Say what you will about Chuck Todd…
… the guy understands cable news.
MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don’t expect members of the media to correct the record.
During a segment on “Morning Joe,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans “have successfully messaged against it” but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that’s President Barack Obama’s job.
“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”
Tom Levenson looks at Todd’s declaration and gets it half right. He’s spot on when he remarks that Todd “really isn’t stupid [and] has a body of knowledge and some genuine expertise.” He’s off here, though:
Todd’s quote reads to these eyes like a resignation letter. If you can’t rouse yourself to meet the minimum requirement of a cub reporter covering a school council meeting — ask if that thing Councilmember Doe just said, was, you know, actually true? — then perhaps you should take a bit more time with your family.
Levenson seems to think this is a case of Todd giving up despite his smarts. When I look at cable news, I have no idea how he draws this conclusion. Todd isn’t resigning when he says that, he’s bucking for promotion.
Hell, Todd’s going to get a lot derision thrown his way for that comment, but you know what? In Cablenewslandia, he’s 100% correct. That’s the business model for the industry. When there isn’t a plane crash or a mass shooting, you broadcast whatever ludicrous thing some idiot that some district was high enough to elect says, and then later have two people to yell at each other about whether or not its right. Maddow and Cooper aside, does anyone in TV news ever bother to fact check anything anymore?
Especially when it comes to Obamacare. I sat through all of 2009 and 2010 begging anyone with a microphone to ask anyone who knew anything about the way health insurance works anything at all. Anything. I can’t say as I heard one factually correct and in-context thing reported when the damn bill was being debated, unless we’re counting “Congressman X said Y” as our factually-correct, in-context standard. And that was when we were trying to decide if we should make it the law of the land – why the hell does everyone expect Chuck Todd and cable news to start fact-checking now?
ps – On, and as long as I’m on a rant about Obamacare and terrible reporting…
A little late though it may be, giant heaping piles of credit to John Cole and Balloon Juice for recently bringing on Richard Mayhew, a guy who has the distinction of being someone who writes about Obamacare that is from the health insurance industry and actually knows what the hell he’s talking about. Whatever side you’re on with the PPACA, if you think it’s an important issue then you need to read him regularly.