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Affordable Care Act, Culture, Government Programs, Health Care, Health Care Reform, Health Disparities, Health Insurance, Health Reform, Healthcare, Media, Media Bias, Obama, Obamacare, Politics, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Justice, Society, Uncategorized

This Week’s Huge Media Fail: Most Media Outlets Botched The CBO’s Obamacare Report

“We got a report today about Obamacare that was both surprising and widely misunderstood,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley said on his Tuesday show.

You can thank the media, and outspoken critics of the health care law, for that confusion. Whether they simply didn’t read the report or just failed to understand it, many media outlets and conservative opponents of Obamacare rushed to judgment and immediately began releasing erroneous headlines about the CBO’s recent report.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report in which they said that as many as 2 million people could exit the workforce because of the Affordable Care Act. Importantly, the CBO stressed that the economy would see “a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than…a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor,” thanks to the increased freedom that the Affordable Care Act gives workers. For example, some people may choose to quit jobs they didn’t like but felt unable to leave because of their health care benefits, while others may take the opportunity to start a small business without having to deal with the risk of not being able to afford health insurance.

Unfortunately, that’s not how most media outlets reported the news. A lot of them said that the report was warning that Obamacare would kill over 2 million jobs—a notion at odd’s with the CBO’s conclusion that some workers would choose not to work.

This led to a lot of embarrassing retractions and revisions like the one the Washington Post had to make on Tuesday afternoon:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 6.12.52 PM

Or this one, from the New York Times:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 6.13.04 PM

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post  chronicled a sample of the headlines on the CBO report,  tracking how each media outlet revised their original reporting after realizing how mistaken they were (revised headlines are italicized): 

Wall Street Journal earlier: Health-Care Law Expected to Take Greater Toll on Workforce

Wall Street Journal now: Health Law Seen Leading to Some Loss of Labor

Washington Times earlier: Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO

Washington Times now: Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO

UPI earlier: CBO: Obamacare to cost 2.3 million jobs over 10 years

UPI now: WH disputes media claims on CBO Obamacare study

Politico earlier: CBO: Lower enrollment, bigger job losses with Obamacare

Politico now: Report reignites debate over Obamacare and jobs

The Hill earlier: CBO: O-Care slowing growth, contributing to job losses

The Hill now: CBO: O-Care will cost 2.5M workers

National Review earlier: The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare

National Review now: The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare  *(apparently the National Review isn’t even trying to act like they care about facts)

Wall Street Journal Market Watch earlier: CBO says Obamacare will add to deficit, create reluctant work force

Wall Street Journal Market Watch now: Obamacare plans to top $1 trillion, create reluctant workers: CBO

Talk Radio News Service earlier: Obamacare Will Cost 2.5 Million Jobs: Report

Talk Radio News Service now: 2.5 Million Will Exit Work Force Because Of Obamacare

Forbes earlier: Congressional Budget Office: Obamacare A Tax On Workers

Forbes now: CBO: Obamacare Is A Tax On Work, May Cut Full-Time Workforce By 2.5 Million

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