COMMENTS: When is a Grandfather not a Grandfather?

The aftermath of Thursday's Story of the Day -- President Barack Obama's attempt to mend his broken healthcare reform promise -- was Story of the Day again, although only NBC chose it as its lead. Kelly O'Donnell kicked off from Capitol Hill, where the House voted to amend the Affordable Care Act. The other two newscasts led with isolated stories: Linsey Davis covered a meningitis outbreak on the campus of Princeton University for ABC, which neither of the other two newscasts mentioned. CBS' John Miller filed a follow-up on the rampage at Los Angeles International Airport that made headlines at the start of the month: neither NBC nor ABC found it newsworthy.

The President on Thursday had extended a waiver of the ACA's requirement for minimum standards of coverage for the renewal of any existing individual health insurance plan. Longstanding plans, those in effect before the law was passed, had already enjoyed such a waiver. Obama announced that the law should not forbid more recent non-comprehensive plans to be grandfathered-in either. ABC's Jonathan Karl and CBS' Major Garrett followed up from the White House: Karl pointed out that any such waivers must be approved by each state's insurance commission; Garrett listed Washington, Arkansas, Vermont and Rhode Island as already rejecting the President's fix.

On Capitol Hill, the angle that NBC's O'Donnell settled on was that 39 Democrats joined the Republican majority to pass an amendment that was yet more sweeping than the President's proposal. It would not only allow the renewal of existing non-comprehensive policies, it would defang the law's minimum requirements altogether, allowing such insurance to be offered anew, in the future, to non-grandfathered individuals.

Just as George Stephanopoulos (at the tail of the Avila videostream), host of ABC's Sunday morning show This Week, had opined Thursday, so David Gregory, host of NBC's Sunday Morning show Meet the Press opines now: at stake in the healthcare reform rollout is the clout of the Obama Presidency for the entire remainder of his second term. All we need now is Bob Schieffer of CBS' Face the Nation and such an opinion will officially acquire the status of Conventional Wisdom (Schieffer instead filed another 50th anniversary report from Dallas on the JFK assassination, but this one was not posted online as a videostream).

Incidentally, you know how ABC's Jonathan Karl likes to showcase his own act of asking questions at the White House press briefing room in the process of newsgathering, irrespective of the newsworthiness of the answer he receives? Here earlier this week Karl showed himself questioning, and here, previously, we saw press secretary Jay Carney sarcastically imitating Karl's histrionic style. Well, now Jonathan does it again.


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