Time's Halperin: 'Press Failed to Scrutinize' ObamaCare

Appearing as a guest on Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC to promote his book, Double Down: Game Change 2012, Time magazine's Mark Halperin recounted that the media did not "scrutinize" ObamaCare before its passage or during the 2012 presidential election, although he also placed some blame on Republicans for nominating former Governor Mitt Romney who was known for pushing a health care plan in Massachusetts.

After substitute host Laura Ingraham complained that concerns about ObamaCare "were routinely dismissed" in the media, Halperin responded:

There is no doubt that the press failed to scrutinize this program at the time of passage and during the context of the President's re-election. I think any reporter who would argue otherwise would be putting their head in the sand. As we write in Double Down, the problem for the Republicans in the re-election context was you nominated, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, a guy who was not very well-positioned, to say the least, to make the case against ObamaCare because he passed the health care plan in Massachusetts.

After Ingraham jumped in to recount that the media were more obsessed with Romney's business dealings than with analyzing ObamaCare, Halperin added:

Laura, you want to re-rack the tape from what my previous answer, I think the press, anyone who denies that there was a failing is true, but, at the same time, Republicans did not run against this in part because Mitt Romney didn't. Barack Obama, Barack Obama knew that he wasn't going to run for re-election defending the program.

He concluded:

It's part of the flaws of the way the media works. If the candidates aren't talking about it, it gets less coverage. But there's no doubt a disservice was done to the country and even to liberals who want this program to succeed because it didn't get scrutiny on passage and then again when the President was running for re-election. And our cover story in the magazine lays all this out as well as just how deep the President's predicament is right now politically and substantively.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, November 21, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:

LAURA INGRAHAM: Well, let me just say that's part of the issue, is it not? I mean, the President always seems to see things in terms of political solutions or political responses. So the response here is we got to rebrand, we got to sell it differently, we got to have a new add, we got to have the Web site have more colors, whatever it is. But isn't this more than a branding problem?

This is a, this is a technical problem. It's a policy problem. It's a substantive problem. It's not just about whether Obama's legacy is intact or whether progressive ideas in the future are doing well.

These are, these are real concerns that were expressed frankly back in 2008, 2009 and into 2010. And forgive me, but I don't think Time magazine was doing cover stories on a lot of the concerns that were raised back then that were routinely dismissed by many in the media, as ideological, as just mean-spirited. Turns out most of the Republican concerns about ObamaCare were right.

MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Laura, there is no doubt that the press failed to scrutinize this program at the time of passage and during the context of the President's re-election. I think any reporter who would argue otherwise would be putting their head in the sand. As we write in Double Down, the problem for the Republicans in the re-election context was you nominated, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, a guy who was not very well-positioned, to say the least, to make the case against ObamaCare because he passed the health care plan in Massachusetts.

INGRAHAM: Yes, but Mark, but Mark, Mark, you guys, yeah, but you guys were crawling all over him. I'm using "you guys," as you represent all the media, but you know what I'm saying. I mean, the media, they were crawling all over the technical details of his, his business dealings, of, you know, they called him a vulture capitalist. They went after all of his, you know, the takeovers, these companies, who was fired, who was not. They went into real detail about that.

But the actual ObamaCare law and the predictions of hospitals not taking insurance, doctors retiring, costs going up, those were real concerns that the media, for the most part, just kind of, like, well, no, this is a good idea for people to get covered. There was a difference in that Romney was covered with great scrutiny and this policy was not.

HALPERIN: Laura, you want to re-rack the tape from what my previous answer, I think the press, anyone who denies that there was a failing is true, but, at the same time, Republicans did not run against this in part because Mitt Romney didn't.

INGRAHAM: Well, I agree with you on that.

HALPERIN: Barack Obama, Barack Obama knew that he wasn't going to run for re-election defending the program.

INGRAHAM: Yeah.

HALPERIN: Its part of the flaws of the way the media works. If the candidates aren't talking about it, it gets less coverage. But there's no doubt a disservice was done to the country and even to liberals who want this program to succeed because it didn't get scrutiny on passage and then again when the President was running for re-election. And our cover story in the magazine lays all this out as well as just how deep the President's predicament is right now politically and  substantively.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.