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White House Spokesman Knocks Press For Distorted Coverage Of Health Care Law


First Posted: 06/30/11 03:52 PM ET Updated: 08/30/11 06:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney praised Wednesday's "very significant" court ruling upholding health care reform and hit the press for only covering the issue in the fewer instances that President Barack Obama is dealt a setback.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Congress had the power to require Americans to buy insurance when it passed Obama's signature issue last year. The ruling was a major victory for the White House: it’s the first time a federal appeals court has weighed in on the law, and it comes as Obama is ramping up his 2012 reelection campaign.

But Carney noted it is just the latest in a series of judicial victories on the issue for Obama -- something one might not know given the selective media coverage of court fights around the health care overhaul.

“You would think sometimes from reading newspapers or watching television that only the ones that have gone against us are happening,” Carney said during a Thursday briefing.

“I would just note that there have been a number of rulings upholding the constitutionality and legality of the Affordable Care Act -- more than those that have not upheld it."

Major news outlets routinely give little to no attention to court rulings that support of the law, while treating rulings against it as front-page news, as Steve Benen reports for Washington Monthly.

Of the five major lower-court rulings that have evaluated the constitutionality of the health law, three sided with the administration and two sided with opponents of the law. And in each instance, rulings against the law "received more coverage, longer articles, and better placement" at outlets including The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press, Benen found.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Washington Monthly's Steve Benen as Sam Benen.

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