL: White House has made it clear they do not see a need for a legislative fix. They want no bill here. They say they will work within the current system.

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.