ABC Touts Jon Karl Going 'Toe-to-Toe' With White House Over Website's 'Botched Rollout'

 

ABC's World News on Monday night continued to highlight the network's exclusive that Barack Obama knew there was no real alternative to the ObamaCare website, even as he pushed options like mail and calling the hotline. Yet, on Good Morning America, the network's content-free morning show, the revelations were ignored.

World News anchor Diane Sawyer touted the story as all "about what the President said and what he knew and when." Jon Karl played footage of Obama insisting that "it usually takes about 25 minutes" to apply via phone. The reporter explained, "But ten days before the President said those words, his own health care team knew that all applications were having the same problems [as the website]." The newscast then showed footage of the explosive battle between Karl and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. [MP3 audio here.]

At the press briefing, Carney responded to Karl's intense questioning with mockery:

JON KARL: These memos saying at the end of the day we are all stuck in the same queue because they all have to go through the same portal.

JAY CARNEY [mocking tone]: Jon, I get it but the person who calls isn't the one who has to wait after the paper application is filled. Right?

KARL: Your mocking is entertaining. But the president said you can apply within 25 minutes. That was not true!

CARNEY: You call up. You give your information. You get the questions answered that you need answered and they take over from there.

In the report, Karl countered, "That's not how it worked for Georgia resident Robert Shlora. We visited him the day the President gave out that phone number. After failing online, he tried the hotline." That didn't work either.

NBC's Nightly News also covered the latest revelation. 

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Jon Karl appeared, but never mentioned his expose or the previous day's battle with the White House. (The scoop did come up on Monday's GMA.) Instead, he previewed Virginia's gubernatorial election between the "very conservative Republican" Ken Cuccinelli and "Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

A transcript of the November 4 World News is below:


6:37

DIANE SAWYER: And next tonight, the start of a new week bringing new trouble for the President and ObamaCare. It's about what the President said and what he knew and when. ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl has exclusive documents and he went toe-to-toe with these new questions for the White House.

ABC GRAPHIC: Botched rollout

JON KARL: As the health care website melted down, the President repeatedly told people there were other options working just fine.

BARACK OBAMA: You can bypass the website and apply by phone or in person.

KARL: A quick call?

OBAMA: I want to repeat that. 1-800-318-2596.

KARL: And voila.

OBAMA: It usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage.

KARL: But ten days before the President said those words, his own health care team knew that all applications were having the same problems. As one internal memo from the administration's health care war room, obtained by ABC News, read, "The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted. At the end of the day we are all stuck in the same queue." Did the President not know that everything needs to go through the same broken website?

[cut to Carney briefing]

KARL: These memos saying at the end of the day we are all stuck in the same queue because they all have to go through the same portal.

JAY CARNEY [mocking tone]: Jon, I get it but the person who calls isn't the one who has to wait after the paper application is filled. Right?

KARL: Your mocking is entertaining. But the president said you can apply within 25 minutes. That was not true!

CARNEY: You call up. You give your information. You get the questions answered that you need answered and they take over from there.

KARL: That's not how it worked for Georgia resident Robert Shlora. We visited him the day the President gave out that phone number. After failing online, he tried the hotline.

ROBERT SHLORA (Healthcare.gov): I really have no idea whether I'll be offered a better plan, whether or not the government will help me subsidize it.

KARL: We contacted Mr. Shlorra again today. And after two weeks and several calls to that hotline, he still has not been able to enroll in a new health plan. As for the overall numbers, Diane, the White House still won't tell us how many people have enrolled online or over the phone. They say those numbers will be coming in about two weeks.

SAWYER: In two weeks. Okay, thank you. Jonathan Karl reporting in from the White House.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org