By this time readers would be lost in a tangle of insurance jargon. But the story moved on with a final thought: The industry isn’t supporting community rating at this time. Without more explanation, why would readers care?

ABC might have been trying to stir up a scoop about an Obama flip-flop, or some controversy about the industry. But it failed to do what the press needs to do more than ever—explain both the meaning of the candidates’ health care concepts and the way those concepts relate to their intended audiences? If anything, the piece shows that we can’t rely on the candidates—or the insurance industry—for that.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.