STORY #1: What just happened?
The conversation about the individual health insurance mandate tucked into President Obama’s health care reform legislation has, since yesterday’s ruling, shifted from “Is it constitutional?” to “Who won?” In the beginning, it looked like Obama had won; the Supreme Court allowed the mandate to stay, but it was justified under congressional powers of taxation, not the Commerce Clause. And since Obama spent a lot of his time in 2010 insisting the mandate wasn’t a tax, well, sucks to be him now.
What about former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)? The word “tax” couldn’t be a more potent political weapon for him. He’s already vowed to repeal Obamacare on his first day as president. To which I ask: 1. All of it? Even the parts that make insurance companies less ridiculous? 2. Wasn’t a focus on health care reform from the outset Obama’s mistake? Remember jobs and debt? This may sound odd, but they’re kind of more important!
STORY #2: The get-it-first bias
One of the many upsides of pre-taping a TV show, as I do at my workplace, is that you won’t run into problems like this. CNN, which I thought was beyond mistakes like this, and Fox News, which I didn’t think was beyond mistakes like this, both put graphics on their screens claiming that the individual mandate had been struck down. They ran into the same initial confusion as everyone else; I wouldn’t expect them to have avoided it. I would, however, have expected them to wait before putting it on national television.
Is it really all that important for a network to break the story before anyone else, to the point that you can’t take five minutes to read the necessary material thoroughly? This is one of many problems with the modern news media lost in all the talk of political partisanship and the interests of advertisers. The real competition should be, to paraphrase a very snide MSNBC, to get it right instead of getting it first.
STORY #3: Stay where you are
Exactly how little do you Americans know about Canada?! Immediately after the ruling came down, vows to move here from angry Americans started pouring onto Twitter. If you happen to have made one of those vows yesterday, let me give you some advice: Not only will you have to deal with a system that allows this and this to happen, you will most likely be forced into a union depending on what kind of job you get. And don’t even get me started on abortion and gay marriage. But, mostly, stay away from Canada because we already filled our annual quota of idiots. Thank you, and good night.