Weekly Standard Corrects Buffet Reporting, Fails Again

After falsely claiming that comments made by investor Warren Buffett in 2010 were made recently as an attack on the Affordable Care Act, The Weekly Standard doubled down, correcting the date but still wrongly insisting that Buffett's comments were “anti-Obamacare” even as Buffett was reinforcing his support for the law.

On September 17, the right-wing website Money Morning published a quote from Buffett saying “What we have now is untenable over time,” claiming he was criticizing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The quote was picked up by The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey H. Anderson, who wrote: “You know things are bad for President Obama when even Warren Buffett has soured on Obamacare and says that 'we need something else.'” After several media outlets pointed out that Buffetts comments were made in 2010, the Standard updated their post:

It appears that Buffett made his anti-Obamacare comments in 2010, thereby showing that he, like most of the American people, has opposed Obamacare since even before it was passed--a point that Mark Hemingway addressed yesterday in response to USA Today's implication that Americans' widespread dislike of Obamacare is mostly attributable to Republicans' efforts to fight it.

But the Weekly Standard's correction still misinterpreted Buffett's comments. In a post criticizing the Weekly Standard's original story, New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait pointed out that Buffett's 2010 remarks had nothing to do with the ACA, but were referring to the health care system without any kind of reform, a fact that the Weekly Standard's post continued to ignore as the correction maintained that Buffett's comments were critical of the law:

In fact, the Buffett quote came from comments he made in 2010, when the health-care law was being cobbled together in Congress. His denunciation of “what we have right now” refers to the pre-Obamacare status quo. Buffett said in that interview he would prefer a better health-care bill than the one that was before Congress, but also preferred the one before Congress to doing nothing and would vote for it: “If it was a choice today between plan A, which is what we've got, or plan B, what is in front of -- the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill,” Buffett said. “But I would much rather see a plan C that really attacks costs.”

Chait also pointed to an Omaha World-Herald article on the backlash to Money Morning's post which quoted Buffett calling articles like the Weekly Standard's “outrageous” and restating his support for the law:

Stories saying that Warren Buffett wants to “scrap Obamacare” are false, the Omaha investor said Tuesday.

“This is outrageous,” Buffett said in a World-Herald interview Tuesday. “It's 100 percent wrong ... totally false.”


Buffett said the stories took his comments out of context and added the “scrapped” wording.

“I've never suggested nor thought Obamacare should be scrapped,” said Buffett, who has supported Obama's political campaigns. “I support it. It relates to providing medical care for all Americans. That's something I've thought should be done for a long, long time.”

The right-wing media also attempted to distort Buffett's comments as an attack on the ACA when they were made originally in 2010.