Supreme Court decision reporting really screwed up


    * Individual mandate struck down CNN 9:10 a.m.
    * Government can’t force you to buy insurance 9:11 a.m.


    Today Show: Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Law 9:12 a.m.

CNN * CNN: We’re getting widely different reports on Healthcare law 9:13

    On-scene reporter: CJ Roberts said Mandate MAY BE UPHELD under the Congress’ taxing clause (She just overturned her own reporting) 9:14 a.m.
    9:16 CNN scroll: Obamacare Partly Upheld, Partly Struck Down

9:17 FOX NEWS: Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate

    John Robert’s decision saves the law
    Chief Justice was the “decider”
    Majority Opinion: Roberts Ginzberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagen
    Dissent: Scalia Kennedy Alito Thomas

CNN: Wolf Blitzer: Chief Justce Roberts was “the decider” 9:24

FOX NEWS: I believe it was the first reporting based on reading from actual opinion. I found that helpful. Everything went “objective” until about 9:30, when Gretta Sustern showed up, and went political. Then Megan Kelly and the rest in studio jumped in. The anchors in the beginning seemed stunned but admitted this was an “amazing victory” for President Obama.

Wolf Blitzer is very, very, very, very annoying. His hype is just too much.

And in the Shittiest Move of the Day: The Today show chose today right before the Health Care Decision to let Ann Curry have a 5-minute goodbye after they unceremoniously dumped her:

Ann Curry Goodbye

When the Today Show “family” reappeared at the top of the next hour, Curry was gone and Savannah Guthrie was already cheerfully sitting on the couch next to nothing-is-his-doing Matt Lauer and does-anyone-trust-this-guy Al Roker.

34 thoughts on “Supreme Court decision reporting really screwed up

  1. Erik says:

    I have reservations that ACA will work. But I’ll not bitch and moan like the left does about Heller or Citizens United. It’s constitutional, because the USC says it’s constitutional.

    1. Erik: I was really surprised that the mandate was upheld. Even more gobsmacked that Roberts became the swing vote. Wow. Did not see that one coming whatsoever.

      I’m interested in how messed up reporting can be in the first few minutes of any story. I can’t claim my “reports” here have been 100% accurate because I can’t watch all channels at once. But it was quite an exercise to see what really had been decided.

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        I wasn’t surprised it was upheld. If it wasn’t, mandatory car isnurance would have disappeared in 25 states in the next two years. You might even need a rider if you were going to Alabama.

      2. Erik says:

        They did not uphold the mandate, and in fact expressed much skepticism. ACA was upheld based on a power to tax. Big distinction.

        Car insurance was a poor analogy before today, and remains so after.

  2. Jeremy Powers says:

    And we all wonder why people don’t trust the press. This uber competitive aspect of news reporting – exclusive interviews, trying to be first, finding the crying nun, we won more awards stuff just cheapens the whole profession to the level of a carnival.

    Being first and wrong is MUCH worse than being right at any point later.

  3. Jeremy: You’re right on car insurance, of course. I had also been thinking the same thing but still did not believe this court wouldn’t be able to turn the law inside-out to do away with it.

    The “let’s be first and fix it all later” is the way the 24-hour cable news and now online news sites beasts are fed. It reminds me of a sign one of the professors I teach with put up in his office following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: “Kill them all and sort it out later.”

    Nice, heh?

  4. Erik: You’re incorrect on the mandate. From the SCOTUSblog:

    From the Court: The mandate max be regarded as a tax. “That is sufficient to sustain it.”

    1. Also, expansion of Medicaid is constitutional (key), but states can’t be stripped of funds for not complying with expansion provisions.

      This is the portion of the decision that’s really problematic. What this means and how it’s going to be decided by individual state will take much longer to figure out than any instant analysis can provide.

      You can read the full opinion here:

    2. Erik says:

      ACA was upheld based on a power to tax. The mandate itself is not quite kosher, per Roberts, but that’s essentially immaterial. That’s what I said.

      Car insurance remains not remotely analogous. It’s a state issue, and people are not taxed for not owning or driving a car.

      1. Erik says:

        It’s more than “credence”. He’s one of the first people I read. I’m saying what he’s saying.

        Which is to say, the mandate doesn’t have much legal standing, and is close to exceeding commerce clause powers. But the tax can exist, triggered conditionally be people not having insurance.


      2. Joe Loveland says:

        They can call it a “ham sandwich” for all I care. It lives, and that means millions more will get covered, and preexisting condition restrictions can stay banned.

      3. Erik says:

        And hip replacements and cancer treatments can be denied to the elderly, and research can stop on new treatments , and small business hiring can come to a standstill….; )

      4. Erik says:

        Right on.

        Really though, I’m not apocryphal. Inasmuch as dystopian liberal apparatchiks designed the plan so that the rationing and death panels have teeth, the patronage element of representative democracy dictates that elected officials will vote to remove the teeth and expand the benefits.

        There’s never going to be cost containment. If you know and accept that, I do see the wisdom in just expanding insurance availability for its own sake.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    I wonder if the problem is 1) the news media or 2) those of us in social media land who can’t wait 15 minutes for reporters to read the decision.

    Good grief, the scene on Twitter this morning was truly moronic. People were dying to IMMEDIATELY get the news and equally dying to rip reporters who went too fast.

    Within a half hour, NPR had the story correct accompanied with good analysis. As long as we insist on news instantaneously and in 140 characters, this is what we will get.

      1. …and even he got it wrong, initially. I’ve been wading through it and the fundamental problem from a NEWS perspective is that it contained a buried lede of sorts. It would have been really unfortunate to run down those courthouse steps after reading only Roberts’ Part A (where he turns down two of the government’s key arguments). Part B is where he announced upholding ACA as a taxing provision.

        That blog was great, Jim. My favorite comment from a reader expressed how surprised many of us were this morning:

        “You know about that elderly actor that had one line “Hark…I hear the cannons roar” studied it, practiced at rehearsal for weeks… then opening night, almost time for his big part and there was a huge blast, flash and smoke…he yelled… “What the F— was that”

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Yeah, Ellen, I deliberately sat out the proceedings on the slaughterhouse floor and just wait at my table for the chorizo.

        I checked out until about 10:00 a.m., not wanting to subject my delicate sensibilities to what I assumed would but an unseemly welter of half-baked, spittle-flecked, reflexive analyses. Though I had no clue it would be such an unanticipated result, and, therefore, so much more prone to just what you so bravely bore witness on all our behalf.

  6. Congress indeed does have the power to tax behavior, even on behavior you do not participate in. Congress does not force you to have children. But if you do not have children, you pay higher taxes in the form of an unearned child-credit tax; people who reproduce get a tax break.

    1. Erik says:

      In the tax code its expressed as a deduction for dependents. The end result of that is not necessarily that people with children are taxed at lower rates than people without. People without can in fact be taxed at lower rates.

      Anyway, it’s still not relevant or analogous, and there’s no need to keep searching for a proper analogy re “inactivity”. The reason Roberts gave is good enough.

      1. If true, quite Machiavellian.

        Hey, how about that Eric Holder contempt citation? Great day to send the President a big “Ann Curry” on that one.

  7. Joe Loveland says:

    Last week, Speaker Boehner warned his House mates not to “appear to spike the ball in the end zone” if the mandate got struck down.

    But Politwoops caught plenty of premature e-celebration on Twitter…that was subsequently deleted. Not scandalous at all, but mildly amusing Twitter sideshow.

    Again, what is the freakin’ hurry? Is a 30-minute wait so hard for us?

  8. I do not pretend to have read the opinion. It, including ancillary opinions, is 193 tedious pages. The Court’s syllabus is however a mere six pages, a fairly quick read. Website; recent slip opinions; case name being – NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ET AL. v. SEBELIUS.

    In case you want to know what it says vs. what somebody says it says.

  9. Thanks, eric z. I read all of Roberts’…skipped the concurring opinions but read the syllabi..and went on to Scalia. He must have been spitting when Roberts let him know how his vote was going to go.

    Scalia is quite a rowdy character; even at 76 years he has a rapier-swift mind (in one case this term, he shot 12 questions at a flummoxed government attorney within 15 minutes), can be humorous and sometimes sarcastic. He would fit in beautifully with this Crowd.

    P.S. Don’t you dig the Obama version of “Dewey Beats Truman”?

  10. Happy Friday, everyone. This just in from The Borowitz Report:

    June 29, 2012
    Trump Says John Roberts’ Birth Certificate is Fake
    Traces Chief Justice’s Birth to Village in Kenya

  11. Jeremy Powers says:

    I love how conservatives are clamoring for Roberts’ head. Let them have at it. I’m sure Obama would love to seat a new justice before January.

  12. Jeremy Powers says:

    Chief Justice John Roberts:

    1. An evolving jurist in the best example of pragmatic chief justices throughout the history of the court.

    2. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while

  13. Interesting dissection has been taking place during the past 24 hours by the news media about, of course, the news media. (Do dentists talk about themselves as much?)

    Why did the court reporter for NBC get the decision correct? Because he took the 2 1/2 extra minutes necessary to finish reading through the summary before he went on the air. CNN and Fox News did not. By hitting the air at 9:10, instead of 9:12, the latter two networks made huge mistakes. Since then CNN has apologized for its erroneous reporting; Fox News has not.

    The finest reporting took place on SCOTUS blog. Before the decision day even arrived, the co-founder of the blog (Tom Goldstein, who began blog in 2002 with wife Amy Howe) and Denniston had made a pact that the decision would not be released by SCOTUS unless and until both of them agreed 100% on what the Court said. And more than the breathless headline reporting done by others who, as has been pointed out, literally had just raced down the courthouse steps, SCOTUS provided thoughtful analysis. Check out this blog if you want to read cert. petitions, briefs, reporting before and after decisions and comprehensive curating of cases from previous terms.

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