Three of the nation's major newspapers downgraded ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber's testimony to the U.S. Senate, keeping it off the front page. The Washington Post placed Gruber, best known for assailing "stupid" Americans, on A-4. The New York Times on Wednesday demoted the story to page A-20.
After recapping Gruber's comments, Times writer Robert Pear related that the ex-aide argued:
I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act. The A.C.A. is a milestone accomplishment for our nation that already has provided millions of Americans with health insurance.
It wasn't until paragraph 15 that Pear offered in-depth coverage on Gruber's damage to the administration:
Though he strongly supports the health law, Dr. Gruber has made statements that appear to undercut arguments now being pushed by the Obama administration in court cases challenging the payment of premium subsidies in states using the federal insurance exchange. Under the law, the federal government provides a backstop if states fail to establish exchanges.
In contrast, the Times devoted the entire top half of the front page and four internal pages to the Senate's investigation of whether the CIA and George W. Bush tortured detainees.
USA Today trumpeted the Senate report on terrorism on the front-page, touting, "An Ugly Truth." The paper devoted the entire front page to the story, but only featured Gruber on A-3. However, unlike the Times and the Washington Post, USA Today writer Gregory Korte noted that it wasn't just Gruber who testified:
The committee also questioned Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for giving misleading enrollment numbers in previous testimony in September. Tavenner testified that 7.3 million people had signed up for health insurance on state and federal exchanges, but she acknowledged that the number included dental plans — therefore double-counting almost 400,000 subscribers.
The Washington Post put Gruber on the very bottom of page A-4. Writer Jose A. DelReal mainly focused on the contentious parts of the Gruber hearings:
The hearing featured several terse exchanges, which highlighted the lighting rod Gruber has become and the sharp partisan divisions surrounding the ACA.
"Are you stupid?" committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked at one point.
"I don't think so, no," said Gruber.
“So you're a smart man who said...some really stupid things,” said Issa.
“The comments I made were really inexcusable,” responded Gruber.
The networks have downplayed Gruber, too. NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night covered the ObamaCare architect 32 days after his "stupid" videos first surfaced.