As I noted yesterday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked to identify a specific accomplishment during her tenure there, failed to answer the question, instead falling back on the Obama administration's tired "we inherited a terrible economy" meme.
Never let it be said that yours truly doesn't try to be helpful. Here's an "accomplishment" I can attribute to Mrs. Clinton, though I suspect she won't want to put it at the top of her resume as she promotes her anticipated presidential candidacy: presiding over an out of control agency. During each of the past four years, outside auditors have found that State had several "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting (of course, the last eight months of the most recent year belong to current Secretary of State John Kerry). Additionally, State's Inspector General recently identified "contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all." Though the IG's report was released on Thursday, it conveniently escaped coverage by the Associated Press until Saturday afternoon. The unbylined AP report itself was cursory and inadequate:
On April 1 for its April 2 print edition, the New York Times allowed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to hold forth in an op-ed about how wondrously the country has been ruled since 1998, mostly by the late Bolivarian thug Hugo Chavez and during the past year by himself.
Maduro's piece made the Times's print edition. The Times posted letters objecting to Maduro's characterizations of his country from Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, an opposition leader, and Congressman Edward R. Royce, but appears not to have printed them. I say that because there is no indication at the letters themselves that they were printed, and because certain other letters on unrelated matters are (examples here and here; scroll to the bottom in each instance). The Times did post and print a letter from Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Friday for Saturday's (less-read) print edition. The Times, to likely no one's surprise, has been lax in reporting ongoing developments in that deeply troubled country.
Several weeks ago, MRC-TV's Dan Joseph visited the Democratic Party's winter meeting to see if attendees could name a single tangible of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. They couldn't. It turns out that Hillary Clinton herself can't even do that.
Remember how Texas Governor Rick Perry was mercilessly ridiculed in the press for his 2011 debate brain cramp when he couldn't identify the third of three federal government agencies he would eliminate? At the Women of the World Summit in New York City on Thursday — an event held at, of all places, the David H. Koch Theater (you can't make this stuff up) — Mrs. Clinton rambled on and on in a response to a question about what she was most proud of in looking at her time as Secretary of State, but never identified even one specific accomplishment (HT Capitol City Project):
This afternoon, in an unbylined item headlined "US BUSINESS HIRING FINALLY TOPS RECESSION LOSSES," the Associated Press showed that it deserves the nickname "Administration's Press." The story embarrassingly described the job market's return to its previous January 2008 employment peak as a "pivotal moment." Get real. Given over six additional years of growth in the adult population, that's hardly the case.
To his credit, the AP's Christopher Rugaber, in a separate later submission, tamped down the enthusiasm, noting that "the economy is still millions of jobs short of where it should be by now." That's for sure. But whoever wrote the headline to Rugaber's story told an obvious untruth:
Though he didn't quite get to the "Shut up, he said" threshold, Politico's David Nather, in a Tuesday tome, argued that HealthCare.gov allegedly crossing the 7 million enrollment threshold leaves opponents blubbering, and supports the argument "that government can still solve big social problems" and is "a wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives."
It's as if Nather believes — and maybe he does, in which case he's woefully ignorant — that not achieving the enrollment target is about the only potential problem with HealthCare.gov. Uh, not exactly. Just off the top of my head, there's the lack of site security, the absence of back-office interaction with insurance carriers, miscalculations of subsidies, the system's outrageous cost, and the complete inability of enrollees to add, change or delete elements of what they submitted to correct inadvertent errors or reflect changes in their life circumstances. I'm sure that only scratches the surface. Excerpts from Nather's nattering follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
When an unmistakable embarrassment to liberalism occurs, a standard establishment press fallback tactic is to accuse conservatives of some form of incivility — and if there really isn't one, to make up a story about it anyway.
That's exactly what Bloomberg Businsessweek's Paul M. Barrett did on Tuesday in covering the NRA's reaction to the arrest of California State Senator and ardent gun control advocate Leland Yee on gun trafficking charges. The story's headline claimed that the group did "a victory dance." Barrett's content claimed that it was "gloating" and "strained to veil its pleasure." In truth, the group was doing nothing of the sort — unless the speech police now believe that making any kind of obvious observation about a liberal's failure is inherently unfair:
Two weeks ago, Nicholas Riccardi at the Associated Press basically gave an open mic to immigration amnesty groups who pretend to believe that the Obama administration has been deporting more immigrants who are here illegally per year than previous administrations did. Some of the groups involved are moving to disruptive tactics which look more like attempts at mob rule than those employed in a civil society.
Today, several center-right news outlets and blogs are reporting that the Center for Immigration Studies has reviewed information recently released by Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm. Unsurprisingly, CIS has found far more laxness in deportation efforts. But what may surprise many, and what should be reported by AP and other establishment press outlets if they have any consistency and integrity, is how nonchalant the administration has been in releasing hardened criminals onto America's streets. Stephen Dinan at the Washington Times appears to have been the first to report on situation on Sunday:
Over at Hot Air, Dustin Siggins writes that Andrea and Colin Chisholm "are getting enormous media attention." Perhaps, and I really hope so. Unfortunately, I found no evidence of any level of attention to the Chisholms, the apparently very rich couple who allegedly engaged in protracted fraud against the welfare systems of Florida and Minnesota for seven years, at several national establishment press outlets.
Here are some of the infuriating details from ABC's weekend "Good Morning America" show, a rare establishment press exception (bolds are mine):
The Associated Press has a breaking news update: If you want to apply for Obamacare at HealthCare.gov today and you've never set up an account, forget about doing so for the time being.
The update is is running under this morning's old headline ("HEALTH CARE WEBSITE STUMBLES ON LAST DAY"), begging the question as to when a "stumble" turns into "I've fallen and I can't get up" (HT to several tweeters):
The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.
Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):
Pushed back from the headlines, massive protests against the repressive Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela continue.
So do the killings by the "colectivos." If this group of thugs enforcing Maduoro's Chavista socialist nightmare were instead right-wing paramilitary types, they would long since have been christened "death squads" and garnered international attention. A story about the colectivos finally appeared in the Associated Press today. While the coverage by Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak was mostly measured, it completely ignored the fact the colectivos can operate without fear of armed resistance because of government curbs on purchases, transfers, and public carrying of guns.
One (among many) of the more stunning elements of Obamacare's six-month run thus far has been the administration's increasingly desperate ploys to get "millennials" to sign up as the sort-of enrollment deadline looms. One of the more appalling of those involved President Obama himself appearing on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” show and directing scripted insults at the host. Almost no one in the establishment press has commented on how stunts such as these diminish the dignity which used to be associated with the highest office in the land.
Building on that personal involvement, Saturday Night Live's opening skit last night showed several other made-up (I hope) attempts to make "Get Covered" go viral, including presidential photo and video ops with Kim Kardashian and the Pope, respectively. The final effort possibly included spreading viruses, as it required Obama to kiss Justin Bieber ... on the lips. Video of that skit (obvious warning to those who don't would rather not see the final act: stop the tape) follows the jump (HT the Blaze):
The headline and first paragraph at an Associated Press item on a union strike authorization vote in Las Vegas are both far more vague than they could or should be.
Though the rest of Ken Ritter's coverage at least identifies the union involved, it completely fails to get to the heart of the matter, which is that Obamacare is causing huge increases in their employers' cost of providing health care coverage. Culinary Union Local 226 wants their casino company employers to, well, eat those costs, and the companies are resisting. Ritter's coverage, which to those who understand the full background reads like an exercise in stall-ball, never even specifically says that health benefits are this potential strike's key issue (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Although its report has its shortcomings, particularly the fact that it didn't identify him as a Democrat for 24 paragraphs (as noted this morning), the Associated Press has at least treated California State Senator Leland Yee's arrest on corruption and gun trafficking charges as a national story, with two bylined reporters and seven others assisting.
The same cannot be said of CNN.com. Web searchers, including several center-right bloggers, have noted the absence of any story about Yee there since 2011 (still true as of 6:30 p.m.). A tweet from "CNN.com Writers" snippily snapped back with a howler disproved faster than you can say "covering Democrats' keisters":
Brickbats to Phillip Rawls and his layers of editors at the Associated Press.
Vietnam war hero and former Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton died on Friday. He was an incredibly courageous and inspiring man who after his return from 7-1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam became deeply troubled at where this nation was (and still is) headed. Unsurprisingly, he became a strong pro-life and family values advocate. Apparently following an unwritten rule at AP which dictates that a writer must take at least one parting shot at a conservative upon his or her death (see: Tony Snow), Rawls took two, twice describing Denton as "rigid" (includes video of a portion of his 1966 "torture" interview; bolds are mine):
It's no secret that the folks who run the New York Times are big fans of gun control. It turns out that they also favor controlling the use of the word "gun" in headlines about Democrats.
Over at National Review's Campaign Spot yesterday, regarding the news of Democratic California Senator Leland Yee's arrest, Jim Geraghty noted: "The New York Times greeted that news with a one paragraph summary on page A21 Wednesday with the headline: 'California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.'" That A21 one-paragrapher is an AP item. According to a long AP report on Yee's arrest, Yee, a longtime gun control advocate himself, is charged with "six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license." In addition to burying the story in its back pages, let's look at what the Times did to the AP's original headline:
As I noted on Saturday, the idea that a state with about $6 billion in overdue unpaid bills would choose to raise taxes and apply the money to new spending is appalling. But when it comes to describing a state's finances, "appalling" and "Illinois" have belonged in the same sentence for so long, it's hard to remember when that wasn't the case.
Part of the reason that such proposals gain traction is that the press only occasionally reminds its readers, listeners and viewers of the past-due balance situation. As Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal to increase the income tax on incomes above $1 million by 60 percent (from 5 percent to 8 percent made legislative headway and Govenor Pat Quinn surprised absolutely no one by backing the idea of making supposedly "temporary" income tax increases imposed three years ago permanent, both the local Chicago Daily Herald and the Associated Press predictably failed in this regard.
An email yesterday from CNNMoney touted how fantastic it was that Obamacare enrollment has reached the six million threshold, even describing it as a "symbolic victory." Though the underlying article by Tami Luhby at least noted the problems with that 6 million figure, those problems should have been enough to negate that characterization. Instead, Luhby repeated it in her coverage (bolds are mine):
This post builds on Geoffrey Dickens' post late this morning ("American Horror Story: Tales of ObamaCare Victims Untold by the Big Three Networks") about the virtual lack of any kind of coverage of the real people affected by Obamacare.
Perhaps some readers believe that little coverage is occurring because there are few if any local situations worthy enough to rise to the level of national coverage. There are two responses to that. The first is that the national outlets must not be looking for them, because they are out there, and they could find them if they wanted to (the British press often does a better job covering Obamacare than stateside outlets). The second is that local TV broadcasts have carried plenty of Obamacare-related horror stories. While some of the situations cited in the video from the Washington Free Beacon following the jump (50 States of Obamacare Victims) are of politicians delivering speeches, all of the rest of the 50 clips cite real people or groups of people with real problems caused by Obamacare:
One of the odd things about the weekend pot-stirring by Matt Drudge over his stated inclusion of one-quarter of his estimated 2014 "Obamacare penalty" tax for not carrying health insurance coverage this year — calling it a "liberty tax" — is that few if any of those who criticized him seem to have bothered to consult with a tax practitioner for an expert take on the matter before what we now know were serious misfires. Either that, or they did, decided that they didn't like the answers, and crawled back into their holes. That list includes Jesse Lee, the White House's Director of Progressive Media and Online Response (yes, that's a real position), who didn't even understand that Drudge is paying this year's taxes this year, not last year's taxes.
Thus, I thought it would be useful to publish a note I received this morning from someone who works at a CPA firm in the Midwest who had a chance to read my NewsBusters post on Tuesday and two earlier technical posts (here and here) at my home blog (bolds are mine):
Pass the smelling salts. Wednesday afternoon Pacific Time (early evening Eastern Time), someone at the Los Angeles Times actually noticed something quite a bit less than perfect about the Democratic Party and its politicians.
Okay, it's an analysis piece at the Politics Now blog by Political Editor Cathleen Decker. But most LA Times "analyses" are insufferably far to the left and consist of some combination of blatant falsehoods, mean-spirited attacks on Republicans and conservatives, bowing down to the pseudo-science of climate change, and effusive praise of Democrats even as they fail. Thus, Decker's piece sticks out like a red-clad University of Louisville fan sitting in the deep-blue University of Kentucky cheering section. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):
Someone needs to tell the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown that it isn't 2008 any more. While they're at it, that person also needs to inform her that the Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, could give a rip about whether or not he is perceived as "cool," and certainly isn't Obama's "replacement."
Budoff Brown wrote tonight that President Barack Obama's meeting tomorrow with the Pope "is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own." Gag me. Obama's ability to move merchandise, one of the supposed indicators of "cool" tanked in the fall of 2009 and has never come back. Excerpts for readers who can stand more such drivel follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Here's an example of a gaffe which the left-loving press can't ignore — at least online.
Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley of Iowa spoke of the mortal dangers the nation faces if Republicans win back the Senate in November at a trial lawyers' fundraiser in Texas in January. Among those dangers is the near certainty that "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" will be put in charge of the Senate's Judiciary Committee. That "farmer" happens to be five-term Hawkeye State GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register's Iowa Politics Blog appears to have filed the first establishment press report on Braley's belittling, and revealed an important point which others covering the story are conveniently ignoring (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At President Barack Obama's press conference in The Hague, Netherlands today, as part of a much longer question, ABC's Jonathan Karl asked Obama whether "Mitt Romney had a point when he said that Russia is America’s biggest geopolitical foe? If not Russia, who?"
It's important to note that Obama's response to that portion of Karl's question pertained to and was directed at Romney. A video containing Karl's question and Obama's answer ("With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia’s our number- one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that, you know, America’s got a whole lot of challenges. Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors -- not out of strength, but out of weakness") shows that the President's tone at that point was generally calm with a bit of a defiant edge which seemed directed at Romney and Karl (perhaps not in that order). That didn't stop the establishment press from claiming that Obama's statement was really an insult directed at Russia (it wasn't) and that the President supposedly directed his "derisive" statement towards Russian President Vladimir Putin (he didn't).
Risen is the Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist for The New York Times who has been in the Obama administration's crosshairs "in a years-long legal battle against the government to reveal one of his confidential sources, even petitioning the Supreme Court to hear his case." On Monday, according to Andrew Beaujon at Poynter.org, Risen, appearing at at a George Polk Awards conference called Sources and Secrets, went after the Obama administration's heavy-handedness towards the press (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday afternoon, Matt Drudge announced in a tweet that "(I) Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not 'getting covered'... I'M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!"
A White House spokesman and the "progressive" press proceeded to thoroughly embarrass itself in its rebuttal attempts. How do I know? Because, four days later, despite the substantial and widely-known uproar, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, doesn't even have a story on the topic; a search at 11:30 p.m. on Monday on Drudge's last name came up empty. If Drudge's detractors had the upper hand, AP would be all over it.
It takes quite an effort to for a Democrat to produce a campaign ad which is so obviously and blatantly false that it virtually forces the left-loving Politifact to promptly issue a "Pants on Fire" evaluation. But that's what Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke managed to do when her campaign's opening TV ad claimed that "under (incumbent Republican Governor Scott) Walker, unemployment’s up."
Two weeks later on March 18, when Burke was asked if she regretted promoting such a self-evident lie, her answer was "No." Somehow, that's not news. Imagine if a Republican or conservative ... oh, you know the rest. Additionally, and as if on cue, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press felt compelled to write a story with cherry-picked and clearly outdated data about how job creation in Wisconsin under Walker has been less than the governor thought he would achieve when he ran for office in 2010, and even gave Burke's blatant lie the appearance of truth (bolds are mine):
I would say "Only in Illinois," but I suspect that other states have similar problems and would propose "solutions" just as nutty as the Democratic state Speaker Michael Madigan and his party have chosen.
The states has an unpaid bills backlog of $5.8 billion, meaning that vendors are going months before they get paid. We're supposed to be thrilled that this total is down from $8.8 billion several years ago. So when I read that Madigan wants to impose a "millionaire" income tax of 3 percent over and above the steep tax increases on income-earning Illinois residents across the board three years ago, I figured that he would at least plan on using the money to further whittle down those past-due amounts. Silly me. Unfortunately, reporters Ray Long, Monique Garcia and Maura Zurick at the Chicago Tribune didn't even bring the topic of old bills up in covering Madigan's ill-advised plan, which seems to have more to do with swaying the November election results — especially the race for the governor's mansion — than anything substantive:
In another development most of the establishment press, with the usual exception of Fox News and the unusual exception of Reuters, has thus far predictably ignored, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Friday the indictment of University of California-Santa Barbara Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young on charges of "theft from a person, battery, and vandalism." The case's first hearing is scheduled for April 4.
To bring those who didn't see your truly's Monday post up to speed: "As seen in a video at the YouTube site of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust (warning: profanity), a UCSB assistant professor (MIller-Young) took a sign away from a participant in a campus pro-life outreach effort. Flanked by two students, she took the sign back to her office and destroyed it." Excerpts from the Reuters report by Laila Kearney follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
It wouldn't be Saint Patrick's Day in the 21st century U.S. without a parade controversy. As has been the case in Boston for well over 20 years, even after a unanimous Supreme Court decision affirmed the parade sponsors' position in a 1995 ruling, it concerns the exclusion of what the conservative, social values-oriented group Mass Resistance charitably describes as the "gay pride parade" element.
Apparently, the "gay pride" element thought that the arrival of new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who replaced Tom Menino after Menino's 21 years at the helm in January, would be their opportunity to intimidate their way into the parade. It didn't work. Of particular note is how aggressive and hostile reporters at both local newspapers, the ultraliberal Globe and the supposedly center-right Herald, were towards the parade's organizers and sponsors (links are in original; some bolds are mine):