Republicans are having a real bad time defending
their health care bill. … and now these people don’t have the
insurance they need ’cause they’re poor. It’s expected to cause about 20 million
Americans to lose health insurance over the next few years, and people are pissed. The fight and the fury mounting over the House
health care bill. Blowback for Republican Congress members who
voted to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s gotten so bad that Republicans have
just stopped talking to their constituents altogether. Will we see you tomorrow night at the town
hall in Austin? I don’t think so. Like Darrell Issa, who decided to just hide
out on the roof of his office instead of facing his voters. Hello darkness, my old friend. Thankfully, we have cable news to hold politicians
accountable. To ask the tough questions and explain what’s
really at stake in the debate over health care. Take me inside the Oval Office, what was President
Trump’s sales pitch to you? Has President Trump convinced you to get on
board? Are you going to the White House tonight or
maybe bowling next week? Has the president contacted you? Trump is in a full court sales pitch. Do you see any scenario where you will be
a buyer? God da— Cable news tries to make big congressional
votes more exciting by treating them like an episode of House of Cards. By focusing on the drama of getting a bill
through Congress. The negotiating, the running through Congress,
the suspense of a final vote. I want an immediate call of the roll, don’t
let half a second pass. Yes, sir. Cable news loves this stuff And you could see it in the coverage of the
House health care bill. Interviews with politicians running through
Congress, How you feeling this morning? Do you guys think you’re going to get the
votes? graphics tracking the updated vote count, and tons of focus on how Trump was persuading
Republicans to vote for the bill. President Trump on Capitol Hill trying to
close the health care deal. The question now becomes, “Can they close
the deal quick enough?” It was CNN’s best attempt to make reality
look like a political soap opera. Cable news’ fixation on the spectacle of
a big vote makes for good TV, The pressure, the arm-twisting, the ultimatum. but it’s terrible for viewers at home. It tells viewers nothing about whether the
Republican health care bill is actually a good idea. Do you have a sense of whether or not the
White House has enough votes? What do you think, do you have the votes? You can watch hours of these segments and
still not understand what the bill does. So you’re a “no” vote. That sounds like you’re going to be a “yes”? Are you a “no” or a “yes”? I am still a “no.” Thank you, I’m glad we got that out of the
way. This kind of tunnel vision turns news coverage
into a circus of spin and misinformation. Like in this interview with Wolf Blitzer and
Republican Tom Garrett. Congressional Budget Office report, as you
know, 24 million would be uninsured by 2026. The interview starts strong. If the bill fails, do you think President
Trump will be blamed for the failure? Kind of a dumb question, but okay. It’s absolutely undeniable that Obamacare
is in a death spiral, and if we just let the status quo go, we’re going to see what real
pain and suffering looks like. Okay, this would be a great time for some
good journalism. Obamacare is not in a death spiral. Experts actually worry that the Republican
health care bill would be a recipe for death spirals because it reduces healthy people’s
incentives to stay insured. Come on Wolf, easy follow-up, you’ve got
this! You were supposed to go to the White House
for a pizza and bowling event with the president tonight. I take it that’s been canceled? Are you serious? When is that pizza and bowling event going
to be rescheduled for. What kind of a wolf doesn’t have a taste
for blood? Carlos. Sorry. A better use of this airtime would be to talk
to actual health care experts, like any of the major medical organizations that have
come out against the GOP bill. The bill is garbage, Donald. But the House of Cards approach to news means
that most interviews go to politicians or pundits, who haven’t read the bill and aren’t
going to give straight answers to begin with. I could probably tell you that I read every
word and I wouldn’t be telling you the truth nor would any other member. So even when journalists do ask good questions,
you get train wrecks like this. Their premiums will not go through the roof? The goal is to make certain that they do not. Will their premiums rise, Congresswoman? My hope would be that their premiums would
not rise. People who have preexisting conditions, can
you assure them that their premiums will not rise? The goal… But the real danger of this type of news coverage
has nothing to do with dumb interviews. It’s that when you treat big congressional
votes like soap operas, you train audiences to think in terms of politics instead of policy. Train people to ask “What’s stopping this
from passing?” instead of “Should we pass this at all?” What do you want to see in this bill, how
would you change it? Why won’t you vote for it in the form that
it’s in now? So the problem isn’t that the GOP bill cuts
coverage, it’s that it doesn’t appease the House Freedom Caucus. What changes would you need to see in order
to get to “yes?” What could the president say to get you on
board? The problem isn’t that it slashes Medicaid,
it’s that Democrats aren’t doing enough to compromise. Are you making efforts to come together? What have Democrats done so far to help improve
this bill and work with Republicans? Just like on House of Cards, success becomes
less about making good policy, and more about just passing something. We need a bill we can pass. Resolving the drama. If it doesn’t pass, then what? Which means if the bill we end up with is
a disaster for the country, but secures enough votes, it looks like a win. A big win for Republicans on this day after
a major setback only six weeks ago. House members said it was the kind of deal-making
that won rave reviews. This is a huge moment of competence and that
is no small thing. We show unity! We offer progress! That approach is a nightmare when dealing
with any policy issue, but it’s especially reckless when it comes to health care. When people’s lives are actually on the
line. And the frustrating thing is, you don’t
need the drama to get people to watch. People want clear, fact-based information
about what’s happening to their health care. And you actually saw a glimpse of this during
a CNN town hall with Tom Price. Question after question from real people about
stuff that actually matters to them. Why do you want to take away my Medicaid expansion? The bill allows insurance companies to charge
much higher premiums for people in my age group. How can you justify that change? It was this surreal moment of clarity and
thoughtfulness on cable news. And then, at the very last second: How are you going to get this plan through
Congress when you can’t get these members of your own party to support it?