Thursday, June 28, 2012

Notes on Politics: CNN Boots the Supreme Court Health Care Ruling


In a complicated, highly anticipated ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, declared that the massive federal health care law, spearheaded by President Obama and the then-Democratic-led House, is constitutional. It stays. (The nearly 200-page opinion can be found here.)

As I awaited news of the ruling, made myself comfy in front of the TV as I opened my Twitter account, I tuned to CNN, figuring they'd offer up a no nonsense account of the Supreme Court ruling about which on-air reporters were positively giddy given the colossally intense interest of the viewers at home.

Then, in its attempt to be the first with the news, CNN botched its reporting. It got the story exactly wrong. They reported that the Court ruled that the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance or face penalties had been ruled unconstitutional. I Tweeted what CNN had said and cited the network as the source, thank goodness.

Within minutes, the Associated Press issued this Tweet: "BREAKING: Supreme Court upholds Obama law's requirement that most Americans have health insurance."

What the what?

This was then Tweeted by the Supreme Court blog, "SCOTUS Blog:" "The individual mandate survives as a tax." Reuters concurred. Conclusion: CNN screwed up. Cue the piling on top of CNN's epic fail as Twitter skewered them, placing the mistake in the same the league as "Dewey Defeats Truman:"

"Looks like CNN got it wrong, which would mean they got this and Bush v. Gore wrong." -- Dan Abrams

"'Al Gore Wins!' -- CNN" -- Tweeted writer Danny Zuker

"I am not turning off CNN until they TELL ME GORE WON FLORIDA!!!" -- Damon Lindelof (one of the guys behind Lost)

"Be right, not first." -- @JournalistsLike

"Women reject '50 Shades of Grey' in droves . . . #OtherCNNHeadlines #SCOTUS" -- @TVMcGee

"CNN staffer emails me: 'Its [sic] shameful'" -- @BuzzFeedBen

Way to strike a severe blow to CNN's reputation as a trusted source of news when something big is happening. I only wished NBC's Brian Williams had been broadcasting live. . .

Image credit: C.W. Anderson via Poynter.

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