Kelly O'Donnell Advances NBC News Company Line On Obamacare Poll

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Wednesday's Today, advanced the NBC company line on the results of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Obamacare as she reported "Americans are evenly divided." O'Donnell, of course, was merely following the lead of her NBC News colleague Brian Williams, who on Tuesday's Nightly News, ignored the most negative news from the survey, as the MRC's Brent Baker noted:

"By a 12 point margin, those asked, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, called 'Barack Obama's health care plan' a 'bad idea' (48 percent) over a 'good idea' (36 percent.) Yet, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday evening skipped that verdict as he declared 'people are evenly split' on 'the President's health care reform plan.'"

Fast forward to this morning's Today show and O'Donnell also bypassed that interesting tidbit as seen in the following excerpt from the March 17 Today show:

KELLY O'DONNELL: Talking to voters, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds Americans evenly divided. Forty-six percent say it's better if the bill passes. 45 percent say scrap it. And asked, if it were possible, would they like to replace every member of congress? 50 percent said yes. Of those yeses, interestingly, party made no difference. More than 70 percent said throw them out regardless of which party would be left in charge.

However, on the bright side, right after O'Donnell's piece, Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira actually got a little tough with the DNC chairman Tim Kaine as she threw Barack Obama's "courage" line back in his face when it came to the "deem and pass" option:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know the President has been going around the country trying to sell this bill. He was in Ohio the other day he and he said that Congress needs courage, that was the word he used, to pass this bill. But what about deem and pass is courageous? You're not even voting directly on the bill?

TIM KAINE: Well you know, but Meredith you know I think that some of the way this has been reported is inaccurate. There is gonna be a vote. There is gonna be a vote on-

VIEIRA: Not a vote directly on that bill though, on the Senate bill.

KAINE: Well there will be a vote on the entire package that goes to the President's desk. The, the House is considering a procedure whereby they won't take two votes, one on the Senate version and one on the fixes to the Senate version. But this bill will have an up or down vote, hopefully by Saturday, where everybody gets to declare whether they're for solving a problem that affects American people or they want to stand on the sidelines and throw rocks.

VIEIRA: But again, but again Governor, this is a vote on the fix-it version not on the, the Senate bill itself, which suggests, as Matt said earlier, that this is being done to provide political cover for these Democrats in an election year.

...

VIEIRA: You know Governor, if it takes this much persuasion, and you still don't have the 216 votes, and, and the President has been talking to Democrats, Congressmen and women as much as he can. So if you still have to do that much persuasion and a lot of Democrats feel they have to hold their nose to get this thing through, doesn't it suggest to you that maybe this isn't the right solution, this particular reform package?

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.