The Perils of Insta-News

Via The Ticket:  ‘Mandate struck down’: ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ moment for CNN, Fox News

Moments after the 193-page ruling was released by the court, several media outlets–including CNN and Fox News–erroneously reported on-air that the mandate had been struck down.

“BREAKING NEWS: INDIVIDUAL MANDATE STRUCK DOWN,” CNN’s on-screen scroll blared. “Supreme Court finds measure unconstitutional.”


CNN, though, was not alone in its rush to report the news.

“Fox News was so eager to see the healthcare mandate fail they forgot to read past the 1st page of the ruling,” Jason Keath wrote, pointing to a screengrab of the network’s breaking news stumble.

Ah, the horrors of having to pause, wait, and comprehend before reporting…

FILED UNDER: Media, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Does no one but me hear “mandate” and think gay guys going out for dinner and a movie?

  2. @michael reynolds: Reminds me of an interchange on MTP back in 2004:

    MR. RUSSERT: George Bush have a mandate?
    MR. CARVILLE: The only politician in America I know with a mandate is Jim McGreevey, Tim.

    Classic Carville.


    (For those who don’t recall, McGreevey was the gov of NJ who came out of the closet in a press conference after charges of misconduct with a staffer).

  3. al-Ameda says:

    If the early erroneous breaking news report served to lift conservative hopes, and have them crushed, and cause conservatives to be even more angry that they otherwise would be – then I’d say it served a great public service.

    Thank you CNN, thank you FoxNews, and thank you to all news organizations who deigned to get a head start on the news story of the year.

    I know I feel really good about it.

  4. After reading through the opinion it is rather obvious what happened here.

    Eager to be “first” with the news, reporters got to the part of the opinion where Roberts said that the mandate could not be justified under the Commerce Clause and then ran with the story with that the mandate was dead. If they’d skimmed ahead about another 20 pages or so, the would’ve realized what the real holding was.


    (Note: I edited this comment slightly so that the second paragraph actually makes sense this time)

  5. John Burgess says:

    @al-Ameda: Sort of like when NBC called the 2000 election for Gore, right?

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @John Burgess:

    @al-Ameda: Sort of like when NBC called the 2000 election for Gore, right?

    Oh absolutely, what I just said applied in reverse for liberals. At least Scalia was there to come through for conservatives.