The GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare is back before the Senate, and so too are the deceitful tactics employed by liberal reporters in their obvious effort to build opposition to the measure. Thursday evening’s newscasts on ABC and NBC each included one-sided stories about the fears of mothers of babies with high medical costs — but neither network told viewers that both of the women were activists, not random participants in the health care system.
NBC’s story by correspondent Kasie Hunt featured Theresa Bohannan, whose son has a rare heart defect, to suggest that the GOP plan could “devastate” her family. Hunt previously used Bohannan in a similar story back on July 27, but when NewsBusters’ Curtis Houck investigated, he quickly discovered that she was the star of an ad targeting Nevada’s GOP Senator Dean Heller.
In both the July 27 story, as well as the one that aired September 21, Hunt concealed Bohannan’s political activism — presumably to make her seem more sympathetic.
ABC’s September 21 story by correspondent Mary Bruce featured a similar anecdote from Samantha McGovern, the mother of a baby born prematurely. McGovern is also an activist, who participated in a Capitol Hill protest with her infant daughter posed in a stroller with the sign: “This Bill Is Dirtier Than My Diaper.”
A picture from that protest was posted in an ABCNews.com story posted about McGovern back in June. That story, however, included facts that Bruce decided not to share with viewers Thursday night, including that “McGovern works closely with March of Dimes, one of the many health care groups that came out against the bill,” and that “McGovern and her husband both have steady incomes and robust health insurance, which he receives for their family through his job with the federal government.”
Both mothers face difficult situations, and are entitled to their activism. But ABC and NBC have a duty to viewers to give them the full facts about each situation, as well as to represent those who would benefit from the new bill.
The one-sided stories on ABC and NBC Thursday night match the trend that Mike Ciandella and I uncovered this summer. Our study of all evening news coverage in June, July, and August found that the GOP push to repeal ObamaCare was given coverage equally as hostile (97% negative) as the President’s much-maligned statements about the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Here’s video of the relevant portions of the two segments, followed by partial transcripts of the segments:
# NBC Nightly News
September 21, 2017
KASIE HUNT: Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham insists their bill meets the ‘Jimmy Kimmel test,’ guaranteeing affordable coverage for people like Kimmel’s son Billy, born with a rare heart defect.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: So we’re going to give flexibility to cover sick people, but sick people will be covered.
HUNT: So who’s right? Theresa Bohannan would like to know. Her son Dean was also born with a rare heart condition.
THERESA BOHANNAN: It’s almost crazy to me that you not only have to worry about your child’s care, but you have to worry about, oh, my gosh, what are they doing in D.C. you know That could potentially impact us.
HUNT: The affordable care act made it illegal for insurance companies to deny sick people coverage. That ban would stay in place, but Obamacare also outlawed charging sick people dramatically higher premiums. And under this bill individual states could decide to change that.
SABRINA CORLETTE, Georgetown Univ. Center on Health Insurance Reforms: The state just has to say that it intends to maintain affordable adequate coverage. But it doesn’t have to say how it’s going to do it. It doesn’t have to provide any evidence at all that it will do it.
HUNT: That could devastate the Bohannan family. They’re already collecting donations to pay for their son’s coverage, just in case....
# ABC’s World News Tonight
September 21, 2017
MARY BRUCE: Tonight, the pressure is on for the Republican senators who will make or break the new health care bill. Watching closely from Virginia, mom Samantha McGovern. Her daughter Josephine was born at just 24 weeks. That’s considered a pre-existing condition. Her monthly health care costs $27,000. Samantha’s worried what happens if insurance stops covering that bill.
SAMANTHA McGOVERN: I want them to find a way to cover me and put it in the bill. Don’t leave it up to chance. Don’t leave it up to states. Don’t roll the dice and take the risk and take the gamble on my child’s life.
BRUCE: The bill does require states provide access to “adequate and affordable” health insurance, but those terms are not defined or guaranteed. States could allow insurers to charge some people with pre-existing conditions more.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I’m going to take the money that we would have spend on Obamacare in Washington and send it back home and let us do a better job with it.
BRUCE: But with far less money — by one new estimate, $160 billion less. Tonight, the opposition from medical groups, patient advocates and insurers is piling up....
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