CNN, Fox Jumped Gun on Obamacare Ruling

by InvestorPlace Staff | June 28, 2012 12:55 pm

[1]With the most anticipated Supreme Court ruling since Bush v. Gore in 2000 finally announced today[2], it’s hard not to blame news sources for wanting to scoop the competition. Two of those sources, however, had the wrong scoop[3].

Earlier today, both CNN and Fox News reported that the individual mandate that required all citizens to purchase health insurance had been ruled unconstitutional. CNN posted a headline and story with this “news” on its web site, while Fox News ran the headline on a television broadcast. Of course, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate, along with much of the Affordable Care Act.

Eventually, CNN issued a correction on Twitter and changed its headline and the story on its web site to accurately reflect the ruling.

Why did they think the mandate had been struck down? It turns out they didn’t read the decision as closely as they should have. In Justice John Roberts’ brief on the majority opinion, he said that the mandate was not a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. However, further on in the brief, he stated that the mandate was a tax that Congress had the constitutional right to levy, thus making the law constitutional.

Today’s lesson? Read the entire brief before you try to beat other news sources to the punch.

Have something to say about the Supreme Court’s ruling? Share your thoughts here[4], or send an e-mail to us at[5].

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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