On his program yesterday afternoon, MSNBC host Ed Schultz did an extensive segment on Obamacare. Spitting at the notion that the victory in a Florida congressional race by Republican David Jolly represented a setback for the health-care law, he dived into the enrollment numbers with the help of Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times.
They both agreed that Obamacare is on a roll. After some back-and-forth in which they discussed the craziness of Democrats vowing to “fix” Obamacare, the discussion landed on the numbers in light of an announcement this week that 4.2 million Americans had enrolled in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
Here’s what Schultz said about the administration’s enrollment feat:
SCHULTZ: Well, I predicted 5 million people are going to sign up by the end of this month. We`re closing on it on that number.
Sure, Schultz may have predicted 5 million enrollees by the end of March. Perhaps he floated that prediction to his colleagues, to his family, and perhaps to his viewers at some point or another.
Yet. On his program of Dec. 11, 2013, Schultz made a prediction that resounded with at least one viewer:
Big Ed Schultz on MSNBC predicts 5 mn. O-care enrollees by March 1. Dares viewers to mark his words.
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) December 11, 2013
That’s the Twitter feed of the Erik Wemple Blog. Just to make sure that we didn’t mis-tweet Schultz’s prediction, we went to the Nexis transcript of the Dec. 11 show, which yields this spasm of bravado:
I’m going to make a prediction tonight. It`s going to hit 5 million by March 1st. That’s right. Five million people signed up by March 1st. Get your tapes rolling at home, folks, because it’s going to be a big “I told you so.”
We also checked the TV archive here at the Washington Post. “March 1st” — no question about it.
Yet Schultz now appears to be attempting to amend cable-news history, saying that his prediction held true for “the end of this month.” March 31, not March 1. Perhaps that’s what he meant to say back in December. But it’s not what he actually said.
Proof that he’s a bit confused about the beginning and end of March comes from previous transcripts. For instance, on his Feb. 11 show, Schultz held forth, “I said that there would be 5 million people who would be affected and signed up with Obamacare before March 1st, and we are closing in on that number, are we not?”
Two days later, he said this: “I predicted on this program back in December that it would be 5 million would be signing up by March 31st.”
The Erik Wemple Blog has sent an e-mail to MSNBC seeking clarification on this point.