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):
In a bizarre writeup which alternates between harsh criticism and a pity party about President Barack Obama's "toughness" or lack thereof in the wake of the withdrawal of Larry Summers from consideration as the next head of the Federal Reserve, Politico's Jonathan Allen unleashed a ridiculous assertion about the history of the administration's Syrian adventure: "In another debate that never came up for a vote the White House could have easily lost, Obama was led into asking Congress for approval to bomb Syria."
One wonders how the leader of the still most powerful country on earth can be "led" into anything, but especially in this case, given that it was Obama who came up with the "brilliant" idea of asking for Congressional authorization even though he said he didn't need it.
One thing which is almost as reliable as the sun rising in the east is the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, putting a better face on the federal government's fiscal situation than it deserves when a Democrat is in the White House. Almost as reliable is the arrival in a related report of some kind of statement about spending cuts which describes them as "deep," "steep," or some other awful adjective.
I guess we should acknowledge a tiny improvement when an ordinarily in-the-tank apparatchik like Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press expresses even the slightest bit of skepticism about a White House claim.
But let's not take it too far. Kuhnhenn is reporting in a brief "Big Story" item this morning that President Obama "is laying claim to an economic turnaround and warning Republicans not to risk a backslide by threatening a government shutdown or a debt default." Kuhnhenn's skeptical points are that "The economic scorecard is mixed. ... Growth has been tepid and unemployment remains high." His five-paragraph report, reproduced in full for fair use and discussion purposes, follows the jump.
As is all too often the case, in certain matters affecting things here in the United States, if we didn't have news from Britain, we wouldn't have any real news at all.
Take "climate change" aka "global warming." At the Associated Press, Seth Borenstein on Thursday hyped the idea that man-made global warming increased the likelihood of about half," or six of 12, of "2012's wildest weather events." His "evidence"? Computer simulations. But on Friday, the UK Telegraph and Daily Mail took note of the cold, hard fact of growing Arctic ice cover, as well as its possible implications.
In a Saturday afternoon dispatch, the Associated Press marred a mostly decent presentation of the August employment situation reported by the government yesterday in three ways.
The first is the story's misleading headline: "The Job Market Fed Faces: Healing But Still Ailing." Whether there's genuine healing going on is highly debatable, given that the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2 percent, its lowest level since 1978, and the clear trend towards part-time work. AP Economics Writer Paul Wiseman's treatment of that trend and another related one represent the report's other three weaknesses, as seen in the following three paragraphs (bolds are mine):
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on the State Department beat for almost four years. At times, he has been one of a very few establishment press reporters who will challenge Obama administration officials when their assertions become too brazen to tolerate.
One of those times (HT Business Insider via Hot Air) occurred yesterday, when hapless State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to defend as "courageous" John Kerry's statement that the administration's non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria:
In a Thursday morning speech, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka told of how surprised how he was, in the words of Time's Alex Rogers at it Swampland blog, "that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015."
Here's another "surprise" from Rogers' report, at least for those who think that lawmakers sit alone and draw up 2,000-page pieces of legislation on their own (except when the media relays claims by the left that evil industries write laws which evil Republican congressmen simply rubber-stamp them): Trumka admitted organized labor's direct involvement in in writing Obamacare. In other words, labor created the mess it is now denouncing (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Its actual headline is, "Obama's history-defying decision to seek Congressional approval on Syria." As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds noted a short time ago: "You can read this entire article about Obama going to Congress over Syria without seeing any mention that Bush went to Congress over Iraq and Afghanistan." After the jump, readers will get as much as (or maybe more than) they can stand, complete with the "There were no WMDs in Iraq" lie (bolds are mine):
At the New York Times's "Dot Earth" blog, Andrew Revkin reports that "the science on a connection between hurricanes and global warming is going in the opposite direction" — as in, the evidence that the connection between human-caused global warming (overgenerously assuming that there is any) and hurricane intensity or frequency of "heavy precipitations events," as shown in a "snapshot" of a draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's upcoming report, is one of "low confidence."
Fine, as in "It's about time." But at the bottom of that same graphic are findings relating to sea levels which appear to be laugh-out-loud funny.
Reporter Josh Lederman is in on it too. He never specficially describes Obama's current actions as "orders." Alternate words include "announced," "proposing," "executive actions," and "new policy." It isn't until the second-last of his 13 paragraphs that Lederman informs readers that "the White House has completed or made significant progress on all but one of the 23 executive actions Obama had previously ordered in January" (but the actions themselves are not called "orders".
Two such instances occurred in one speech on Friday in Binghamton, New York, where Obama told the audience at a "town hall" meeting that "we don't have an urgent deficit crisis," and that the deficit has "now dropped at the fastest rate in 60 years." Neither statement made it into Julie Pace's onsite coverage of Obama's visit. Later that day back in Washington, the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn was still running cover for Obama (bolds are mine):
Anyone remember all the huffing and puffing from the establishment press about how third-quarter economic growth was going to be great — so please stop worrying about how weak the past three quarters (annualized rates of 0.1%, 1.1%, and 1.7%, respectively) have been?
Oops. On Friday, the Census Bureau reported that new-home sales dropped over 20% in July to an annual rate of 394,000 from June's original reading of 497,000, which was itself revised down to 455,000. Today, the bureau revealed that durable goods orders fell sharply in July, bringing about yet another appearance at Bloomberg News of its favorite word during the past five years about the economy, and yet another instance of the stock market's apparent pleasure with bad news for the rest of us:
In March, the Associated Press ran a 470-word "Big Story" item about the case of of Elaine Huguenin, an Albuquerque wedding photographer "who declined to shoot the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple." The couple filed an anti-discrimination claim with the state's Human Rights Commission, which found that Huguenin, who runs her business with her husband, had violated state law.
New Mexico's highest court upheld the commission's ruling against Ms. Huguenin on Thursday. Though the AP has an 11-paragraph story on the ruling by Barry Massey which several AP-subscribing outlets throughout the country have picked up, searches on Ms. Huguenin's last name which returned no results and no new "Big Story" result indicate that it is not present at the AP's national site. Especially since it was such a big deal five months ago, what explains the, well, light exposure? Excerpts from what AP management is apparently now treating as a local story follow the jump:
Maybe we should cue up the old classic "High Hopes," especially given its ironic title, every time one of these "unintended consequence of Obamacare" stories comes along. Instead of singing "Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant," we can all sing, "Oops, there goes another Obamacare 'quirk.'"
One of the latest "quirks," also described as a "weird" result of the progressive movement's March 2010 legislative handiwork gleefully signed by President Obama, arrived via CNBC Health Care Reporter Dan Mangan on Tuesday. As predicted by many center-right analysts several years ago, it will make financial sense for quite a few employees to turn down their employers' health care coverage and move to the subsidized, government-run Obamacare exchanges. If enough employees start doing that — given the financial consequences, thousands if not millions will — many employers will have even more incentive than they already have to jettison their plans completely. Imagine that (bolds are mine):
Maybe because it's a UFO, we're not supposed to be able to explain it.
No, I'm not talking about unidentified flying objects at the recently acknowledged Area 51. I'm talking about an unexplained financial observation, the one made by the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber on Monday after the release of the July Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report Monday morning. Rugaber observed that the unemployment rate rose in the majority of states and fell in a relative few, while July's national unemployment rate reported two weeks ago fell from 7.6% to 7.4%:
A November 15, 2010 blog post by Michael S. Derby at the Wall Street Journal ("San Francisco Fed Official Says QE2 Is Working") told us that "The Federal Reserve‘s recently announced plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to improve economic growth is having a positive effect on growth." The Fed official involved also predicted "the U.S. gross domestic product to come in at 2.5% this year (2010), and at 3.5% next year and 4.5% the year after that."
Uh, not exactly. Actual GDP results: 2.5% in 2010 (that was a gimme), followed by 1.8% and 2.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Almost three years letter, the San Fran Fed's acknowledged result of that effort at "quantitative easing" — it "added about 0.13 percentage point to real GDP growth in late 2010" — is starkly different, and is only "positive" if you think a football team managing one field goal in four quarters is "positive." Of course, though it should be, the news is getting very little coverage.
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.
At the conclusion of his report on the federal government's July Monthly Treasury Statement, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger wrote that federal spending through the first ten months of the current fiscal year is "down 2.9 percent from a year ago," and that the decline "reflects, in part, automatic government spending cuts that began taking effect March 1."
Those "automatic cuts" represent only a very small part of the decline, as will be seen after the jump.
It's fair to say that about the only holdouts against the idea that part-time work is up and that employee hours are being reduced around the economy are the Obama White House and a few Obama White House alumni. It's also fair to say that there are very few holdouts against the idea that the cause for this is Obamacare's 30-hours-per-week definition of a full-time employee, which is causing far more businesses than usual to cut existing workers' hours and to limit their hiring to part-timers. Even Obama-sympathetic NBC did a report on Obamacare's impact earlier this week. The White House dismissed what NBC found as "merely anecdotal."
All along, everyone — yes, this includes yours truly — has been concentrating on overall changes in the average work week, which have been very minimal. But Jed Graham at Investor's Business Daily, doing work which apparently no one else in the business press has been willing or discerning enough to do for all these months as the issue has raged, identified four industry sectors where average weekly hours have dropped significantly, and where it's hard to claim that anything except Obamacare could be the culprit.
On Friday, Eric Holder's Department of Justice gave the memory-hole treatment to wildly inflated statistics released last October about the number of cases and the amount of money involved in DOJ's mortgage fraud enforcement efforts.
Bloomberg News reporters who had discovered that the original numbers were suspect had been getting stonewalled for months in their efforts to get answers to their queries, and finally got them through the document-dump route. The differences are stark.
An August 6 opinion column at the Politico labeled co-authors Jared Bernstein and Paul Van de Water as "senior fellows at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." CBPP, that oxymoron known as a "leftist think tank," went unlabeled. The Politico also must have thought that Bernstein's background as the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden from 2009 to 2011 was irrelevant.
That's okay. Any reader could tell from the piece's headline and content that it was a shameless, reality-avoiding propaganda piece (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
One has to sift through the biased blather to get to it, but Mary Clare Jalonick's August 1 coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, of the House's plans to rein in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, still popularly called "food stamps," contains an important admission which most of the establishment press has avoided as the program's costs and enrollment have skyrocketed, all in the name of preserving the false impression that the program is exclusively about preventing people from starving.
As usual, one of those distractions is the tired idea that what the House is proposing represents harmful "cuts," when what is really occurring is a long overdue and yet still watered-down effort to target benefits to the truly eligible and prevent their disbursement to people who either don't need them or shouldn't get them (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
In this case, the old saying, "Better late than never" really shouldn't apply. In June, when the government's Household Survey used to determine the unemployment rate reported that there were 240,000 fewer full-time workers and 360,000 more part-time workers than there were in May, the establishment press, particularly the Associated Press, largely ignored or downplayed the result.
The AP's Christopher Rugaber broke the ice a bit in early July after June's jobs report, and the wire service has finally gone full-bore into noting the trend towards part-time work in the past two days. But while the press slept for months, center-right bloggers and many others have been chronicling the trend anecdotally since late last year, and gradually with solid numbers from the government's own reports as the year has worn on.
Al Kamen’s In The Loop blog on the Washington Post’s website needs to be renamed. It’s become unhinged. Emily Heil’s July 31 post for the feature literally blamed sequestration for the Snowden fiasco. Yes, according to Heil, because of that horrible, debilitating fiscal hatchet that Congress dealt last spring, Snowden was able to spill the beans on the NSA’s surveillance operations.
Despite the evidence that the effects of the sequester were minimal at best, Heil pressed in her post that Snowden just would’ve been a normal government contractor collecting paychecks if such a policy hadn’t been executed. Right, because the editorial board at the Washington Post has a magic crystal ball that nobody knows about. Did I mention the main source for such a claim is none other than... Snowden’s father?!:
Sarah Palin, call your office. PolitiFact, you've been refuted again.
In the later sections of a Wall Street Journal column on Sunday (in Monday's print edition), former Vermont Governor and unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean wrote in opposition (HT Twitchy) to Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, calling it "essentially a health-care rationing body." We'll let former Alaska Governor Palin take it from there with her August 7, 2009 Facebook post (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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."
The establishment press's general refusal to cover clearly newsworthy developments in the Obama administration scandal involving the targeting of conservative, tea party, prolife and other groups by the Internal Revenue Service has been so negligent and blatant that several leading conservatives, including the MRC's Brent Bozell and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, called it out in an open letter earlier this week.
Consistent with the rest of their colleagues, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, appears to have had no substantive story on the scandal since July 18 -- and that one was about primarily Democrats beating the false meme that progressive groups were supposedly targeted similarly. The AP's negligence extends to the tax agency's shocking level of non-cooperation with House Ways & Means Committee investigators, as will be seen after the jump.