Blackout: 140 Days Since ABC's 'Nightline' Has Covered ObamaCare
As of April 3, 2014, it's been 140 days since the once-vaunted Nightline covered ObamaCare or any of the problems associated with it. Instead, the ABC News program has mostly avoided hard news, focusing on tabloid-heavy topics such as a city in Brazil that has become known as the "model factory." [MP3 audio here.]
On Monday, the open enrollment for ObamaCare ended, the website had more problems and the administration announced seven million sign-ups. Rather then discuss this or question how many of those previously had health care and lost it, Nightline skipped these stories. It was way back on November 14, 2013 that journalists on the show covered ObamaCare. Twenty weeks of silence followed.
This week, what did Nightline cover instead? On Monday, Dan Harris trumpeted, "Tonight, inside the model factory. Now, everyone's rushing to cash in, from toddlers to teenagers." Gratuitous footage of women in skimpy outfits followed.
(On March 17, as the streak hit 17 and a half weeks, Harris looked at "bootleg but injections.")
On Tuesday, Harris teased, "Plus, modern gold rush. It's spring thaw. Time for an annual scramble for hidden treasure."
On Wednesday, he fretted, "Price of beauty. These knock off products may look like the real thing, but do you know what you're buying?"
Nightline reporters have covered some serious news topics.
On Tuesday, the show's journalists looked at the earthquake in Chile and the shooting at Fort Hood on Wednesday. Obviously, those are important stories, worthy of coverage.
But so is ObamaCare. Nightline was started during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 to inform worried Americans. Sadly, the program has sunk into a tabloid-obsessed imitation of Access Hollywood. What would founding anchor Ted Koppel think?
â€” Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.