On Thursday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert took cable news networks to task for jumping the gun and mistakenly announcing that the Supreme Court had struck down the bulk of the Affordable Care Act.
On Thursday morning, as the world looked on, both CNN and Fox News announced exactly the wrong news when they reported the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation. When copies of the decision were handed out and Justice Roberts began to read the opinion, two of the biggest news organizations on the planet scrambled to announce the result, and in the process, got it wrong.
Colbert played clips of Fox News’s Bill Hemmer, CNN’s Kate Bolduan and Fox Business Channel’s tory wonderboy Stuart Varney breathlessly reporting that the court had overturned the individual mandate, the centerpiece of the legislation.
“The individual mandate has been struck down,” Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney portentously intoned, “The individual mandate has. Been. Struck. Down.”
“Evidently, folks,” he said, “and I didn’t know this, evidently, there’s more to a Supreme Court ruling than the first page!”
Then he played clips of all the same people having to walk back the news they’d broken not ten minutes before. The camera cut back to a frozen-faced, flabbergasted Colbert. He threw a glass of water into his own face, pulled out a toaster and stuck a fork in it, then leaned over while a third arm appeared from under the desk and slapped him.
Then the host showed the audience what would happen if we took a similar approach to some great works of literature.