In a rather bizarre move Friday, the Washington Post published an appeal to Fox News to “Investigate Gruber’s Remarks.” The Post is referring to none other than Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of ObamaCare, who’s currently under fire for six(!) instances (so far) where the MIT professor’s been caught on video bragging about the deceit Democrats and the Obama Administration used to pass the unpopular government program:
When such astounding comments from the mouth of an Obamacare architect, the White House must be pressed for its version of events. So [Fox News’ Ed] Henry is doing righteous work here, and surely he knows that his network will welcome the interrogation. After all, Fox News has devoted 57 segments to the Gruber thing, according to an analysis done by Media Matters for America.
Just how transparent and straightforward was the making of Obamacare? Well, Gruber offers one take on the events. Brian Beutler of the New Republic has another, arguing that it was “one of the most transparent in recent memory.” Earnest has his own take.
So here’s a suggestion. Fox News has revenues approaching $2 billion and a newsgathering investment of nearly $900 million per year — why not plow some of those funds into an investigation into the transparency of the passage of the Affordable Care Act? If what Gruber says is on target, after all, then there must be a heck of a lot more scandal to uncover. Don’t rely on one source for this story, Fox News.
Legitimately confused over, of all outlets, The Washington Post appealing to another news outlet to do investigative reporting, I reached out to the article’s author, Erik Wemple, to see if I was missing something. He was kind enough to respond:
My point here is that Fox News clearly has a high degree of interest in these comments, so why not go deeper than just these comments from one guy — why not use all that cable money to do some digging? It’s something that I’ve tilted at before, about how Fox News pulls down $1.89 billion in revenue, according to SNL Kagan. Yet it commonly complains about newspapers and other media outlets not exposing the wrongdoing of the administration and so on.
Well, why not earmark some of those profits to Fox News investigations?
As to why WaPo doesn’t investigate it, that’s a fair question. I am not so sure that WaPo didn’t cover it to begin with; I’d have to go back deep in Nexis to see whether these themes got the prominence that they deserve with hindsight.
Basically, the Post is telling Fox News to put its money where its mouth is. While I appreciate the response (and respect Wemple as a reporter), his premise is flawed.
First off, like any of us who closely watched the ObamaCare debate, Fox News doesn’t seem all that conflicted over the transparency of the debate. Why should Fox News investigate something they don’t feel needs investigating? Regardless, all the nasty surprises that have come with ObamaCare’s implementation — millions of cancellations, loss of doctors, adding to the deficit, etc. — pretty much prove a lack of transparency, no?
Moreover, when you have a behind-the-scenes ObamaCare architect (who was paid almost $400,000 by the White House) repeatedly vindicating critics, that alone is a legitimate political story. So what’s stopping the mainstream media from reporting on that bombshell? I’m pretty sure it’s not because they’re all out doing the diligent reportorial spadework into “the transparency of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.”
With ObamaCare still unpopular, Republicans preparing to take over the Senate, and the fate of President Obama’s signature legislation once again in the hands of the Supreme Court, for obvious partisan reasons, very few in the left-leaning mainstream media want to touch on the issue of ObamaCare corruption — even though that is the obvious newsworthiness of Gruber’s comments.
No one wants to pull on that thread. Which leads me to my final point…
The Post’s argument is a snipe hunt. If Fox News did exactly as the Post requested, history proves it would change nothing. The important investigative work Fox has already done on stories like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, and even ObamaCare, are usually ignored, downplayed, or Media Matters’d by the likes of the Washington Post.
If six freakin’ videos aren’t enough to grab the media’s attention, nothing will. And even if Fox News did dig up a bigger bombshell a few weeks from now, the MSM would dismiss it as “old news.”
After six years of President Obama, how the media works its protection racket is not a secret.
Although the Post is one of the few mainstream media outlets to cover Gruber’s remarks, the Post has also been careful to spin the story as either a partisan issue (using headlines about how Republicans are outraged) or as an outright nothingburger (this is how the sausage is made).
Wemple seems to want to argue that a story — backed by six videos of a man frequently trotted out as an ObamaCare expert by high-ranking Democrats like Nancy Pelosi — isn’t quite buttoned up, or isn’t a story until the whole story can be told.
If the Washington Post wants to prove that ObamaCare’s very own Gruber is lying about ObamaCare, I would think that a news outlet, responsible for such newsworthy bombshells as a 50 year-old haircut and 25 year-old rock, would have more than enough resources to do that on its own.
Of course, if the Post were to discover a truth inconvenient to the fate of ObamaCare, that’s a real story and problem for ObamaCare.
But if Fox News uncovers that same truth, it can be put in a circular file marked IRSBENGHAZIFASTANDFURIOUS.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC