News organizations make prolific use of Twitter to find citizens affected by the big news stories of the day. ABC News, for example, issued a cattle call to buttress its take on the story of the week — i.e., all those people getting kicked off insurance plans that don’t meet federal requirements. It tweeted:
Has your insurance company told you your plan is changing because of Obamacare? We want to hear from you. Email us at ABC.WorldNews@abc.com
— ABC World News (@ABCWorldNews) October 29, 2013
It’s unclear how many “victims” ABC News netted with that request. We do know that it was spotted by at least one person with a vested interest in the result: “Any interest in hearing from folks who have gotten insurance because of Obamacare?” That tweet came from White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz.
The ABC News story that stemmed from the tweet featured a gymnast’s sense of balance, noting the trend of people getting migrated to new insurance arrangements while amply noting the skimpy offerings of the legacy plans. (See video below).
Now for Fox News. Yesterday afternoon, Fox News reporter John Roberts sent out this appeal:
Looking for folks who are having insurance cancelled or premiums increased because of Obamacare. Reply to me…Thanks!
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) October 30, 2013
People jumped all over the slant that they read into the tweet: “How come you don’t want anyone with premium decreases or who are getting better coverage?” asked one. Another: “How about looking for folks with success with ACA as well. So much for Fair and Balanced. Yuk, FoxNews…..”
So Roberts later made this tweet: “Looking for people who have been helped by Obamacare. Please tweet back to me with contact info. Thanks!”
Cynics may conclude that Roberts was merely looking to tidy up appearances of bias, given that Fox News has aired a long-running campaign against the president’s signature public policy. Yet the Erik Wemple Blog prefers to suspend judgment, despite the overwhelming evidence, and await a new brand of Obamacare coverage on Fox News in the coming days.