Media criticism of the current GOP health care bill has been swift, but ObamaCare’s rollout was met with unified and resounding support from these same networks.
In his report on NBC Nightly News on March 7, correspondent Tom Costello included a clip of a George Washington University professor who claimed that “The losers in this are lower income people who need financial assistance to be able to buy coverage that’s affordable for them.”
On the CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported that “Democrats argue older, lower-income Americans will hate it more than anyone. Some of them could see their ObamaCare credits cut in half, Scott [Pelley], even as the wealthiest Americans enjoy a series of tax cuts under this plan.”
In stark contrast, 8 years ago, ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson was all but campaigning on air for Obamacare. On ABC World News, March 1, 2009, Johnson decried the lack of universal health care as a “national shame” that was so great it could “unite Democrats and Republicans” and propel Obama’s plan to victory.
Back on April 24, 2007, on Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts remarked without criticism that Johnson had promoted a precursor to Obamacare, introduced by the late Senator Ted Kennedy as “bold and politically brilliant.” On October 19 of the same year, Johnson asked then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "Do you think the Republicans who are against [universal health care] are immoral?"
After a White House forum promoting Obamacare, Johnson told former-ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson that he “was blown away by President Obama's grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script.”
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And Johnson was far from being alone in his shameless promotion of this liberal policy. On May 12, 2009, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith wished President Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, “good luck” on implementing the administration’s healthcare plan, at the end of a softball interview where he allowed her to promote it.
On the CBS Evening News on March 6, 2009, Chief White House Correspondent Chip Reid hyped how President Obama “invited people representing all side of the health care debate, including ordinary Americans. He says he learned the lessons of the health care reform failure of 15 years ago when then First Lady Hillary Clinton worked behind doors and put together a plan full of mandates.”
On March 5, 2016, NBC Nightly News displayed “Fixing Health Care” on screen before then-reporter and now Meet the Press host Chuck Todd appropriated the coach who inspired “win one for the Gipper” by touting how “the President's drive to pass health care got a Knute Rockne-like boost with a surprise appearance” – by Senator Ted Kennedy.
This media promotion of Obamacare continued throughout his presidency, while state exchanges failed and premiums skyrocketed. By the end of August 2016, the MRC found that the evening shows on ABC and NBC still hadn’t reported on any of Obamacare’s failures, while CBS Evening News only reported on them for a combined 2 minutes and 18 seconds all year.