How Fox News Is Spinning The ObamaCare Enrollment Success Story

Conservative opponents of the Democratic health insurance agenda are heavily invested in its failure. From the outset they have portrayed it as a dangerous descent into tyranny that would destroy the magnificent American health care system and the nation as a whole. In its role as PR division of the Republican Party, Fox News did its part to demonize the law and frighten people away from signing up.

Now that the numbers are in showing that, defying all expectations, the program surpassed the goals that had been set in an early analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, Fox News is shifting into high gear to dismiss the facts. The latest example of this determination to avoid reality comes with the release of an extensive survey conducted by Gallup. The core of the survey’s results are apparent in their headline which reads “In U.S., Uninsured Rate Lowest Since 2008.” And if that isn’t clear enough, Gallup leads off their analysis by saying that…

“The uninsured rate has been falling since the fourth quarter of 2013, after hitting an all-time high of 18.0% in the third quarter — a sign that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage.”

The news of Gallup’s results was widely reported by the media. The Associated Press distributed an article to its member news organizations with the headline “Survey: Health insurance gains pick up.” This story was published by numerous outlets that represented a broad array of opinion, including the Miami Herald, ABC, Washington Times, Newsmax, NPR, Houston Chronicle, and even local Fox affiliates in Atlanta, Orlando, Phoenix, Chicago, and more. All with the lede provided by AP. However, Fox News chose to handle the same AP story in its own unique way by altering much of the content and changing the headline to “Gallup survey suggests sign-ups under ObamaCare not as high as White House says.”

Fox News ObamaCare

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Clearly Fox News contrived to present a more negative version of the story than the one told by the survey’s actual findings. A closer look at the differences between the AP’s original article and the one published by Fox reveals just how committed Fox is to misrepresenting the facts. The AP’s article began…

“A growing share of Americans got health insurance as sign-up season for President Barack Obama’s health care law came to a close last month, a major survey released Monday has found.”

The Fox News version altered that to say…

“A major new Gallup survey suggests the ObamaCare sign-up numbers are not as soaring as the White House claims.”

The AP’s article goes on to say that…

“The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index provides independent validation for White House claims that the law is expanding access, particularly for working people with no coverage on the job.”

That sentence was removed entirely from the Fox article, which choose instead to focus on speculation as to whether the total number of enrollees reached the 7.1 million mark touted by the administration. Although another sentence that was edited out by Fox said that…

“‘The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as `Obamacare,’ appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance,’ said Gallup’s analysis of the findings.”

In addition, Fox removed a couple of quotes in the AP article. One was by White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, who pointed out that there were “200,000 people who had started applications but weren’t able to finish by the deadline.” The other by HHS spokesman Aaron Albright, who noted that “This survey and other independent analyses highlight a historic expansion in coverage.”

To be sure, there were elements of the survey results that addressed possible shortcomings in the law’s uptake. These were covered by both Gallup and the AP. But they were featured prominently by Fox News, to the exclusion of most of the positive data. But Fox wasn’t satisfied with merely cutting out parts of the AP article that they didn’t like. They also added their own segments in order to further slant the coverage negatively. Where the AP said this…

“The survey also speaks to concerns about the consequences from last fall’s wave of insurance cancellations. Gallup’s data suggest most of the people whose existing policies did not measure up under the law were able to get new coverage, or took advantage of exceptions belatedly issued by the White House.”

Fox News substituted this…

“Some feared the cancellations of more than 4.7 million policies that didn’t measure up to the law’s standards would actually swell the ranks of uninsured people. That created huge political problems for Obama, who had promised Americans they could keep their insurance if they liked it.”

When comparing the presentation of the same data side-by-side, it couldn’t be more clear that Fox is endeavoring to manipulate their audience so that they come to a negative conclusion about ObamaCare. Gallup’s results are recognized as being a neutral snapshot of the nation’s opinions at a specific point in time. And even though many other news sources, including those with staunchly conservative views, published the AP’s story without alteration, Fox couldn’t help itself and chose instead to introduce a blatant bias into their reporting through a series of deceitful edits.

It is this sort of unethical and unprofessional conduct that makes it impossible to take seriously the Fox claim to being “fair and balanced.”


9 thoughts on “How Fox News Is Spinning The ObamaCare Enrollment Success Story

  1. It sickens me that Fox is able to get away with this type of thing, especially since many Fox viewers obtain their news only from Fox. After all, if you hear it on Fox it’s the God’s honest truth, isn’t it?

  2. “That created huge political problems for Obama, who had promised Americans they could keep their insurance if they liked it.”

    They’re going to keep pressing this line, even though Obama has long acknowledged this wasn’t going to happen for the majority.

    But, it’s not fair and utterly criminal if we press the “Mission Accomplished” nonsense ad infinitum, even though Bush ultimately was forced to acknowledge that this was not exactly true…

    Absolutely typical for the FoxPods and Dittoheads, isn’t it.

  3. “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”

    LIE. PERIOD. No other way to spin that.

    20% of the people who have signed up haven’t paid for their plan.

    • Please. I have the same plan that I had before ObamaCare — and I have not noticed any adverse effects. I obtain my prescriptions for the same cost as I did beforehand, and I am paying no extra fees for any services. I consider that a guarded success.

      I may not particularly like the plan, but I tolerate it. It’s there and it gets the job done. Therefore, I have no problem with Obama’s statement.

      Of course, if I ever require significant hospital care, we might need to reconsider, but who knows what will come in the future.

    • With all that has been said by politicians on both sides of the isle concerning the AC, I’m surprised that you didn’t grasp onto some other more heinous statement. In a black & white world without abstracts and on face value alone you would be considered correct, but that’s just not the reality of our world. Obama was wrong to make that statement however you know very well that those who lost insurance due to the ACA (Not those who lost because of some petty, angry boss) did so as a result of their current plan no longer meeting the very basic guidelines that the law requires. These people were able to sign up for other ACA plans, some at a higher cost and some at a reduced cost. (Too may variables to list here as to why it is or is not a better deal for these policy holders).
      So how should Obama have explained this reality of the ACA?
      “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it provided it meets or exceeds the current guidelines set forth by the ACA and your insurance carrier and not withstanding corporations and or CEO, bosses’ etc who decide not to participate for politically ideological reasoning, period.”
      That doesn’t make for a good sound bite.
      Can you elaborate on where you got your claim that 20% have not paid? I would like to research your source.
      On a side note, my insurance plan actually got better and the cost did not increase. Unfortunately they imposed a ‘Death Panel’ and all employees are required to stand before and put forth a dissertation (no less than 250 words single spaced) to justify their existence. Failure to meet the guidelines will result in absolute termination, just as Sister Sarah forewarned.

    • Scott, my company’s insurance plan was canceled, so technically you’re correct. However – and this is a HUGE HOWEVER – the only reason it was canceled was because it had liability limits that were not within compliance with the ACA, and it didn’t have a free preventative care provision. So it was canceled and then immediately replaced with a plan that was 99% the same as the previous plan, but with those provisions added. This situation was the case in almost every “canceled” plan, and you on the right jumped on and exploited this as “lie”.

      If I took your car from you and replaced it with an identical car, but one that had newer tires, would you consider that a downgrade?

      • Didn’t Sherlock Holmes say “A difference that makes no difference is no difference”? Of course, to the FoxPods, this means nothing when it becomes a defense of ObamaCare…

    • Don’t believe the Fox hyp. Obamacare could wound-up saving or life. Think about, why would’nt they want to have health care? You can surly believe they all have insurance.

  4. Fox is once again violating their unwritten contract, to provide unbiased news reporting, as a member of the fourth estate. They are a completely fraudulent news organization. Has anyone ever considered suing them for false advertising or something along those lines?

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