The Washington Post

Bill Clinton assails media coverage of Obamacare

(Michelly Rall/Getty)
(Michelly Rall/Getty)

Former president Bill Clinton on Wednesday criticized the media in stark terms -- particularly for its coverage of Obamacare.

In a lecture at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., Clinton said the media does the country a disservice by building a narrative and never straying from it, regardless of the facts.

“If a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline," Clinton said. "And then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story.”

Clinton said the American public continues to be undereducated about real policy issues, including President Obama's signature health-care law, which polling shows is still struggling to find support.

“I think that it’s very important to understand we live in a time when for a whole variety of reasons, policymaking tends to be dimly understood, often distrusted and disconnected from the consequences of the policies being implemented," Clinton said.

He added: "I have felt that most intensely in the development, the passage and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

This is hardly the first time that a Clinton has criticized the media. Bill Clinton has been vocal about the media's early fascination with his wife's potential 2016 presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton said last week that journalism has undergone changes that are "not good for the country."

Update 3:05 p.m.: Clinton also targeted the media's coverage of income inequality -- or lack thereof.

"People say, oh, this is never going to make the evening news," Clinton said. "Nobody gets shot, no drama.”

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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