Lamar Smith Column: National Media Failing the American People on ObamaCare, IRS Abuse Stories

August 20th, 2013 1:11 PM

The thought of ObamaCare makes many Americans uneasy. The American people know that this overhaul of the health care system drives up the cost of health care, undermines the doctor-patient relationship and vastly expands the role of the federal government.

The national media’s coverage of the health care reform law has been anything but balanced. From the onset, the media have used emotional, anecdotal stories to help sell Obamacare. Newspapers have buried polls deep within their pages that show a majority of Americans’ favor a repeal of the health care program. And many media outlets have refused to cover the recent setbacks to this major health care overhaul.

ObamaCare requires businesses to provide insurance to employees who work more than 30-hours a week. So what are businesses doing? Cutting back on the hours that their employees work. The effects of this are already taking place as over 75 percent of all the jobs created this year have been part-time. This hurts hardworking Americans who need a full-time job to pay their bills.

The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have attributed the increase in part-time hiring to ObamaCare. However, since the jobs report was released last January, the evening shows on the Big Three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) have all failed to report this connection. Instead, the networks have touted the proclaimed “economic recovery” and the recent “hiring surge.”

Last week, the administration announced that it would delay a provision in the health care law that caps how much individuals and families pay out-of-pocket for health care. The New York Times called this provision a “significant consumer protection” and stated that its delay, along with the delay of the employer mandate, “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law.” This was not newsworthy according to ABC and NBC as neither network covered this setback on their morning or evening programs. CBS did mention the delay but only briefly during its evening newscast.

This is not the only issue where the networks have failed to provide the facts to the American people. According to NewsBusters, the networks have offered little to no coverage of any new details pertaining to the IRS scandal. NewsBusters found that ABC hasn’t mentioned the IRS scandal since June 26th, NBC since June 27th and CBS since July 24th.

This is not because there haven’t been new details to surface since the IRS allegedly targeted conservative political groups. For example, since the networks last reported on the IRS scandal, Federal Election Commission (FEC) Vice Chairman Don McGhan revealed that “he has seen numerous undisclosed e-mails between FEC staffers and the Internal Revenue Service that raise new questions about potential collusion between the two federal agencies in the alleged targeting of conservative political groups.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly tried to downplay and even dismiss the IRS scandal as being “phony.” There is nothing “phony” about an abuse of authority and violation of trust by IRS officials. Targeting of organizations or individuals for their political views threatens our democracy. The media should provide all the facts and let the American people decide if the IRS’ actions are “phony.”

Americans deserve to hear objective coverage of today’s current events, especially on issues such as ObamaCare and the IRS, which could have a major impact on their lives. The American people need accurate information so that they can make educated decisions. Instead, the national media seem to be content with selectively reporting on the issues. We need to remind the media of their profound obligation to provide the American people with fair and balanced coverage of the news, not tell them what to think.