Media Skips Reporting on U.S. Solicitor General’s Suggestion

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on June 8, 2011

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-Read the excerpt below from Tim Graham's post at newsbusters.org on June 5th.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

On Thursday, Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner [reported on a statement] from President Obama’s solicitor general* Neal Katyal defending ObamaCare … But it was blacked out by all the networks – and all the major newspapers and wire services.

[Mr. Klein reported]:

President Obama’s solicitor general, defending the national health care law on Wednesday, told a federal appeals court that Americans who didn’t like the individual mandate [requirement that they purchase health insurance] could always avoid it by choosing to earn less money. …

During the Sixth Circuit arguments, Judge Jeffrey Sutton…asked Katyal if he could name one Supreme Court case which considered the same question as the one posed by the mandate [in ObamaCare requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance], in which Congress used the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution as a tool to [make people buy health insurance].

Katyal conceded that the Supreme Court had “never been confronted directly” with the question, but cited the Heart of Atlanta Motel case as a relevant example. In that landmark 1964 civil rights case, the Court ruled that Congress could use its Commerce Clause power to bar discrimination by private businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

“They’re in the business,” Judge Sutton [replied]. “They’re told if you’re going to be in the business, this is what you have to do. In response to that law, they could have said, `We now exit the business.’ Individuals don’t have that option.”

Katyal responded by noting that there’s a provision in the health care law that allows people to avoid the mandate.  He said: “If we’re going to play that game, I think that game can be played here as well, because after all, the minimum coverage provision only kicks in after people have earned a minimum amount of income. So it’s a penalty on earning a certain amount of income and self insuring. It’s not just on self insuring on its own. So I guess one could say, just as the restaurant owner could depart the market in the Heart of Atlanta Motel case, someone doesn’t need to earn that much income. I think both are kind of fanciful and I think get at.”

Sutton interjected, “That wasn’t in a single speech given in Congress about this…the idea that the solution if you don’t like it is make a little less money.”

Reporter Phillip Klein added that this “neat idea” from Team Obama may not actually work out: “The so-called ‘hardship exemption’ in the health care law is limited, and only applies to people who cannot obtain insurance for less than 8 percent of their income. So earning less isn’t necessarily a solution, because it could then qualify the person for government-subsidized insurance which could make their contribution to premiums fall below the 8 percent threshold.”

Read the original post at newsbusters.org.

*NOTE:  The Solicitor General is the person appointed to represent the federal government of the United States before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Solicitor General determines the legal position that the United States will take in the Supreme Court……

In the federal courts of appeal, the Office of the Solicitor General reviews cases decided against the United States and determines whether the government will seek review in the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General’s office also reviews cases decided against the United States in the federal district courts and approves every case in which the government files an appeal.

Questions

1.  What solution did President Obama’s solicitor general offer for people who don’t like being forced to buy health insurance under ObamaCare?

2.  The mainstream media did not report on Solicitor General Katyal’s suggestion.  What type of bias is this an example of?

3.  Do you think it is important for the media to report this information to their readers/viewers?  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  Solicitor general Katyal suggested that people who don’t want to be forced to buy health insurance can get out of it by earning less money.

2.  Bias by omission.

3.  Opinion question. Answers vary.