Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cable Networks Jumped the Gun on ObamaCare Ruling: 'The Supreme Court Has Struck Down the Individual Mandate'

I woke up a little before 8:00am Pacific Time. When I turned on the TV the folks CBS Morning Show were talking about something besides the Supreme Court. I think the volume was down but it was a variety feature so I started surfing around. Both CNN and Fox were at commercial breaks, but then MSNBC was talking about the ruling, although they didn't have any banner headlines or anything. I started saying to myself, "Okay, WTF is going on here?" Then I went downstairs to put on a pot of coffee, and when I came back up CNN and Fox were reporting that the Court had upheld ObamaCare. But Megyn Kelly looked confused at Fox News, and that's not like her. I didn't go online until after I got my coffee, so I was getting my news just from the cable networks. And frankly, I felt like I wasn't getting good information. That was just around 11:00am Eastern Time, so it would have been about an hour since the decision was announced.

In any case, that's what happened with my morning channel surfing. As I've said many times now, I get my news by blogging and it was no exception today. I found out that both CNN and Fox News botched the initial reports from the Supreme Court by checking over at some of my regular YouTube channels. Imagine that. Partisan outlets like Talking Points Memo turn out to be a better place to get accurate updates than the networks themselves. Watch TPM at the link: "Fox, CNN Jump the Gun On Health Care Ruling."

Plus, another video at Daily Beast, "Fox News Mourns the Supreme Court Obamacare Decision."

And here's this, from Buzz Feed, "CNN News Staffers Revolt Over Blown Coverage" (via Memeorandum):

News staffers at the cable network CNN, long the gold standard in television news, were on the verge of open revolt Thursday after CNN blew the coverage on the most consequential news event of the year.

As Chief Justice John Roberts began reading his decision on the future of President Obama's health care overhaul, the CNN team inside the courtroom jumped the gun, believing that Roberts was saying the individual mandate was unconstitutional and would be overturned.

A producer inside the courtroom, Bill Mears, communicated the information to a relatively junior reporter, Kate Bolduan, the face of the network's coverage outside on the courthouse steps.

Bolduan then reported, on air, that the invidual mandate was “not valid,” citing producer Mears.

“It appears as if the Supreme Court justices struck down the individual mandate, the centerpiece,” of the law, she said.

Bolduan, a 2005 graduate of George Washington University who previously worked for a local news station in North Carolina, was named the network's congressional correspondent last year.

The 29-year-old was also named one of Washington's 50 Most Beautiful people in 2011 by The Hill.

Moments after Bolduan spoke, the false story began to metastasize inside the network's online operation.

The erroneous breaking news was made into a chyron at the bottom of the screen. CNN also sent out a breaking news alert.

And a half dozen top on-air reporters and producers within the esteemed news organization told BuzzFeed they are furious at what they see as yet another embarrassment to a network stuck in third place in the cable news race, and torn between an identity as the leader in hard news and the success of their opinionated, personality-driven rivals, Fox News and MSNBC.

“Fucking humiliating,” said one CNN veteran. “We had a chance to cover it right. And some people in here don’t get what a big deal getting it wrong is. Morons.”
More at Memeorandum. I'm amazed at the colorful language.

See also Jeff Sonderman at Poynter, "CNN, Fox News err in covering today’s Supreme Court health care ruling" (via Mediagazer).

Expect updates...