Rachel Maddow spent a good portion of her MSNBC show on Thursday discussing the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the individual mandate clause within President Obama's Affordable Care Act. She took a moment, though, to acknowledge that the news was first misreported by both CNN and Fox News.
Maddow said that the news broke like "a train wreck," and replayed clips of CNN congressional correspondent Kate Boulduan, and Fox News host Bill Hemmer reporting that the Supreme Court struck down the individual mandate clause. Both networks immediately put up chyrons echoing the announcement, exacerbating the initial error.
Maddow said she felt "very, very deeply" for both reporters as they were "living every journalists' nightmare on live TV." She added, "There but for the grace of God." Maddow also mentioned that ABC's Jake Tapper reported that Obama first thought the Supreme Court ruled against health reform after seeing CNN and Fox News on a television screen outside the Oval Office.
"Frankly, that's bad for us in cable news, 'cause it's not like the president loved cable news to begin with -- how do you think he feels about it now?" Maddow said. The president eventually learned the accurate ruling when White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler informed him. She reportedly got her news from another White House lawyer and from SCOTUSblog.com.
Maddow lauded SCOTUSblog.com and its reporter Lyle Denniston, whom she referred to as the site's "beating heart."
Maddow said, "Mr. Denniston is an old school, old fashioned Supreme Court reporter," who grabbed a paper copy of the Supreme Court ruling and read it to his SCOTUSblog editor over Skype, thereby accurately reporting the news. "If I am half as useful at 81, I will consider it both unlikely and a personal victory," she said.