Forget about the politics for a second — forget about who is right and who is wrong. What exactly does NBC News’ First Read think it is accomplishing journalistically by openly ridiculing those who believe the Obama administration’s deal with Iran is a political move meant to distract from ObamaCare. There is no reporting in NBC’s ridicule — just opinion, mockery and pushback from NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Jessica Taylor:
Some Republicans were arguing that the entire deal was a ruse to distract the country from the woes associated with HealthCare.Gov. … [I]f you REALLY BELIEVE this, then we have some oceanfront property in Lincoln, Nebraska that we’d like to sell you. Folks, the politics surrounding the health-care law isn’t going away — regardless of what happens in Iran or the Middle East. And if you thought something could “step” on this issue, you are incredibly naïve. The folks promoting this talking point endlessly as somehow a serious strategy ought to know better.
This is the kind of pushback you expect from open partisans, not journalists. And while First Read sees the Iran deal as a “leap of faith that needed to be tried,” many on the left and right have been scratching their heads over the deal. Moreover, First Read’s premise for backing this leap of faith isn’t, in my opinion, even backed up by facts:
But here is a point that many are overlooking: You had to test the Iranians and its new leadership at some point, right? And you had to test whether the tough sanctions were truly changing the regime’s behavior.
That would be great if there actually was new leadership in Iran, but there isn’t. The mullahs run Iran and there are no new mullahs. This “new leadership” First Read speaks of is nothing more than a new figurehead. If Obama switches out press secretaries, does that mean America has “new leadership?”
Back to the main point… There is no question that a case can be made that the timing of the Iran deal is not political. Fair enough. But a case can also be made that it looks awfully fishy for the administration to make a deal that at best appears pointless and at worst looks hurried, naive, and dangerous.
First Read is correct that the Iran deal will not make ObamaCare go away as a political issue. But that is a red herring either/or argument. The truth is that the Iran deal, combined with the Senate ending the filibuster, did break the fever of negative ObamaCare coverage. Weeks of relentless coverage has noticeably slowed, especially on CNN and MSNBC — both of which seem visibly relieved to be able to change the subject.
Surely this benefits the White House politically.
This isn’t the only instance today of NBC pushing back on those who claim the White House is acting politically. Chuck Todd closed “The Daily Rundown” Monday with the claim that the Obama administration’s decision to push the 2015 ObamaCare enrollment date past the 2014 election is not political. Todd’s reasoning is the same: that ObamaCare will be a big political issue in 2014 regardless.
Again, a case can be made that the 2015 enrollment date push made sense from an administrative standpoint. But so can a case that postponing the possibility of ObamaCare sticker shock, for who knows how many thousands of voters, only benefits Democrats. It is one thing to hear about premium increases, it is another to personally face that premium increase a few days before you go to vote.
These NBC News reporters might honestly believe that they have logic and reason on their side. But that is still nothing more than opinion being reported as declarative fact and, in the case of Iran, through the vehicle of dismissive ridicule.
What we are not seeing from these NBC reporters, though, is any reporting to back up their conclusions or proof of a supernatural ability to read Barack Obama’s mind.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC