The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The media’s massive revisions on CBO-Obamacare story

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The Post’s Glenn Kessler today published a fact-checking post breaking some news: No, he wrote, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) never, ever reported that Obamacare would somehow or other kill more than 2 million U.S. jobs.

Okay, to say that Kessler broke this news is a rhetorical exaggeration to highlight the point that many-o-many media outlets misconstrued the CBO findings. For a while this morning, the Internet was hopping with job-killing hype, when in fact the truth was vastly different. Obamacare’s impact, the CBO concluded, would lessen the supply of labor by encouraging certain folks not to work: “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked. . . .”

For someone approaching retirement, notes Kessler, Obamacare could well mean that they needn’t hold onto a bad job just to keep health insurance. That’s a far different dynamic from job-killing.

To illustrate just how the media had handled the CBO study, Kessler’s post included a number of headlines harvested from the Internet this morning, amid a backlash highlighting the finer points of the CBO report. In some cases, headline changes ensued; in others, news outlets stuck to their original phrasing. Below, we chronicle some of the action:

Wall Street Journal earlier: Health-Care Law Expected to Take Greater Toll on Workforce

Wall Street Journal now: Health Law Seen Leading to Some Loss of Labor

Washington Times earlier: Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO

Washington Times now: Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO

UPI earlier: CBO: Obamacare to cost 2.3 million jobs over 10 years

UPI now: WH disputes media claims on CBO Obamacare study

Politico earlier: CBO: Lower enrollment, bigger job losses with Obamacare

Politico now: Report reignites debate over Obamacare and jobs

The Hill earlier: CBO: O-Care slowing growth, contributing to job losses

The Hill now: CBO: O-Care will cost 2.5M workers

National Review earlier: The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare

National Review now: The CBO Just Nuked Obamacare

Wall Street Journal Market Watch earlier: CBO says Obamacare will add to deficit, create reluctant work force

Wall Street Journal Market Watch now: Obamacare plans to top $1 trillion, create reluctant workers: CBO

Talk Radio News Service earlier: Obamacare Will Cost 2.5 Million Jobs: Report

Talk Radio News Service now: 2.5 Million Will Exit Work Force Because Of Obamacare

Forbes earlier: Congressional Budget Office: Obamacare A Tax On Workers

Forbes now: CBO: Obamacare Is A Tax On Work, May Cut Full-Time Workforce By 2.5 Million

Full disclosure: The Post earlier posted a headline saying that the CBO had concluded that the law “will result in 2 million fewer jobs.” Now it reads as follows: “CBO: Health-care law will mean 2 million fewer workers.” A correction explains the change.