Networks Ignore Damning Report on ObamaCare Enrollment Problems

On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, all three broadcast news networks and the two largest Spanish language evening network newscasts refused to cover disturbing news regarding ObamaCare. Two audits from the Health and Human Services Department’s Inspector General found Tuesday that 2.6 million unresolved problems in the applications of those seeking health care on the federal marketplace (used in 36 states).

While the news media are conducting a blackout on this troubling news about Obamacare, the networks gave plenty of coverage to President Obama’s so-called ‘victory-lap’ in April when the number of those ostensibly enrolled hit eight million people and weeks earlier when the deadline to receive initial coverage passed.

According to an editorial in Wednesday’s Investor’s Business Daily, these audits cast into doubt the true number of enrollees as the government neglected to check the validity of applicants Social Security numbers, U.S. citizenship or legal status or if any information was entered in error.  The inability of governments at the federal level and in two states left taxpayers prone to fraud, abuse, and overpayments. The editorial concluded that:

If ObamaCare were a private comapny, you can bet its executives would be facing criminal charges. Instead, Obama and the press are cheering ObamaCare as a great success.

ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams all refused to cover the news, but had air time to show a video of Mick Jagger joking about other famous Brits his age, corruption in China, and a viral video of two brothers singing about their native Canada respectively. In addition, the evening newscasts on the two largest Spanish language networks, Univision’s Noticiero Univision and Telemundo’s Noticiero Telemundo, completely ignored the story as well. Noticiero Telemundo was able to report though on the growing significance of cell phones in people’s lives.

On Wednesday morning, it was the same, sad story with no coverage. ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today did find time at the conclusion of their news briefs to show video of a black bear that had to be rescued after its face stuck inside a jar.

To the credit of The New York Times and The Washington Post, both newspapers published lengthy articles on the audits. However, both papers buried the stories on pages A17 and A11, respectively.

As the Media Research Center’s Rich Noyes reported, back in April the networks gave plenty of coverage to President Obama's so called "victory-lap" when the number of those ostensibly enrolled hit eight million people and weeks earlier when the deadline to receive initial coverage passed. 

David Muir of ABC News hailed it as a “major milestone” while CBS’s Scott Pelley called it a “recent success.” The networks went so far out of their way to support the president that ABC’s Good Morning America reported misleading facts on the state of health care sign-ups. 

According to Newsbusters contributor Tom Blumer, the website Politico ran a gushing headline the day on a pro-Obamacare piece entitled Obama Spikes the Football.” ABC News brought on Republican consultant Matthew Dowd during a special report on April 1 on Obamacare to inform Republicans that they “would be really smart” to allow President Obama to declare victory on the issue and abandon efforts to repeal the law and to “admit reality and move on.”


One of the new audits, which examined both the federal and state-run marketplaces, stated that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was only able to confirm the citizenship and residency statuses of less than one percent of applicants. The New York Times reported one of the audits finding that infants and young children were labeled, in some situations, as incarcerated.

The issues were due to a “not fully operational” system to automatically screen applicant’s availability. The Washington Times reported that the audits found problems on the federal marketplace confirming applicant’s Social Security numbers, citizenship verification on the California marketplace, and determining which applicants sought information over the phone on Connecticut’s exchange. These issues, one of the audits said, “may have limited the marketplaces’ ability to prevent the use of inaccurate or fraudulent information.”

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division