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Posted at 1:38 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Media playing up rulings against health reform?

By Greg Sargent

Steve Benen takes a look at some of the media coverage of the four key rulings on the Affordable Care Act, and finds that the two rulings pronouncing the law unconstitutional received far more attention than the two upholding it.

Click through to Steve's post for the details, but the short version is that the discrepancy in coverage by the media outlets he looked at is overwhelming.

On one level, this is understandable. A decision reversing the law seems, on its face, to be more newsworthy than a decision upholding it, since a reversal of the law -- unlike an affirmation of it -- potentially changes things in a big way.

But as Steve notes, it's unclear whether either set of rulings has any more real-world significance than the other, since the fate of the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. And the truth is that the public is being left with a lopsided view of the judiciary's read on the law.

You could argue that if the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of the law in any case, it doesn't matter much if the public has a distorted picture of its legal predicament. But of course this does matter, because it's unfolding in a political context. If people have an exaggerated sense of the law's alleged unconstitutionality, it could contribute to the law's unpopularity, which could in turn make the push for partial repeal or defunding of the law easier. That in turn could make it more likely that the law's implementation could grow more chaotic. That could impact real people, and it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that it could impact the law's fate before the highest court.

Again, it's not hard to see why decisions against the Affordable Care Act are deemed more newsworthy. But it's still unfortunate that the public is being left with a highly-distorted impression of what's happening.

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers, Political media  
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Next: Yet another gaping hole in Vinson's ruling?

Comments

Shocking. Simply, shocking.

:-|

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | February 1, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Damn "Liberal Media"!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"If the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of the law in any case, it doesn't matter much if the public has a distorted picture of its legal predicament. But of course this does matter..."

Or, as Randy Barnett suggests (via Geraghty):

"Public opinion can have an influence on justices’ thinking. He suspects the Supreme Court would be less likely to strike down a popular but Constitutionally disputed law, but it may strike down an unpopular, Constitutionally-disputed law."

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

sbj, I think that's right. As the legal expert I spoke to yesterday said, Kennedy might be more likely to rule against the law if it's deemed to be a big mess that needs to be "put out of its misery"

and agreed, others, yet more evidence of the liburl media

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 1, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

OT (sorry Greg...) but it looks like the end of the beginning is near in Egypt:
-----------------


Al-Arabiya Report: Mubarak Won't Run For President Again

Reuters reports that the TV network Al-Arabiya is hearing reports that President Mubarak will announce that he will not run for president again in Egypt's next elections.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 1, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: I'd bet, though, that most of those articles would explain that other courts have ruled otherwise. And also explain that this is ultimately headed to the Sup Crt.

Personally, I don't get the impression that folks are being misinformed about these lawsuits. More ink is, admittedly, being spilled on the more newsworthy rulings, But I don't think the public perception of this particular issue is any more distorted than the public's view of many other (constitutional) issues.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy needed no such cover, when he voted to hand the future of the nation over to Anonymous Plutocrats. I don''t think that the gang of five right wing judicial activists give a damn what the public thinks, because the vast majority of the people were against their ruling to let the wealthy roar, and let the poor be turned into political mutes.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Considering Scalia, Thomas and Alito have been in bed with American's for Prosperity at both their strategy sessions and fund raisers, they should all recuse themselves from the proceedings.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 1, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Why would a finding against the law be more newsworthy than one supporting it? Oh wait, we're defining newsworthiness based on the news' ability to sell stuff. I forgot.

Posted by: mmyotis | February 1, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"Al-Arabiya Report: Mubarak Won't Run For President Again"

That's great news unless Egypt goes the way of Iran or Gaza. Hopefully they'll go the Indonesia route.

Internet is destroying oppressive regimes. It's hard to combat truth when its so easily accessible.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 1, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

How about a thread where people can post news on what is happening today in the middle east?

Now the King of Jordan has tried to release steam from his bulging pressure cooker.

Mike Huckabee has called for the West Bank to be ethnically cleansed of Palestinians; and slammed President Obama for not doing more to keep Mubarak in power.

Big stuff, with global repercussions, now happening on an hour to hour basis.

Israel may live to regret that they used the decades of having Mubarak and the rulers of Jordan, providing cover for them, while they gradually annexed more and more of the West Bank, instead of dealing fairly with the Palestinian people.

Should less friendly governments emerge in Egypt and Jordan, then Israel will have no one to blame, but itself, for having opted to grab more and more territory, when they should have been working to reach a lasting fair settlement with the Palestinian people and helping them to establish their own nation, and providing development assistance to them, instead of catering to Israel's own religiously fanatical settlers.

Keep in mind; the population of Jordan is mostly comprised of Palestinians, so should the Kingdom fall, then suddenly the West Bank Palestinians will have a much stronger hand dealt to them.


Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

mike: "That's great news unless Egypt goes the way of Iran or Gaza. Hopefully they'll go the Indonesia route."

Egypt with a political structure based on the Turkish model could be good.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 1, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Egypt with a political structure based on the Turkish model could be good. "

true true. Forgot about Turkey.

And regards what Huckabee said. I'm seriously getting tired of these fundamentalists dictating their global vision via some wet dreams about Rapture. Palin, Huckabee, etc. Sorry, but those dimwits need to be as far from a position of National decision making on matters of international security as possible.

They are a threat to Democracy around the globe.

As the internet is crushing oppressive regimes around the globe, the fantasy land individuals such as Palin and Huckabee live in is being shattered as time goes by.

Internet killed the Fundamentalist Crowd

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 1, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Mubarak, who is over 80, not running again, is off no importance, if the regime around him, does not also go.

He just appointed an old crony as his VP. so if that guy runs, then nothing has really changed.

The guy is also out of the military, is over seventy, and has been the head of Egyptian Intelligence, for Mubarak, for the past thirteen years.
This is the head guy, who gave orders for when ever prisoners should be tortured.

The BBC reported yesterday; that the Military elite have all become super wealthy, under Mubarak.

In fact, it struck me, that thecountry is being run and controlled in very much they same way that Burma is.

America sure picks some strange bedfellows to shack up with.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@Greg - another factor here (aside from the point you make above) is the breathless appetite for drama that our 24 hour cycle now encourages. An unoriginal point, but integral I think.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 1, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Liam: "He just appointed an old crony as his VP. so if that guy runs, then nothing has really changed."

I understand your sentiment, but I doubt the guy would run, or if he did, AND the elections were free and fair, he'd lose because of his association with Mubarak.

Still, the military enjoys the reverence of the Egyptian public, so I'm not totally convinced that another military man wouldn't win just because of that background.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 1, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like another big hole in Vinson's decision:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/another_hole_in_vinsons_ruling.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 1, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The Egyptian people have so little to feel proud of, that they latched on to their military winning one road game, a long time ago, just like Cubs fans cling to their chronic losers.

The military has ripped of country, and amassed most of the wealth, just like the military in Burma have done.

If any former military guy comes to power, then only the names will have changed, and the corruption parade will still march on.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"@Greg - another factor here (aside from the point you make above) is the breathless appetite for drama that our 24 hour cycle now encourages. An unoriginal point, but integral I think."

How would you propose to change that cycle?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 1, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

(Obama also famously claimed that "when life begins" is above his pay grade)

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 1, 2011
=========================================

Also above his intellectual capacity, but then name three things that aren't.

Posted by: Brigade | February 1, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Israel may live to regret that they used the decades of having Mubarak and the rulers of Jordan, providing cover for them, while they gradually annexed more and more of the West Bank, instead of dealing fairly with the Palestinian people."

Exactly what I've been thinking. Maybe this will actually spur peace by ending the status quo and forcing Israel (and the U.S.) to be more realistic and less arrogant. OTOH: a lot of things could go wrong. Fingers crossed. First thing is for Mubarak to leave and get the transition government in place and set the elections. Do it ASAP or else things might deteriorate.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Just out of curiosity, what are the actions Israel cod undertake that would result in a lasting peace?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 1, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me a competent legal writer (journalist)would if he cited a position from Judge Vinson look to the other judges weighing in and cite what they said or report that they did not reach where Vinson did for other reasons--states lacked standing, etc. Instead, we have 4 opinions that are only discussed one at a time.

Posted by: ncaofnw | February 2, 2011 1:50 AM | Report abuse


I just heard it on the radio that "Wise Health Insurance" can offer health insurance for just $1 a day any one aware of this ? have anyone purchased insurance through them. I did search for them and found them online.

Posted by: dichack | February 4, 2011 5:14 AM | Report abuse

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