No, ABC News, This Isn’t “The Way to Reform Health Care”

ABC News’s constructive contribution to health care reportage this morning on Good Morning America, above the unintentionally(?) maddening chyron “THE GREAT DEBATE: Is this the way to reform health care?”:

GMA’s CHRIS CUOMO: By anybody’s reckoning, this is certainly a battle between messages, really. So let’s bring in two masters of political messages to join us this morning. We have Ann Coulter, author of Guilty, Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America, and in Washington, GMA contributor, Democratic strategist, Mr. James Carville…..

Why, GMA, why? Laziness? A throwing-up-of-the-hands? Desperate ratings bait? (Or, maybe health care reform really isn’t a “journalism-friendly story,” to the extent one regards morning news shows as involving “journalism.”)

And the Carville-and-Coulter-on-Health-Care-Reform segment proceeded just about how you might imagine, with Cuomo kicking things off by asking, “With what we see with these [town hall] demonstrations, is this proof that the president has lost control of this debate?…And he’s spinning out of control?” (and then later complaining that Carville “isn’t dealing with the issue on the table, isn’t talking about health care,” as if that were what Cuomo asked about, let alone what a segment involving two “masters of political messages” would ever hope to achieve). And, Coulter compared what “Obama is saying” about health care reform to a “chocolate cake” “diet plan.”

In other news, PEJ’s latest report, “Town Hall Showdowns Fuel Health Care Coverage,” finds:

The health care debate maintained its spot atop the news agenda for the third consecutive week…account[ing] for 16% of the news hole from August 3-9… down from 19% the previous week and from 25% the week from July 20-26…

Even as it became clear that there would be no immediate passage of health care legislation, the issue heated up last week. And more than three-quarters of all the coverage was focused on the politics of the legislative battle and the newest and most incendiary angle to the story—the town hall confrontations.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.