ABC, NBC Continue to Blackout Gruber Video; CBS Ignores Clip of Pelosi Praising Gruber in 2009

As ABC and NBC continued to censor any mention of the disparaging comments made by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber from their Thursday night newscasts, CBS aired second story on Gruber with this one (and the other coming from Thursday’s CBS This Morning) airing on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.

While the report by CBS News national correspondent Wyatt Andrews covered what Gruber said, how Democrats and Republicans have responded, and that he was a paid White House adviser on ObamaCare, Andrews did not attempt to point out the contradiction House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi created Thursday when she denied ever having heard of Gruber when she had in fact praised him in 2009. [MP3 audio here; Video here]

When Pelosi was asked on Thursday about Gruber during her weekly press conference, she replied that: “I don't know who he is. He didn't help write our bill.” Following that soundbite, Andrews simply said that “maybe” this was the case before moving on in the story.

In contrast, CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper and the Fox News Channel’s (FNC) Special Report with Bret Baier actually went the distance and brought up Pelosi’s hypocrisy by showing a clip of her saying this on November 5, 2009: 

Our bill brings down rates.  I don't know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T’s analysis of the – what the comparison to the status quo versus what will happen in our bill for those seek insurance within the exchange and our bill takes down those costs. 

Leading into Andrews’s story, anchor Scott Pelley fretted that while “[t]he next enrollment period for Americans who want health insurance under ObamaCare begins on Saturday,” the thing that “all anyone in Washington is talking about is a tape that emerged recently of an ObamaCare consultant telling folks what he really thinks of the Americans buying the insurance.” 

Even though Pelley was mostly correct in saying that people in Washington are talking about Gruber’s insulting comments about the “stupidity” of the American voter and needing to have lied to get ObamaCare passed, the same cannot be said at all about his network competitors over at ABC and NBC.

As the Media Research Center’s Geoffrey Dickens reported, ABC and NBC have joined with scores of other news outlets (ranging from USA Today to the Associated Press) to omit any mention of Gruber since the 2013 video became known late last week.

The complete transcript of the tease and segment that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on November 13 is transcribed below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
November 13, 2014
6:43 p.m. Eastern [TEASE] 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Controversial Comments]

SCOTT PELLEY: Taped comments by one of ObamaCare's chief architects have set off a new firestorm.

(....)

6:46 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: New Enrollment]

SCOTT PELLEY: The next enrollment period for Americans who want health insurance under ObamaCare begins on Saturday, but all anyone in Washington is talking about is a tape that emerged recently of an ObamaCare consultant telling folks what he really thinks of the Americans buying the insurance. Wyatt Andrews has our report. 

WYATT ANDREWS: M.I.T. Professor Jonathan Gruber was an intellectual architect of ObamaCare, but here, at a conference last year, he said the law was written to hide crucial details from an American public too dumb to understand. 

JONATHAN GRUBER: Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting this thing to pass. 

ANDREWS: For example, Gruber said the penalty for not buying insurance, the very heart of the individual mandate, was labeled as a penalty and not a tax. Embarrassed Democrats quickly distanced themselves from Gruber. The White House pointed out he “did not work at the White House.” Minority leader Nancy Pelosi turned Gruber into a stranger. 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.): I don't know who he is. He didn't help write our bill. 

ANDREWS: Maybe, but when the bill was being written, the administration paid Gruber almost $400,000 for technical advice on drafting the law. Republicans, for their part, turned Gruber into an all-important player. Here is Senator Mitchell McConnell. 

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.): And what this insider is saying confirms that they were spinning tales from beginning to end because they knew they couldn't tell the truth about ObamaCare and have a chance of passing it. 

ANDREWS: Gruber has said he regrets making those comment, but, Scott, with Republicans taking over Congress and calculating how to scale back or defund ObamaCare, this is ammunition. 

PELLEY: Wyatt, thanks very much. 

The relevant portion of the transcripts from CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper on November 13 is transcribed below.

CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
November 13, 2014
4:35 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Also, in politics, House Speaker John Boehner today objected to remarks by Jonathan Gruber, the M.I.T. Professor and an architect of ObamaCare whose comments from past speeches have just recently surfaced online and are getting attention due to his continued suggestions that those pushing ObamaCare deceived voters. Take a listen. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Democrats Defend ObamaCare Transparency]

JONATHAN GRUBER: You get a law which said healthy people are going to pay in, it made explicit that healthy people pay and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Ok? Just the cal – people transparent – lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to get this thing to pass and you know, it’s the second best argument. Look, I was Mark was right. I wish we can make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law then not.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Voter Stupidity” Remarks Incense GOP]

TAPPER: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he vigorously disagreed with Gruber and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took it even further. Here she is today, asked about Gruber: 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.): I don't know who he is. He didn't help write our bill. 

TAPPER: Actually, Grubber did help write the bill. He was a paid adviser to the Obama White House. As for Leader Pelosi not knowing who he is, this is from 2009:

PELOSI [ON NOVEMBER 5, 2009]: Our bill brings down rates.  I don't know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T’s analysis of the – what the comparison to the status quo versus what will happen in our bill for those seek insurance within the exchange and our bill takes down those costs. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center