CBS Boosts White House's Final Push for ObamaCare Before March 31 Deadline
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below]
Anchor Charlie Rose briefly touched on the poor enrollment figures as he introduced Plante's report: "More than five million people signed up through the Affordable Care Act. That is about one million less than the administration's current goal of six million, and about two million less than the initial target of seven million." Rose's lead-in was an improvement upon fill-in anchor Anthony Mason's news brief on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, who omitted the original seven million target.
The CBS journalist first noted the "the President and his staff are in overdrive, working to get people signed up – particularly, young, healthy people – because their premiums are needed to offset the cost of care for the people who are older and sicker." Other than one clip of his question to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a recent press briefing, all of Plante's soundbites came from the President and top administration officials' efforts to promote ObamaCare:
BILL PLANTE (voice-over): President Obama promotes health care at every opportunity-
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from White House event): (audience applauds) Hello, everybody!
PLANTE: Including this screening Wednesday of a new film about Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.
OBAMA: Cuidadodesalud.gov – get on the website, spread the word.
PLANTE: It's all part of a multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled before the March 31 deadline – including supportive celebrity Tweets and videos-
LEBRON JAMES (from HealthCare.gov ad): I want to tell you about the health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
PLANTE: And a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough appeared on a Cleveland radio show to push a new sports-themed portal to HealthCare.gov.
DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF (from appearance on Sports Radio 92.3 "The Fan" in Cleveland, Ohio): Somebody's playing hoops and they blow out a knee or something. And then, all of a sudden, if you don't have health care, you're going to bankrupt yourself.
PLANTE: In order to meet its revised goals, the administration will need about a million more people to sign up before the end of the month. But it also needs a large number of young and healthy people. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (from press briefing): In order to reach them, we have to – you know, be creative. And that's what we've done.
PLANTE (on-camera): But are you suggesting that he doesn't need to worry about getting more young people to sign up?
CARNEY: No, no! I said that we're going to be working hard right up to the deadline.
PLANTE (voice-over): 'Being creative' means sitting down for interviews with everyone, from local news reporters-
OBAMA (from interview on KPHO-TV): We're always looking to cooperate at the state level-
PLANTE: To comedian Zach Galifianakis last week-
OBAMA (from "Funny or Die" Internet video): Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?
Near the end of the segment, Plante also highlighted how "today, the President goes on Ellen's daytime talk show for the first time since he was a candidate," and included footage of then-candidate Obama dancing on the daytime talk show in 2007. He also noted that "White House officials say that the President's appearance today on 'Ellen' is focused on convincing moms to get their young adult kids to sign up. They acknowledge here that they need young people, but they also claim that the insurance industry is comfortable with the balance of people getting new policies."
Co-anchor Norah O'Donnell then jokingly wondered if "that [Ellen] interview is via remote, right? Not in person – so, we probably won't see his dancing, will we?" The CBS correspondent replied, "it was done here. That's true." Apparently, CBS just can't get enough of awkward presidential dancing.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.