Brow Beat

CNN and Fox Misreport Health Care Verdict

Fox News this morning briefly reported that the Supreme Court had found the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional:

Fox News this morning

Photo of Fox News broadcast early this morning by @JasonKeath.

Was that error, as some have suggested, politically motivated? Maybe not. Consider CNN’s own big headline:

Screengrab from homepage just after 10am Thursday morning. Capture by @Chanders.

Both news organizations presumably were confused by the intricacies of the ruling, and got things wrong initially in their haste to report it. (The mandate has been upheld, save for the federal government’s role in cutting states’ Medicaid funds.) But when everyone’s waiting for a quick verdict, news organizations tend to have both reports ready to go, and sometimes pull the trigger too quickly. (Just last month, CNN wrongly declared that John Edwards had been found guilty in his extortion trial.)

VIDEO: Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on what it was like on the Supreme Court steps in the minutes after the ruling.
MORE: Did Justice Roberts save health care just so he could gut the commerce clause?

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage on the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.