Gruber Called a 'Household Name' in an LA Times Editorial, While the Paper Had No News Stories

Tuesday afternoon, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters observed that the Big Three networks "Appear Finished With Gruber Coverage," and that their Tuesday morning shows had no coverage of the de facto Obamacare architect and his Congressional appearance.

One factor likely influencing the nets' posture is how original news sources like the Associated Press and the nation's largest dailies have managed to shield their readers from almost anything relating to Gruber for weeks. One particularly comical example of that has been the Los Angeles Times.

A search at the Times on Gruber's name tonight (HT frequent commenter Gary Hall) returned 20 items. Seven of them are recent and relate to the MIT economist's characterization of American voters as "stupid." But only one of them is a hard news print story — and that one's from Tuesday. In other words, the Times didn't devote any reporting resources to Gruber until Noam N. Levey's rather cursory writeup following his Congressional hearing testimony.

One of the remaining six recent results is the 2-1/2 minute video found on the same web page as Levey's article. Three others are op-ed columns. A fifth contains two "Readers' Views" letters.

That takes us to the final remaining item, an official Times editorial published on November 18. It begins as follows (bolds are mine):

Economist Jonathan Gruber's Obamacare comments show his cynicism

Economist Jonathan Gruber has become a household name in the nation's capital and the media for saying that Democrats disguised unpopular provisions of the healthcare reform bill in order to win Congress' approval. Yet his comments didn't reveal anything about the substance of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that the public didn't already know. Rather, they betrayed Gruber's deep cynicism about the legislative process and the “stupid” American electorate. For someone who supposedly had a front-row seat, Gruber missed how well the months-long debate over the act conveyed what it would do and why.

Really, we can stop there.

So the Times told us that Gruber was "a household name in the nation's capital and the media" — but the paper, which fancies itself as national in scope and actually has a Washington bureau, hadn't yet devoted a single word to Gruber in a news story, and didn't get around to it until three weeks later.

As to the editorial's contention that there was a "months-long debate over the act," Nancy Pelosi disagreed at the time, telling a friendly audience just before the Affordable Care Act's passage that "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."

The Times's editorial board would have been better off not commenting at all about Gruber and merely having us believe they are all fools. Instead, they editorialized about something their own paper's hard-news reporters deliberately ignored and proved it beyond doubt.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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