Here’s a question that Barbara Walters posed yesterday to Vice President Joe Biden on ABC’s “The View” with regard to Obamacare: “A recent congressional report found that Obamacare will cause more than 2 million Americans to quit their jobs or to cut their hours. Is it a job killer, Obamacare?”
There’s good and bad in Walters’ question: She correctly abridged the CBO report, and then elided into a question that hijacked the report’s findings. As discussed here, the CBO stated that Obamacare might “reduce the incentive to work for certain subsets of the population.” That’s quite distinct from any “job loss” scenario, for reasons that the CBO explained in an FAQ that followed a spate of erroneous reports on the findings: Those who cut back their hours “presumably think they are better off (or they would not be making the voluntary choices they are making). As a result, other people are generally happy for them and do not describe them as having ‘lost their jobs.’”
This morning, “Fox & Friends First,” a very early morning program on Fox News, wanted to discuss Biden’s comments on “The View.” In response to the question from Walters, he’d spoken about how the health-care law might help single mothers with job flexibility. When it came time to summarize Walters’ question, reporter Kelly Wright said that Biden generated controversy in his response “to a question about the Congressional Budget Office finding [that] the program will cause 2 million people to lose their jobs.”
Dead wrong, for the reasons discussed above.
Elsewhere in his report, Wright said that “Clearly.. some people believe Obamacare is a job killer according to the CBO.”
Tons of news outlets made this very mistake when the CBO report first came out. Most scrambled to correct their erroneous headlines. Fox News, to this day, sticks with this headline: “ObamaCare could lead to loss of nearly 2.3 million US jobs, report says.”
And it’s not as if the CBO distortion is an across-the-board blitz at Fox News; several segments have gotten the matter right.