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‘Minimized, spun or ignored’: Broadcast news shushes up on Obamacare

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Hush, hush, and more hush. That seems to be the case with Obamacare on the broadcast news: The "big three" networks are simply not giving the health care law much coverage during its troubled launch and uncertain spot on public radar. NBC, CBS and ABC gave the law just over 31 minutes of coverage from Jan. 1 to March 24, according to a Media Research Center analysis. That is less than 1 percent of the total evening broadcast news coverage during the 63-day study period.

"The three network evening newscasts have minimized, spun or ignored every negative development about Obamacare, while at the same time touting staged pro-Obamacare publicity stunts, such as President Obama's appearance on 'Between Two Ferns,' a Web-based comedy show in March," says Rich Noyes, research director for the conservative watchdog.

"The review found just 29 stories that mentioned Obamacare. Twelve of those were full reports, while the other 17 were short items, under 30 seconds in length, read by the news anchor. Or they were passing references to the health care law in longer political stories," he adds.

It's no wonder, then, that the American public is still confused about health care reform.

"Bad news, such as lackluster enrollment statistics or new delays in key elements of the law, were usually given just a few seconds of coverage, according to the study. Not one of the evening newscasts bothered to cover polls - even their own - showing the law's continued unpopularity," Mr. Noyes adds.

"And only one report - on CBS - profiled someone victimized by Obamacare's new rules, something ABC and NBC viewers have yet to hear about in 2014."

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