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ABC 'World News' Spins For White House On Shutdown, ObamaCare

Monday night’s edition of ABC World News delivered a double dose of advocacy as Diane Sawyer and her team essentially served as a mouthpiece for President Obama’s position on the government shutdown and his health care law.

Sawyer led the broadcast with the government shutdown, which was then only a few hours away. She stated President Obama’s perspective on the matter: “The President expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.” But rather than follow that up with a Republican viewpoint, Sawyer threw to chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for a report on the shutdown. He began his package by playing a clip of Obama warning us all about the economic impact of a shutdown. [MP3 audio here.]

 

Karl then made sure to parrot the president’s position, just as Sawyer had done: “[President Obama] placed the blame entirely on conservative Republicans in the House who are demanding an end to Obamacare.” This was followed by the Obama sound bite that Sawyer had alluded to earlier.

At this point, there was still no mention of a Republican perspective. Karl summed up the bickering like this: “It's Washington dysfunction at its absolute worst: unreasonable demands, no negotiating, and lots of name calling.” At that point, Karl played a succession of three brief snippets of Democratic accusations against Republicans, while failing to show any Republicans accusing Democrats of anything.

Karl gave one nod to the Republican viewpoint near the end of his report, but it was far from flattering: “House Republicans, who have already voted 46 times to repeal all or parts of Obamacare, are still insisting that they won't fund the government, even temporarily, without at least some change to the law.” He at least played a sound bite from John Boehner, the only GOP sound bite in the report.

Minutes later, Sawyer introduced a segment on the president’s “historic” health care law: “[T]he president says he will not stop that other historic event about to take place tonight at midnight -- Obamacare. For the first time in the country, every American expected to have health insurance, 50 million uninsured will be able to start shopping tomorrow.

This was followed by a report from Paula Faris that featured several candid clips of ordinary Americans who were supposedly eager for ObamaCare’s arrival. These ordinary people all had questions and/or concerns, and Faris was there to play sales representative on the government’s behalf:

"Starting at midnight you can go on this website, Healthcare.gov, where you'll be able to shop around, compare plans and buy. Everyone regardless of age, gender, income or pre-existing condition will be able to get insurance."

Faris promised that ABC News would be there for all the people who had questions or concerns about ObamaCare:

"[T]omorrow we'll be tracking the process for these folks, walking them through it. Diane will be telling them exactly what questions they should be asking and just really helping them understand who they can trust throughout this process."

-- Paul Bremmer is an MRC intern.