CNN and Fox News Get

Health Care Ruling Wrong

We’ve all heard about this by now; it’s certainly not a secret, as much as both networks would like to forget about it. Well here are the facts presented in a timeline of June 28th (verified by Poynter, NYT, SCOTUS blog, and personal observances). Read an in depth account of what happened on the SCOTUS blog.

DISCLAIMER: This post focuses on CNN because that is the network I watch. I apologize for my partisanship.

10:06AM – Chief Justice John Roberts concludes his announcement of the rulings of the Affordable Care Act and two other remaining cases for the term. The Court’s press room staff hands out the decision to reporters.

10:07AM – CNN producer scans decision and eight lines from the bottom of page 2 reads, “Chief Justice Roberts concluded in Part III-A that the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.” In conference call, the producer says it “looks like” the mandate has been struck down. He tells the control room to “go with it.” Bloomberg issues an alert: Obama’s healthcare-overhaul upheld by U.S. Supreme Court.” Bloomberg is first, and correct.

10:08AM On air, CNN’s reporter outside the court, Kate Bolduan, reports the mandate has been struck down. Banners on air as well as on CNN’s homepage declare the mandate invalid. CNN’s official Twitter account as well as employees’ accounts report the mandate has been struck down. Meanwhile, SCOTUS blog says the mandate survives as a tax.

10:09AM – The network sends an email stating, “The Supreme Court has struck down the individual mandate for health care – the legislation that requires all to have health insurance.”

10:11AM – CNN realizes confusion and replaces the incorrect banner with “Supreme Court Rules on Obamacare.”

10:13AM – CNN now alone in telling audience the mandate has been struck down.

10:15AM – CNN team says the mandate “may have been upheld,” seconds later making another error and saying the “entire law has been upheld.”

10:18AM – The network sends out another email stating, “Correction: The Supreme Court backs all parts of President Obama’s signature health care law, including the individual mandate that requires all to have health insurance.”

 10:19AM – CNN publishes it’s formal correction.

Reactions on Twitter:

Anthony De Rosa: CNN is wrong.

Lisa Desjardins: Um. Trying to find the most appropriate way to express this. Perhaps #%*@! And I am mortified about passing  on bad info. Deep apologies.

Lisa Desjardins: Jon Stewart, YOU are having a big day.

Dan Gardner: This is historic! CNN has just delivered the Twitter generation’s “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Seth Borenstein: AP, NBC, Scotusblog all say Obama health care law upheld, CNN dead wrong for more than 6 mins; too bad they dropped AP; could have helped.

Beth Fouhy: Dear CNN – Perhaps you should reconsider your decision to drop the AP. Just sayin’

UConnJournalism: The loser wasn’t the one who was last, it was the ones who got it wrong trying to be first.


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