ABC and CBS Spike Ohioans Rejection of ObamaCare Mandate, NBC Sees Voter Call for ‘Restraint’

Conservatives had some significant victories in Tuesday’s scattered elections across the country, but the broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night – with the exception of one topic on NBC – decided to only highlight, as did the morning shows earlier in the day, setbacks for conservatives.

“Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed measure that limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted of the measure which won by 61 to 39 percent, but neither he nor ABC’s Diane Sawyer informed viewers a ballot measure which will bar ObamaCare’s mandate won by an even more overwhelming 66 to 34 percent.

The Columbus Dispatch reported the initiative “was approved by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, winning in every county....Issue 3 adds an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution stating that ‘no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.’”

All three Wednesday night newscasts pointed out the defeat in Mississippi of the “Personhood” initiative while Sawyer added in a third conservative loss -- “Over in Arizona, voters recalled the architect of that state’s tough immigration law” – as she argued “the message last night seemed to be that voters are not that interested in ideological showdowns at a time when their number one concern is coming together to create jobs.”

On NBC, Chuck Todd, unlike Sawyer and Pelley, acknowledged how Ohioans “rejected, symbolically, the idea of getting involved in the federal government mandate on health care.” Citing the two Ohio votes and the abortion vote in Mississippi, Todd asserted “the one thing they had in common is that voters were calling for restraint.”

None noted the big Republican gains in Virginia’s House of Delegates and takeover of the commonwealth’s Senate chamber, nor two wins in Mississippi for conservatives where, National Review’s John Hood noticed, voters gave “overwhelming approval to statewide measures that end the abuse of eminent domain for economic development and that require a photo ID to vote.”

Wednesday morning: “Networks Cheer ‘Big Victory’ for Unions in Ohio, Ignore Rejection of ObamaCare Mandate

From the Wednesday night, November 9 newscasts:

Diane Sawyer, on ABC’s World News:

And now politics. Votes have been counted, election results from last night are in on some important issues. There was a big surprise in Mississippi, where that hotly debated proposal that was a law that would have defined life as beginning at the moment of fertilization was soundly defeated. Passage would have outlawed all abortions in the state.

And in Ohio, voters lifted a curb on bargaining rights, freeing up union activity among public employees. And over in Arizona, voters recalled the architect of that state’s tough immigration law, Senate President Russell Pierce. The message last night seemed to be that voters are not that interested in ideological showdowns at a time when their number one concern is coming together to create jobs.

Scott Pelley, CBS Evening News:

There were state and local elections all over America yesterday. Voters in Mississippi rejected the so-called ‘Personhood Initiative,’ which said that life begins at fertilization and would have outlawed abortion from that moment. And in a victory for unions, Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed measure that limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers.

Chuck Todd, NBC Nightly News, responding to a request from Brian Williams for an election result summary:

I tell you, there was a way to string them together from Ohio to Mississippi in that the one thing they had in common is that voters were calling for restraint. In Ohio, there was two ballot measures of interest there. One having to do with whether public sector workers could collectively bargain. That was a law that was passed. Well, voters rejected it in a big way, but those same voters also rejected, symbolically, the idea of getting involved in the federal government mandate on health care. Again, a message of restraint.

Then you had Mississippi, that Personhood Amendment which would have not only outlawed abortion but might have actually outlawed some forms of birth control or even access to in-vitro fertilization. Again, the message voters sent there, Brian, restraint. Don’t go too far. So, there was a thread of connection.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center