Saturday, 12 November 2016

Who's telling the truth: the BBC or social media?

This morning's Today opened to the following main headline from Justin Webb:
Donald Trump says he intends to keep parts of Obamacare, the health reforms that led to millions of Americans getting health insurance for the first time - a policy he had said he wanted to abolish. 
The following news bulletin continued the theme:
The President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, who campaigned vigorously on a pledge to scrap Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms, has said he may now keep elements of the policy. Mr Trump had repeatedly vowed to repeal the legislation, which has allowed millions of poorer Americans to obtain health insurance, on the first day of his presidency.
Wyre Davies's report began:
For Donald Trump on the pre-election campaign trail scrapping President Obama's Affordable Care Bill, or Obamacare, was a key policy priority. It was a programme that, at his packed rallies, Mr Trump repeatedly called a "disaster".
Donald Trump: Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare. 
With too much government interference in the healthcare industry, argued Trump supporters and Republican leaders in Congress, they agreed Obamacare should be repealed. But in his first post-election interview for the CBS 60 Minutes programme there were signs that Mr Trump's stance on Obamacare may already be softening.
CBS interviewer: Are you going to make sure that people with pre-[existing] conditions are still covered?
Donald Trump: Yes, because it happens to be one of the strongest assets...
CBS interviewer (interrupting): You're going to keep that?
Donald Trump: ...also, the children living with their parents for an extended period, we're going to...
CBS interviewer (interrupting): You're going to keep that?
Donald Trump: ...very much try and keep that. It adds costs but it's very much something we're going to try and keep.

Then John Humphrys and Matthew Price went through the same thing again, with John H. beginning by saying:
One of Donald Trump's many promises - threats, if you prefer - was to get rid of President Obama's healthcare plan. Now he seems to be suggesting he won't - at least not entirely.
Matthew P. echoed this saying Obamacare is: 
...something Donald Trump said throughout the campaign he would repeal and replace if he became president. He called Obamacare a "disaster". Well now, in his first interview since we know he will be the next president, he has said actually perhaps he won't completely repeal and replace it.
All of this, of course, makes it look as if Donald Trump had duped his supporters over Obamacare and was performing a cynical post-election U-turn. When I heard the news this morning I thought, "Well, that didn't take long!"

Then, reading other sites and tweets about this morning's Today, I kept spotting comments saying that the media (including the BBC) were lying about the story and spinning it to make Mr Trump look bad ("Trump agreeing that some parts of his health plan will be similar to some parts of Obama's makes him a liar, apparently"). Others said that the CBS interview actually showed Mr Trump being consistent.

So who to trust: the BBC or some commenters on social media?

Well, if you watch the CBS interview you'll see it continue like this:
CBS interviewer: And there's going to be a period, if you repeal it and before you replace it, when millions of people are going to lose...
Donald Trump (interrupting): We're going to do it simultaneously. It will be just fine. That's what I do. I do a good job. You know, I mean, I know how to do this stuff. We're going to repeal it and replace it. And we're not going to have, like, a two-day period and we're not going to have a two-year period where there's nothing. It will be repealed and replaced, and we'll know. And it will be great healthcare for much less money.
That does sound as if he's still saying what he said during the campaign, but it's the earlier bit that suggests he might have duped his voters - as least from the way it's being reported. 

According to the BBC (and the US media), Mr Trump appeared to be doing a U-turn here by saying he will "now keep elements of the policy" [as Today put it] - namely over pre-[existing] conditions and children living with their parents for an extended period. So, by keeping those two elements of Obamacare, the BBC told us, maybe he "actually perhaps won't completely repeal and replace it" [as Matthew Price put it].

The snag here is that if you Google 'Trump health pre-existing conditions' and 'Trump health children living with their parents' you discover that these are things Mr Trump had said before, months ago.

Clovis said, however, a Trump administration would consider keeping the portion of the law that allows children under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance. 
He said they would also consider keeping the provision that prohibits insurance companies from rejecting applicants simply because they have pre-existing conditions.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump proudly said he supports health care policies that Republicans don't usually embrace. 
Over the past few months, he said he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions and likes the individual mandate requiring everyone to get health insurance.
So what are the BBC and the US media up to here? Why are they suggesting that President-elect Trump has changed his policy when he actually seems to be sticking with with his pre-election policy? 

I can't see what Donald Trump is saying in that CBS interview that's any different to what he was saying before the election. Can you?

Am I missing something here? Or are the BBC either (a) so biased against Trump or (b) so ridiculously bad at doing proper journalism these days that they have completely misreported this story? And, if so, why are no other BBC journalists pointing it out?


  1. Trump said a lot of things, sometimes contradicting previous statements. The BBC hasn't gotten a single thing right, though. All they know is that he said Mexicans are all criminals and that no Muslims should come into the country ever. Also something about black people or something. Which he never actually said, but they all believe it in their very souls anyway.

    Of course they're going to be shocked to hear that Trump doesn't want to put lower-income babies out in the street to die of exposure. They don't know how to handle this now because they've blocked out reasonable thought for so long on. Their reactions now will show just how far wrong they've been this year.

    1. The bbc's habit of leaving off bits that lead to misunderstanding and damage are as underhand as much as the (usually fictional) bits they pursue or create to focus upon.

      This cannot endure much longer, surely?

  2. I agree with David. Trump's stance on Obamacare started out quite pragmatic and similar to what he is saying now. Then he went for more aggressive soundbites that seemed to indicate less belief in any merits of the existing policy. Unfortunately he never provided a clear policy, so it's hard to know exactly what he was planning.