Let's see. We know, to name just a few of many impositions, that much of the enrollee information that HealthCare.gov and other exchanges have communicated to insurers has been erroneous, that insurers have had to deal with signing up hundreds of thousands of policyholders they originally cancelled, that deadlines for premium payments have been serially revised, and that there is no computerized subsidy payment system in place.
Yet Chad Terhune at the Los Angeles Times is irresponsibly steering gullible readers into believing that insurers are responsible for the Obamacare-related chaos and poor customer service, when it's a virtual miracle that anyone is being served at all (HT Patterico; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
A few hours ago, the folks at Twitchy.com caught the following headline at Reuters at a story about Pope Francis: "Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion 'horrific.'" At roughly 11:45 Eastern Time, the headline at Philip Pullella's story carried at Yahoo News ventured even further into the unreal: "Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific.'"
Phil, the Pope is Catholic. Abortion is and always will be a grave, i.e., mortal sin in the Catholic Church. Alleged "conservative" influence is utterly irrelevant. As would be expected, Pullella's content isn't any less ignorant (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Bullying by staffers of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has denied knowledge of their actions when they were taken, is a national news obsession. Bullying by staffers of Colorado Senator Mark Udall — which the Senator has acknowledged and is defending — is barely a blip.
The story, first reported in the Colorado blogosphere at Complete Colorado, is that Udall staffers "worked assiduously to revise press accounts that 249,000 Coloradans received health care cancellation notices" by pressuring the state's Department of Insurance to change the definition of "cancellation." There is no dispute that the cancellations as normal people understand the word occurred (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Jonathan Haidt and Chris Wilson at Time.com claim that "your preferences in dogs, Internet browsers, and 10 other items predict your partisan leanings." So a left-leaning mag which is philosophically united with the crowd that insists that we must be equal opportunity friskers of 4 year-old children and 80 year-old grandmothers at airports because "we shouldn't profile" has no trouble profiling people as conservative or liberal based on the answers to 12 inane questions.
Conservative Rush Limbaugh — cat lover, rebellious teen, and Mac user — will certainly be amused at the questions in the survey, the authors' breezy contentions about what their answers supposedly mean, and the other assertions they make.
A frontrunner for the award going to the most obvious media double standard of the week certainly has to be NBC reporter and Meet the Press host David Gregory.
Asking a question virtually no one in the press has asked about President Barack Obama in matters far weightier than Chris Christie's "Bridgegate," Gregory addressed the following tweet to New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker (HT Twitchy):
In the competition for most obvious Obama administration apparatchik at the Los Angeles Times (i.e., the biggest tool in the toolbox), Doyle McManus has to be considered a front-runner.
As I noted on Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), McManus, in a Sunday column, contended that "President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood." He even petulantly asked, "Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?" McManus was apparently so unconcerned about being seen as inconsistent that he didn't bother telling readers that he held exactly opposite positions on at least two Obama administration "scandals" — that's what he called them – just eight months ago (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall).
I kept looking for any sign that Ta-Nehisi Coates, described as "a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues," was kidding in his Monday afternoon column about Melissa Harris-Perry when he called her "The Smartest Nerd in the Room." He wasn't.
When last seen here at NewsBusters, Coates was pretending that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has consistently widened during the past 20 years, when the reality is that almost all of the widening has occurred during the past five years for which data is available. That delusion is nothing compared to his assessment of Harris-Perry, excerpted after the jump (bold is mine):
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
In June, the Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn filed a report with the following headline: "Kathleen Sebelius: Exchange enrollment goal is 7 million by end of March." She reported in her first two paragraphs that "7 million" is "how many people the Obama administration hopes to enroll in its new health insurance marketplaces by the end of March."
Apparently that clearly expressed target isn't supposed to matter now, and the White House is trying to pretend that it never existed. Of course, the press, including the Politico, has been helping them.
When something important is falling apart — say a relationship or a business idea — it's not always easy to keep up appearances. After all, one still has the occasional private conversation with close friends and confidants where the truth gets acknowledged, even when one doesn't want the rest of the public to know about it.
Meet the Press host David Gregory appears to have forgotten for the briefest moment that he was not in private but in the public eye this morning. As blogger Ann Althouse noted (HT Instapundit; MTP transcript here), Gregory had the following to say at the conclusion of a segment whose purpose was supposedly "to get beyond some of these political arguments over Obamacare here in Washington" by interviewing "two top leaders in the medical field from the hospitals mentioned by the president to give us their insights on the future of Obamacare" (bolds is mine):
In late October, continuing a four-year pattern of making such claims, MIT's Jonathan Gruber, who along with Ezekiel "Zeke the Bleak" Emanuel is considered one of the two "architects" of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, pointed to a study which claimed that "the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money." But, as Wingfield noted in his Friday column, Gruber sang a totally different tune when quoted in the Washington Post on Thursday.
It's hard to know what's more ridiculously entertaining when choosing between Jesse A. Myerson's "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For," the illogical screed in Rolling Stone which would lead to the enslavement of those about whom he claims to be concerned, or Myerson's tweets as the opprobrium has poured in.
Discouraging headlines are appearing about the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, the war U.S. troops won in 2008. Bloomberg News notes, "Al-Qaeda Fighters Take Fallujah as Iraqi Army Attacks." The Washington Post reports that an "Al-Qaeda force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq."
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, the headline writers are apparently more interested in making sure that as few readers as possible take an interest in the story, based on the non-descriptive headline they have chosen to employ:
Obamacare's designers appear to have assumed that life is completely static. As far as they're concerned, people who are single don't marry, women don't have children, married couples don't sometimes divorce, individuals and families don't move, and workers don't change jobs. I say that because HealthCare.gov will from all appearances not accommodate any of the aforementioned common life changes. Seriously. (I'm not about to test that assertion myself; the site is still hopelessly not secure, remember?)
A very weak headline at an Associated Press report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar carried at Yahoo News attempted to limit the damage, perhaps in hopes that smartphone users and others won't click through and see how awful and far more sweeping the problems are (bolds are mine):
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
Apparently, "I will think before I tweet" should be on Irin Carmon's New Year's resolution list. Her failure to do so shortly before the ball dropped in Times Square signaling the beginning of 2014 has caused her considerable embarrassment.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction which "temporarily prevented(the government) from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements (in Obamacare) against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged." MSNBC Digital National Reporter Carmon then proceeded to compare the "wise Latina" to the man who betrayed Julius Caesar (HT Twitchy):
Drudge's headline linking to a Politico item by Carrie Budoff Brown and John Allen about the Obama administration's plans to aggressively identify and promote Obamacare successes in 2014 ("White House Plans to Step up Obamacare Propaganda in 2014") is far better than the tired one Politico itself used ("White House looks to spread good Obamacare news").
What Team Obama plans to pursue will be propaganda, because as it identifies and "spread(s) good news," it's going to have to ignore a far larger volume of bad news. An NBC investigative report (video at link; HT Political Outcast) two days ago about the situation at a Michigan car dealership makes that point about as well as it can be made (bolds are mine):
In an earlier post today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that reporters at Politico and CNNMoney.com seemed mystified at a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showing that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape, and that over half believe it will still be that way a year from now.
One reason for their incredulity is that, perhaps deliberately, they haven't been paying attention to household income data compiled monthly by ex-Census Bureau workers at Sentier Research. Sentier's latest report covering November came out today. It shows that annualized inflation-adjusted median household income is still more than 7 percent below where it was when Barack Obama took office in Janaury 2009, and that it's gone nowhere in the 23 months since December 2011. At an index value of 92.7, November's figure is virtually the same as it was in December 2011 (92.8).
One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.
In a December 27 blog post, New York Times columnist and incurable Keynesian economist Paul Krugman capitalized on the problems United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering Christmas packages on time: "Can’t the private sector do anything right?"
While I recognize that there's sarcasm in his question, Krugman then went on to try to make HealthCare.gov's problems appear analogous: "[M]any pundits were quick to declare healthcare.gov’s problems evidence of the fundamental, irretrievable incompetence of government, and as an omen of Obamacare’s inevitable collapse. ... (But) none of these people are making similar claims about UPS or Amazon." Since the Nobel Economics laureate appears to be too dense to understand the differences between the two situations, Robert P. Murphy, "the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism," explained many of them in a Sunday post at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada's web site (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Bloomberg Businessweek and others are trying to capitalize on the difficulties United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering packages in time for Christmas to claim that the U.S. Postal Service is coming out of it smelling like a rose ("An Unlikely Star of the Holiday-Shipping Season: The U.S. Postal Service").
Not so fast, people. Let's be extremely generous and take it as a given that the Post Office didn't have any late arrivals, and that it deserves props for delivering 75,000 packages on Christmas Day. It's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison, but based on the quoted number of packages UPS planned to deliver on Christmas Eve, the private company's package volume, particularly its air package volume, dwarfs that of the Post Office, and would overwhelm it if it tried to pull off what UPS routinely does:
The fascination with and excuse-making for long-gone communist dictators responsible for the murders of millions during their reigns is a long-standing phenomenon.
Both CNBC and the New York Times continued that hoary tradition last week. Each headlined reports on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong (whose name was written as Mao Tse-Tung until about two decades ago) with "Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao!" headlines. CNBC's appears after the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Remember when George W. Bush was intensely criticized in 2004 for using a couple of seconds of footage from the World Trade Center attacks in a campaign commercial? He was "exploiting" 9/11. Let's talk about an example of really crass exploitation which the press has largely ignored.
As reported by Politico's Joseph Delreal, recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter Chiara recently opened up "about her struggles with depression and substance abuse and for her decision to seek treatment." White House National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, "in a statement issued by the White House," praised "her and the entire de Blasio family for addressing this important public health issue." Fair enough. But he went one step further, as seen after the jump:
With a headline at a Washington Post story by Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin reading "Obama administration quietly extends health-care enrollment deadline by a day," you would think that the administration issued some kind of press release without comment — or at least, as was the case with its announcement waiving the individual mandate for those who had individual policies cancelled, communicated the change to sympathetic senators or congresspersons.
Nope. The Post's detailed coverage tells us that those involved merely made "a software change that government officials and IT contractors inserted into the computer system over the weekend for the online insurance marketplace." Readers will see who was actually told about the change after the jump (bolds are mine):
In a Monday, December 23 write-up, Associated Press National Writer Jocelyn Noveck went so over-the-top in her awe at Miley Cyrus's ability to attract attention during 2013 that she called her "this year's pop-culture prom queen," and included a mention of Cyrus in her rundown of "pop culture moments" during every month of the year.
As I noted earlier this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a few days after Noveck went all-Miley, all-the-time, an AP report noted that the wire service could only round up 70 responses from thousands of subscribing news organizations to its "Entertainer of the Year" survey. Though actress Jennifer Lawrence "won" the award by getting 15 votes to Cyrus's 14, the real winner was clearly either "None of the Above" or "Who Cares?" Had she known, it seems that Noveck would still have engaged in the nincompoopery which follows the jump (bolds are mine):
On April 10, the New York Times almost singlehandedly revived the political career of disgraced Anthony Weiner with an 8,300-word profile of the former Congressman, his wife, and their baby boy Jonathan. Clay Waters at NewsBusters noted shortly thereafter that Jonathan van Meter's profile, which revealed Weiner's intention to become a candidate in New York City's mayoral race while somehow avoiding still-open questions about Weiner's "underage girl problem," had its intended effect, as the major broadcast networks fell in line to "promote his political rehabilitation."
We all know that the attempted rehabilitation failed spectacularly, because the supposed personal rehabilitation which formed its basis turned out to be completely fictional. In late July, a Times editorial called for Weiner to withdraw from the race without owning up to the role the paper had played in his attempted revival. So it figures that the Times, which identified Weiner's demise as one of 2013's "political lowlights" earlier in the day, would ignore Weiner's "Look at me" Thursday Facebook post.
According to its Frequently Asked Questions page, the Associated Press "currently (has) around 1,400 U.S. daily newspaper members and thousands of television and radio broadcast members."
The wire service attempted to identify 2013's Entertainer of the Year by sending out an "annual survey of its newspaper and broadcast members and subscribers." Based on the response rate, it should have either called the whole thing off, or named "None of the Above" or "Who Cares?" as the year's hands-down winner. Wait until you see how many responses AP got to its survey, as noted in Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen's report after the jump (bolds are mine):
Their stated excuse is, "These could never happen here, so why should U.S. news consumers care?" Their real excuse is, "We don't want anyone thinking that Obamacare could lead to this, even though there are already plenty of signs that it will."
Two weeks ago, the UK Daily Mail reported on three just-released "damming reports" on Great Britain's government-run National Health Service. A separate December 20 UK Telegraph dispatch reports that the NHS is "on the brink of crisis" because it has been "treated as a 'national religion' while millions of patients receive a 'wholly unsatisfactory' service from GPs and hospitals." A scroll through supposedly U.S.-based news results from December 11-26 in a search on "national health service" (in quotes" at Google News returns precious little actual coverage here; the few exceptions are at conservative-leaning outlets like Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog. Excerpts from both UK items just noted follow the jump.