'Daily Show' Notices Gruber Scandal Before 'NBC Nightly News'

While NBC Nightly News has failed to mention Jonathan Gruber's scandalous comments about ObamaCare for eleven days, Comedy Central's fake newsman Jon Stewart devoted eight minutes to the controversy on The Daily Show Tuesday night.  

After playing various clips of Gruber crediting passage of the health care law on the "stupidity of the American voter," Stewart went a step further by playing a 2006 soundbite of then-Senator Barack Obama hailing Gruber as one of the "brightest minds" at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

Other media clips detailed Gruber's central role as the architect of ObamaCare. Stewart joked: "The White House cafeteria has a sandwich now called the 'Gruberger.' The President of the United States has a necklace, it is a broken medallion. The other half of that medallion resides on the person of one John Gruber."

Stewart concluded: "...the Democratic leadership told us that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act was not a tax, even though they knew it was a tax. That's pretty slimy. I guess all they can do now is go before the American people and say, 'Alright. We mislead you. It was for the greater good'..."

He then mocked the desperate Democratic effort to disavow Gruber:

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [REPORTER, NOVEMBER 13]: We have news here in the past few days about some of the comments made by Mr. Gruber.

NANCY PELOSI: I don't know who he is.

[LAUGHTER]

STEWART: Can you ever not, not disappoint us? You don't know who he is.

PELOSI [NOVEMBER 5, 2009] Our bill brings down rates. I don't know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT's analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo.

STEWART: Whoever that guy is.

CBS Evening News first covered Gruber on Thursday, while ABC's World News Tonight didn't notice the story until Tuesday. Neither of those reports highlighted the past statements from Obama and Pelosi praising Gruber – soundbites that Stewart promoted.

In October of 2013 – at the same time Gruber was deriding stupid Americans – Republican Congressman Sean Duffy scolded MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell over NBC's poor ObamaCare coverage, noting that The Daily Show was doing a better job of holding the administration accountable for the controversial law:

REP. SEAN DUFFY [R-WI]: I mean, one issue we have is the media won't even ask the question about, "Why are you treating families different than big businesses?" You need Jon Stewart on Comedy Central to ask Secretary Sebelius, "Hey, why won't you treat these two equally?" And she can't answer it. I mean, that's how pathetic I think news reporting has become, when we won't ask tough questions to the administration...."Why do you want your own health care and you won't join us in ObamaCare?" That question I haven't seen anybody ask on MSNBC. Please ask it, because they don't have a good answer for it. But in regard to actually-

MITCHELL: Well, I think the response would be – the response that Kathleen Sebelius gave to Jon Stewart was, "If we had gotten what we wanted, which was a single-payer plan, this wouldn't be the problem."

DUFFY: That's right, you say, "I think this is what they would say," but you don't know what they would say because you haven't asked. And that's one of the problems we have here....We're just saying treat individuals and families like big business and have Obama go into ObamaCare. That's it. No one asked that question but Jon Stewart. I think the media should start doing its job.

Here are excerpts of the November 18 Daily Show segment:

11:02 AM ET

JON STEWART: I bet all anyone in Washington D.C. will be talking about is the amazing success of ObamaCare.

SCOTT PELLEY [NOVEMBER 13 CBS EVENING NEWS]: All anyone in Washington is talking about is a tape that emerged recently of an ObamaCare consultant telling folks what he really thinks of the Americans buying the insurance.

STEWART: Oooh, I bet he thinks they're really neat.

[LAUGHTER]

STEWART: Actually they're referring to ObamaCare consultant John Gruber....So what did this guy say about ObamaCare?

JONATHAN GRUBER [OCTOBER 30, 2012]: It's a very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.

GRUBER [OCTOBER 4, 2013]: They proposed it and that passed. Because the American voters are too stupid to understand the difference.

(...)

GRUBER [OCTOBER 17, 2013]: This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever. But basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.

[LAUGHTER]

STEWART: Holy [bleep]! So this guy Eddie Deezen – I mean Gruber. This guy says that the American people were purposely mislead about ObamaCare. Well, let me ask another question. Who the [bleep] is he? Probably a complete peripheral player.

BARACK OBAMA [APRIL 5, 2006]: You've already drawn some of the brightest minds from academia and policy circles. Many of them I've stolen ideas from liberally. People ranging from Robert Gordon to Austan Goolsbee to John Gruber.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL [MSNBC'S THE LAST WORD, OCTOBER 12, 2011]: He attended five of the twelve meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the President.

WYATT ANDREWS [CBS EVENING NEWS, NOVEMBER 13]: When the bill was being written, the administration paid Gruber almost $400,000 for technical advice on drafting the law.

STEWART: The White House cafeteria has a sandwich now called the "Gruberger." The President of the United States has a necklace, it is a broken medallion. The other half of that medallion resides on the person of one John Gruber. This is the President and John Gruber talking about ObamaCare over lunch.

[PHOTOSHOP OF OBAMA AND GRUBER EATING A STRING OF SPAGHETTI TOGETHER]

[LAUGHTER]

STEWART: So – I don't want to tell you how that ends. So the Democratic leadership told us –  the Democratic leadership told us that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act was not a tax, even though they knew it was a tax. That's pretty slimy. I guess all they can do now is go before the American people and say, "Alright. We mislead you. It was for the greater good"....Also, I think the Democrats can now come clean about how the bill was sold and Mr. Gruber's involvement in that process. Or...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [REPORTER, NOVEMBER 13]: We have news here in the past few days about some of the comments made by Mr. Gruber.

NANCY PELOSI: I don't know who he is.

[LAUGHTER]

STEWART: Can you ever not, not disappoint us? You don't know who he is.

PELOSI [NOVEMBER 5, 2009] Our bill brings down rates. I don't know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT's analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo.

STEWART: Whoever that guy is. So, that's pretty lousy, politically. But Gruber still isn't doing any structural damage to the act. Unless in one of his caught-on-tape ramblings he said something that hacked away at ObamaCare's actual inner workings.

GRUBER [JANUARY 10, 2012]: Through a political compromise, the decision was made that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges. And the health insurance exchanges are the centerpiece of this reform.

GRUBER [JANUARY 18, 2012]: If you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits.

STEWART: Oh, boy. Gruber here seems to be suggesting that the law only provides subsidies to lower income individuals to help them pay for their insurance through state exchanges, not the federal exchange. And since the federal exchange covers thirty-six states, that would effectively scrap the affordable part of the Affordable Care Act.

But here's the thing, that's if you look at just one clause and ignore the rest of the law. Because the ACA also says that when states fail to step up and create the required exchanges, the federal government, quote, "...shall...establish and operate such Exchange within the state..." And according to a bipartisan group of nearly fifty experts in health economy, "Nothing in the record suggests that Congress intended the economically disastrous approach of dramatically limiting subsidies only to participants of the state exchanges."

So really it's a matter of interpretation. Either the law intends for the federal government to provide subsidies through state exchanges or Congress intentionally wrote a bill designed to kill itself. And sure, Congress sucks, but they can't suck that bad.

So to the Republicans, you've tried to kill this law every which way. 50,000 congressional repeals, defunding threats, lawsuits up the wazoo – which by the way, fully covered now under ObamaCare.

[LAUGHTER]

But you keep trying. And now your best remaining move, the strongest card in your deck, looks to be the Gruber. Well, good luck getting somebody to take up a federal case on the off-handed and somewhat dickish comments of some MIT egghead.

DOUG MCKELWAY [FNC'S SPECIAL REPORT, NOVEMBER 12]: The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to ObamaCare next year that could invalidate federally operated exchanges in thirty states.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [MSNBC'S NEWSNATION]: Opponents of the law, you know, really seized on Gruber's comments even though they were made a year ago. And they're going to use that in the Supreme Court.

STEWART: Well, in the words of a previous Supreme Court case [bleep] [bleep] [bleep] [bleep], and tits. We'll be right back.

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