Networks Promote President's ObamaCare Trash Talk, Leave Out Republican Soundbites
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama
slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory
lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening
and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP soundbite on the
topic. [Listen to the audio]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
On NBC Nightly News,
chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd teed up the President's
Republican-bashing: "Today the President was in a feisty mood against
his Republican foes." Obama sanctimoniously warned: "In the end, history
is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic
security. Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America's
progress or our people."
On CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Major Garrett noted that Obama had "reason to celebrate" before playing a clip of the President condemning ObamaCare opponents: "This law is doing what it's supposed to do. It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast. All of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand. I gotta admit, I don't get it."
In a news brief for Wednesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales paraphrased Obama: "President Obama says the law has not fixed the health care system but it has made it a lot better. He says there is no reason to go back, in a reference to Republican efforts to repeal the law."
Introducing a full report on CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose reported: "New White House figures show more than seven million Americans are enrolled this morning for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. President Obama says the number proves critics are wrong."
That set up a sound bite of the President mocking criticism of the law: "Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked. There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived. Instead this law is helping millions of Americans. And in the coming years it will help millions more."
All of the networks proceeded to offer brief rebuttals to Obama's ranting by mentioning "unanswered questions" about the ObamaCare enrollment figures. However, when it came to outlining Republican reaction to the law, reporters took it upon themselves to summarize the GOP position rather than actually give any air time to the President's opponents.
On World News, Karl noted: "For all the celebrating here at the White House, Republicans haven't backed off one bit. They argued again today that ObamaCare is killing jobs and causing premiums to rise." Though he still tried to soften that by claiming in the next sentence: "...when it comes to health care, this is the best day that Democrats have had."
On Nightly News, Todd remarked: "Now Republicans still believe an anti-ObamaCare message is a political winner for them this year."
CBS Evening News didn't even refer to Republican opposition. On This Morning, Rose pointed out: "Republicans are calling those enrollment figures fuzzy." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Bill Plante explained:
The battle over the Affordable Health Care Act [sic] is far from over. Republicans promise to continue their effort to repeal the law or dismantle it piece by piece. That is what the administration fears most if Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress next November.
And between now and November, the White House knows that it can't really expect much help from a lot of Democrats in the House and Senate who are running in places where the law is very unpopular. So the administration knows that the Republican message in the fall will be ObamaCare doesn't work, and they are hoping that it'll become so accepted that the repeal is not politically possible.
ABC's Good Morning America didn't cover ObamaCare at all on Wednesday.
ABC was the only network to actually interrupt afternoon programing on Tuesday to cover Obama's Rose Garden event live. After the President spiked the football on ObamaCare, GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos and political analyst Matthew Dowd told Republicans to let Obama do "a little bit of dancing in the end zone" and "have the touchdown."
— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.