The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
That's an amazingly low number, considering Ms. Packham's aggressive attempts to gain visibility in her job as a lead Obamacare navigator in Florida, and the utterly ridiculous assertion she made earlier this week about the impact of credit scores on healthcare premiums — an assertion she has retracted without anything resembling an acceptable explanation (HT Conservative Intel; video at link; bolds are mine):
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney's answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won't have to wait to see how the nation's healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let's get the Blaze's rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):
Calvin Woodward finally got around to "fact-checking" Obamacare's "slippery claims" this morning, 3-1/2 years after the Affordable Care Act became law and the day before open enrollment in its state insurance exchanges was to begin. Way to be there when it matters, Cal.
Woodward's report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) also mixed in budget showdown issues, and buried President Barack Obama's original false claim, that "If you like your health plan, you can keep it," in a very late paragraph. Such courage (/sarcasm). Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
You have to wonder what it will take for anyone in the establishment press to call out a major malfunction associated with Obamacare for what it really is. The threshold is apparently something worse than hundreds of thousands of children, many of whom previously had coverage, going without health insurance.
One of the latest headlined examples of reality avoidance first appeared at USA Today's web site Monday evening (the current 11:55 p.m. time stamp indicates that there has since been a story revision): "'Family glitch' in health law could be painful."(Could be?) Additionally, as seen here (HT Twitchy), that pathetic headline to Kelly Kennedy's story also appears in McPaper's Tuesday print edition (bolds are mine):
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out the "potential conflict of interest" in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson detailed how congressional Republican are scrutinizing Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy's involvement in naming staff to the Accountability Review Board, even as it was investigating his role in the lead-up to the September 11, 2012 attack. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It was Attkisson's first report about Benghazi on CBS's morning and evening newscasts since the May 8, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning. Her report that day was the first time in over five months that the journalist reported about the story on the air.
Tuesday's CBS This Morning spotlighted the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, but whitewashed the role of President Obama and his administration, including that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King didn't once mention Obama or Clinton's name during an interview segment with author Fred Burton.
In his new book, Burton revealed that "an unidentified security official in the Benghazi compound...messaged the U.S. embassy in Tripoli: 'Benghazi under fire, terrorist attack.'" However, Rose only vaguely referenced the White House's now-discredited talking point about the terrorist attack: "Does this book and your understanding of it suggest that everybody knew it was a planned attack, and not a surprise arising out of a protest?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
On Wednesday at CBSnews.com, Sharyl Attkisson reported that "Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico."
A Google News search at 10 a.m. on ["Fast and Furious" guns] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, past 7 days, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 26 relevant items. Very few (to be noted later) are from establishment press outlets.
Late Thursday, news broke of the State Department ordering numerous U.S. embassies across the Middle East closed on Sunday, August 4 due to terror threats from Al Qaeda. While the Big Three network evening newscasts all covered the important development that night, not one of them made any mention of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the perpetrators of which remain at large.
By Friday morning, the networks managed to add brief mentions of Benghazi to their reporting. On NBC's Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted: "... in the aftermath of Benghazi, the State Department is not taking any chances....Amidst ongoing turmoil across the Middle East, from Cairo's Tahrir Square to the civil war in Syria, and past attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts, from Benghazi, Libya last year..."
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
Scott Pelley devoted a minute and a half segment to the IRS scandal on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, the first time that the Big Three newscast had mentioned the issue in a month. Pelley asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew if "any political appointee had oversight of the decisions that were made around the Tea Party applications", and reported on some of the recent developments in the scandal.
Mere hours later, Thursday's CBS This Morning didn't even cover the IRS portion of the Lew interview, but did play a clip of Pelley asking the Cabinet official about the economy.
Imagine if -- and you'd have to imagine it, because it never happened -- the George W. Bush administration had sent members of its Justice Department to a city where a black man charged with murder was claiming self-defense in the killing of a non-African-American for the purposes of ginning up protests against the accused. Establishment press coverage and would have been justifiably intense.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch revealed that it had obtained documents showing that "a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman." In other words, DOJ did to Zimmerman what I just noted Bush 43 administration never did and would never have considered doing. JW's bombshell is not news at the Associated Press or at the Politico.
We’re halfway through 2013, and PBS’s Washington Week used last Friday’s episode to reflect on the past six months of D.C. politics. During the course of the reflections, moderator Gwen Ifill trotted out the oft-uttered liberal complaint about “distractions” that have impeded President Obama’s second-term agenda so far.
She lamented, “You know, the one thing that's been a common theme throughout this first six months has been distractions. The ways in which pure politics has driven what ends up happening.” [Video below the break.]
Charlie Rose forwarded the latest liberal spin about the IRS scandal on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. The anchor hyped how the agency apparently placed liberal groups on "be-on-the-lookout" lists, and asked Rep. Paul Ryan, "Does it look less partisan with this new information?"
Moments earlier in the morning newscast, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported that "groups were flagged for a whole variety of reasons when they applied for tax-exempt status, and Democrats say that's proof that there was no partisan agenda at the IRS." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
In a desperate attempt to dismiss the ongoing IRS scandal, on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown on Tuesday, host and NBC News political director Chuck Todd seized on reports "that it wasn't just conservative groups who were targeted by the IRS" and wondered if it was "turning into a story of Republicans overplaying their hand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to his panel of guests, absent any conservative, Todd proclaimed: "The IRS 'scandal' looks like it's a bureaucratic scandal. Not the political scandal that Republicans were wishing that they had come up with." He made air quotes with his hands as he said the word "scandal." Panelist Michelle Bernard eagerly agreed with Todd's assertion: "Absolutely. They – it appears that they have really overplayed their hand."
Netroots Nation, the leftist annual convention currently in progress in San Jose (next year it's in Detroit; can't wait), bills itself as a "connector of awesome progressive activists."
Based on Emily Schultheis's Saturday morning report at the Politico on the viewpoints of those in attendance, the gathering's slogan should really be, "Blame it on Bush and Boehner." The Politico reporter also professes surprise that these largely angry leftists aren't angry at President Barack Obama, as if anyone would have really expected that (bolds are mine):
"The national news media are aiding and abetting a censorship campaign," regarding the "cascading" IRS scandal, Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell argued on the June 21 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.
Bozell noted, for example, that only CBS's This Morning covered the fact that IRS officials received $70 million in employee bonuses this year, despite a White House order freezing such bonuses during the sequester cutbacks. [MP3 audio here; Watch the video of the segment following the page break]
The Big Three all punted on covering the Capitol Hill "Audit the IRS" rally on their Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. CBS This Morning played a four-second soundbite of Senator Ted Cruz addressing the thousands of Tea Party activists in attendance, but CBS, along with ABC and NBC, didn't air a full report or news brief on the protest.
The CBS morning show also stood out for spotlighting how the "IRS is under fire again...it's paying $70 million in employee bonuses, despite a White House order." CBS This Morning devoted 47 seconds of coverage to this latest IRS controversy, while ABC and NBC ignored the development.
Updated at bottom of post: Finney responds via Twitter | Former DNC communications director Karen Finney haughtily claims she wants to “disrupt” the conversation on her new MSNBC weekend show, Disrupt. It’s quickly become apparent that all Finney wants to do on the Lean Forward network is distort conservative claims – and distract viewers from the scandals plaguing the Obama administration.
Finney and guest Jonathan Capehart hyped their own liberal “conspiracy” theory on Sunday’s program, claiming the only reason Republicans care about the IRS scandal is because they want to “deny the IRS the additional funds that they need for the implementation” of ObamaCare.
Thursday night, both Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity showed and commented on a new video done by the Media Research Center that showed a disturbing trend among some college students at George Mason University. In the video, MRCTV reporter Dan Joseph posed as a liberal hater of Fox News to try to get students to sign a petition urging the Obama administration to spy on Fox News employees and their families’ phone and email records. [Listen to the audio here or watch the video after the jump]
This, of course, was done in the wake of the revelation that the Justice Department seized the phone and email records of Fox News correspondent James Rosen, and the phone records of the Associated Press.
On Monday, Charlie Rose was more than halfway through his 47-minute interview with President Obama on PBS before he finally brought up one of the several scandals surrounding the liberal's administration. Rose pursued Obama about the NSA's leaked domestic surveillance program, but failed to mention any of the other scandals, including the IRS's targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department's investigation of journalists.
The veteran journalist also echoed the President's critics from the left about "the notion of that you have simply continued the policies of Bush/Cheney...many people say you're Bush/Cheney-lite. And then, people write columns saying, no, no, no, he's not that at all! He's tougher."
Both parties constantly make accusations that their rival is engaged in hypocritical, unethical, or illegal behavior. But given the drastic lack of ideological diversity in the American elite media, the general public usually only hears about such accusations against Republicans.
Beyond the fact that biased reporting shapes public opinion to favor the left, it may also have an effect on law enforcement. The persistent lies that have been told about right-leaning political groups by leading Democrats, including President Obama himself, may have led to the IRS abuses of power that we’ve heard so much about in recent weeks.
Either CNN's Tom Cohen, his headline and subheadline writers, or both thought it was a bit over the top to describe the IRS's targeting of Tea Party, conservative, and religious groups as a "forgotten scandal" in a Friday story. Evidence that the subheadline originally read "Republicans try to keep the public focused on the forgotten scandal of IRS targeting of conservative groups" is here and here.
As will be seen after the jump, Cohen tries to make the case that there's nothing to see, that everyone who matters agrees with him, and that forgetting about the scandal would be defensible (bolds are mine):
In a four-paragraph "Big Story" item time-stamped 10:48 a.m. ("CURRENT, FORMER OFFICIALS BACK SECRET SURVEILLANCE"), Stephen Braun at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, names several Sunday news program guests who he writes are "are supporting the government's collection of phone and Internet data following new revelations about the secret surveillance programs aimed at disrupting terrorist plots." Meanwhile, the Politico is hyping former Vice President Dick Cheney's characterization of Edward Snowden as a "traitor."
Both outlets, and thus far most of the establishment press, are ignoring a report by CNETs Declan McCullagh Saturday afternoon which I believe would be dominating the news by now if anyone except Barack Obama were President. It directly contradicts an assertion Obama made -- "Nobody is listening to your phone calls" -- shortly after the NSA-Snowden story broke, and one of Congress' most liberal Democrats is the source (links are in original; bolds are mine):
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration, as I demonstrated in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked.
This post will further show that polling data Babington cited near the end of his report contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked, and that polling data he cited near the end of his report (to be covered in Part 2) contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
You can tell that Babington's effort was something out of the ordinary, because the self-described "Essential Global Network" actually used the term "far left" in the story's headline and content. In a U.S. story, that almost never happens unless a reporter is quoting a far-leftists' conservative or moderate opponent. Usually, the only time you see "far left" used in U.S. AP content is to identify a person's placement in a photo. Excerpts from the story follow the jump.
Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.