MRC Study: Network TV Not Covering Obamacare Woes

Obamacare supporter rally

The three network evening news broadcasts are minimizing negative Obamacare news, according to a new Media Research Center study.

A new study from the Media Research Center finds that long before the saga of the missing Malaysian jet commandeered the airwaves, ABC, CBS and NBC had apparently decided that ObamaCare was not a worthy topic for their evening newscasts. MRC analysts reviewed each newscast (including weekends) from January 1 through March 24, 2014. The review found just 29 stories that mentioned ObamaCare; 12 of those were full reports, while the other 17 were short items (under 30 seconds in length) read by the news anchor, or passing references to the health care law in longer political stories.

During this time, the NBC Nightly News aired just a single full report on ObamaCare — a largely celebratory piece on January 1 about the start of what fill-in anchor Lester Holt called "a new era in health care in this country." Including that piece, Nightly News has only offered five minutes and five seconds of coverage of the health care law so far this year. For context, the total time of all news stories on the NBC Nightly News during the same period (excluding teasers and promos) is more than 24 hours, meaning NBC has spent barely one-third of one percent of its available evening news airtime talking about the health care law.

The other broadcast evening networks have hardly been more thorough. ABC’s World News has devoted just 6 minutes, 58 seconds to ObamaCare so far this year, while the CBS Evening Newsgave viewers 19 minutes, 21 seconds of coverage. Combined, that adds up to 31 minutes, 20 seconds, or approximately 0.72% of the total time devoted to news on the three evening broadcasts.

The three news stations have downplayed pessimistic enrollment statistics and studies showing that Obamacare will cost the economy jobs. The networks are also downplaying the numerous Obamacare delays that have gone into effect.

Additionally, the programs have failed to report on the thousands of victims of Obamacare that have seen denials and disruptions in care.

The study found that while the three major news networks are burying negative aspects of Obamacare, positive aspects are being hyped.

For example, all three networks covered the President Barack Obama’s appearance on the web comedy show "Between Two Ferns."