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Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 02/24/2011

How the media covers court rulings on the ACA in two charts

By Ezra Klein

Nancy Pelosi's office is sending this around, and it's worth posting:


The graph is based off of data Steven Benen pulled together. As I've written before, I'm sympathetic to the argument that pro-ACA rulings simply ratify the status quo and are thus not newsworthy. But we also have to be mindful of the fact that most Americans don't follow this stuff closely, and if all they see are news stories about the minority of judges who have ruled against the individual mandate, they're quite likely to think that the mandate has actually been ruled unconstitutional. I think that's part of why we're seeing polls showing 22 percent of Americans think the ACA has already been repealed.


One of the difficult parts about being a reporter or editor is that you can rigorously report the news and still leave people with an inaccurate impression of what's going on. I think that's what's going on here.

By Ezra Klein  | February 24, 2011; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform, Polls  
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"22 percent of Americans think the ACA has already been repealed."

Oh boy, are we moronic! I guess it's past time to invest in paste.

Posted by: arm3 | February 24, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse


i think those that believe that have already eaten the paste hence the problem.

Even IF the mandate was ruled unconstitutional that doesn't mean PPACA is repealed. I think we should just chalk this up to stupidity.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 24, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And now unions are complaining media is shutting them out of coming Sunday talk shows, though three GOP governors are scheduled.

We dont have a media. We have a disinformation system.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 24, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What lauren 2010 said. The Washington press corps produces lazy, fatuous, self-regarding nonsense that Ezra calls "rigorous reporting."

Posted by: scarlota | February 24, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

When the Kessler decision came down I repeatedly checked the Post website to see if they had one of those "BREAKING" headlines. I remember they had that when the Florida judge made his ruling against the law.

Alas, no such headline. Nada. Zip. Must have just been an oversight. After all, this IS the "liberal media," right?

I'm so glad I canceled my subscription to the Post. After more than 30 years of home delivery I just couldn't take it anymore.

Posted by: robin5956 | February 24, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

You're not rigorously reporting the news when you're only telling half the story. And the ACA is not the "status quo". It's new, it's mostly not yet implemented, it's being heavily attacked. That's a pretty thin rationalization it seems to me.

Posted by: jtmiller42 | February 24, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Reporting the story when it goes in one direction is hardly rigorous. And it pretty clearly contributes to the confusion that the poll elucidates.
I think you are taking a position that it's not news when a plane lands safely, so it's not news when a law is upheld. But such a rule no longer applies when you have a controversial issue.
If the Supreme Court today, upheld Roe v. Wade, I'm betting it would be in a newspaper or two.

Posted by: RZ100 | February 24, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Individuals are responsible for staying abreast of the latest in news, issues, and political developments. While the media does invite plenty of criticism from time to time, a democracy ultimately depends on informed citizenry. One cannot complain if one only takes advantage of one news source. These 'current status' statistics should not be blamed on the media; those in the poll who answered incorrectly are willfully ignorant, and they only have themselves to blame. Case closed.

Posted by: claireworns | February 25, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse

"These 'current status' statistics should not be blamed on the media; those in the poll who answered incorrectly are willfully ignorant, and they only have themselves to blame. Case closed."

That doesn't seem to keep them from voting, though.

I have no problem with people enjoying their rights. I have a problem when their enjoyment creates negative externalities. Willful ignorance brought into the voting booth does just that.

Posted by: arm3 | February 25, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"The graph is based off of data Steven Benen pulled together."

No, Ezra , it is based ON the data. When an object has a base, the implication is that, with the assistance of gravity, said object exists in relation to that base in a manner that is best described as "on", rather than "off of." By extension it is reasonable to similarly describe concepts, ideas and graphs as resting ON a base, however intangible.

Thank you.

Posted by: clevermoniker | February 25, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure this graph tells us something we don't already know. Of course coverage of negative court rulings will sell more papers. The real question is: where are those 22% getting their news from? Since about 1/3 of Americans get their news from the Internet these days (according to Pew) it's not the front page of The New York Times.

Posted by: jstinger | February 26, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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