Topics: Obamacare

WaPo's misplaced media neutrality: Obama 'accused of breaking promise'?

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Barack Obama,Obamacare,The Washington Post,Media

One bad habit of our news media is the He-Said-She-Said problem. Following strict guidelines of neutrality, reporters and editors often refuse to pick a side in a dispute.

Today's example comes from the Washington Post, whose front-page story runs under the headline "Obama accused of breaking promise to consumers as health plans cancel policies."

The second paragraph has this line:

The notices appear to contradict President Obama’s promise that despite the changes resulting from the law, Americans can keep their health insurance if they like it.

Later, the piece reports:

While Republicans are insisting that the president misled the public about the effects of the law, others who are sympathetic to the administration said the seeming contradiction shows the difference between political talking points intended to sell a controversial law and the intricacies of the health policies that underlie it.

Here, the Post is pretending to see a mystery where there is no mystery.

President Obama repeatedly, clearly, emphatically, and even angrily insisted that "if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan, period." But people who liked their plans can't keep it. This is, objectively, inarguably, a broken promise.

If the notices announcing cancellation of plans "appear to contradict President Obama’s promise" it's because they do contradict President Obama's promise.

And "Republicans are insisting that the president misled the public about the effects of the law" because the president misled the public about the effects of the law.

President Obama knew at the time that this wasn't true. In fact, one aim of the law was to outlaw health plans that President Obama found inadequate, and the administration tailored grandfathering rules very narrowly.

But the Post reports it like it's a battle of two opposing legitimate arguments. It's not. One side is breaking promises that it never intended to keep. The other side is pointing that out.

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