CNN Touts Obama's 'Victory Lap' on ObamaCare Numbers, But Ignores Concern From Insurers

CNN gave a prime exhibition of lazy journalism on Friday's The Situation Room when it touted Obama's "victory lap" because of "new ObamaCare enrollment numbers" without fact-checking to see if his optimism is warranted.

"President Obama is taking something of a victory lap I guess you could say," reported host Brianna Keilar. "At a meeting with House Democrats he praised his party for sticking it out on the debt ceiling fight and touted his administration's new ObamaCare enrollment numbers."

Correspondent Athena Jones simply passed along what Obama told his own party:

"Now, the President pointed to positive enrollment numbers this week, saying it showed his administration had, quote, 'slightly exceeded' its targets for January. In January, 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance on the state and federal exchanges, and that brings the total since October to 3.1 million people."

Unlike CNN, CBS went beyond the White House's "rosy portrait" and found that the insurance industry is quite concerned about low enrollment, and that far fewer young people have signed up for insurance than is "necessary under a successful business model."

And at least Politico saw, when the administration released the numbers, that "key data is still missing," namely just how many have even paid their premiums. Well according to the New York Times, one in five new enrollees hadn't paid their initial premium in January.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

CNN
THE SITUATION ROOM
2/14/14
[5:13 p.m. EST]

BRIANNA KEILAR: President Obama is taking something of a victory lap I guess you could say. At a meeting with House Democrats he praised his party for sticking it out on the debt ceiling fight and touted his administration's new ObamaCare enrollment numbers. CNN's Athena Jones is at the White House with more on this. What did we hear from him, Athena?

ATHENA JONES: The speech today by the President was part pep rally and part a recap of the policy proposals that he spelled out in his State of the Union address last month. As you mentioned, he celebrated the fact that Congress passed this bill to raise the debt ceiling this week and he praised Democrats for sticking together on that issue and also for staying united in the face of all of these Republican attempts, repeated Republican attempts, to weaken ObamaCare. Let's listen to what he had to say.  

(Video Clip)

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: I just want to say thank you for all of you for hanging in there tough on an issue that I think ten years from now, five years from now we're going to look back and say this was a monumental achievement that could not have happened had it not been for this caucus.

(End Video Clip)

JONES: Now, the President pointed to positive enrollment numbers this week, saying it showed his administration had, quote, "slightly exceeded" its targets for January. In January, 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance on the state and federal exchanges, and that brings the total since October to 3.1 million people. He touched on a couple more topics. The President called on Democrats to keep fighting to raise the minimum wage and he also said they should keep fighting to pass a bill that would overhaul the country's immigration system. He wants to see that done before the midterm elections in November. We know that House Speaker John Boehner would prefer to tackle that issue after the midterm elections, and the President also brought up immigration reform in an interview today with Univision on the radio. He said that he believes it will get done before his presidency is over, immigration reform, but he'd like to get it done today. Sorry, this year, I should say. I'm sorry. Brianna?

KEILAR: This year. And some people might say he might have as much of a chance this year as he would getting it done today, Athena. But it's interesting, the President was kind of cheerleading in trying to make Democrats feel a little better, some of whom are certainly concerned in this midterm election year.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014