The Glitch That Wasn't

A since-clarified NBC News report on repairs to the website for the new federal health insurance exchange is providing fodder for Fox News to continue its denigration of health care reform.

Observers on all sides of the debate have acknowledged that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act's (also known as the ACA or Obamacare) insurance exchanges site has been bumpy. That website,, up and running since October 1, has dealt with many glitches due to the large number of visitors to the site and other technical problems.

But this fact does not permit news outlets to fabricate problems.

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace kicked off a discussion of the exchanges with Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) by telling him, “The federal website for Obamacare is once again down for repairs this weekend.”

But was not down for the entire weekend, as Wallace suggested. The Fox anchor's comment mirrors a misleading report from NBC that the network subsequently clarified.

On Friday evening, NBC Nightly News misleadingly tweeted that the White House would be taking down for repairs:

A few hours later, NBC had to issue a clarification -- would be down for maintenance only for a four-hour period in the middle of the night:

NBC's initial, irresponsible report gave Fox News much-desired fodder for its campaign against the ACA. The network has cheered on glitches in the exchanges, urged young adults not to gain coverage, and lied about the ACA's impact on the public.