The ruling by the United States Supreme Court that upheld the Affordable Care Act came as a surprise to many people that have been watching the situation closely. As U.S. citizens sat glued to the closest media outlet available, the information began trickling out. Republicans were sure the entire bill would be shot down by the Court, while Democrats were certain the individual mandate was going to be determined unconstitutional but the remainder of the bill would remain. The fact is- the highest court in the land has upheld the law in its’ entirety with a small exception pertaining to Medicaid funding.
CNN was apparently so certain the Supreme Court was going to overturn the law they released a headline on live news coverage that said, “BREAKING NEWS: SUPREME CT. KILLS INDIVIDUAL MANDATE” and a bit later another headline that said, “BREAKING NEWS: Individual Mandate Struck Down, Supreme Court finds measure unconstitutional.” On their website a headline that said, “Mandate struck down,” was displayed. This leaves viewers and internet users questioning the validity of their reporting. It seems they were certain the mandate was going to be struck down, but this error brings their validity into question. CNN later put a notice on their website saying, “CNN regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate.”
Fox News was as accurate as CNN in reporting false reports when they displayed a banner on the screen that said, “Supreme Court finds heath care individual mandate unconstitutional.” Fox News Executive Vice President, Michael Clemente, released a statement saying, “We gave our viewers the news as it happened. When Justice Roberts said, and we read, that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce clause, we reported it. Bill Hemmer even added, be patient as we work through this. Then when we heard and read, that the mandate could be upheld under the government’s power to tax, we reported that as well -- all within two minutes. By contrast, one other cable network was unable to get their Supreme Court reporter to the camera, and said as much. Another said it was a big setback for the President. Fox reported the facts, as they came in.”
These false reports raise concerns with citizens that depend on these news sources for valuable information. A ruling on something as important as the decision on health care for our nation is extremely emotional and very important.