Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | February 7, 2014 | 3:30 PM EST

In yet another bizarre and extra-constitutional twist in the saga of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a clearly sympathetic Associated Press — that's why I call it the Administration's Press — is reporting that the Obama administration is considering a three-year delay in demanding that health insurance companies drop so-called "substandard" or "junk" individual policies.

But that's not how the AP's Tom Murphy is framing the clearly leaked proposed move. You won't find the word "delay" in his entire story, which is a why a friend of mine who tried to find something about it online and couldn't thought that only Fox News was reporting it. No-no-no. The AP only describes the move as an "extension" which would take the pesky problem of arbitrarily cancelled individual policies off the table until — imagine that — after the 2016 elections (HT American Thinker via Free Republic; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 6, 2014 | 5:21 PM EST

Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters made reference Tuesday to an Associated Press story headline ("Modest drop in full-time work seen from health law") indicating that the outfit I prefer to call the Administration's Press is furiously spinning in reaction to Tuesday's report from the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Obamacare will reduce full-time-equivalent employment from what it would have been without the law by 2.5 million over the next 10 years.

The underlying content of the story Ken referenced is weak, as is Calvin Woodward's longer "fact check" ("ANTI-OBAMACARE CHORUS IS OFF KEY") currently carrying an early Thursday time stamp. Woodward's piece is especially troubling in how it seems to treat work as a curse instead of a necessary component of societal progress. But let's first look at the full "modest drop" dispatch.

By Tom Blumer | February 5, 2014 | 10:55 PM EST

On Saturday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the New York Times had made a critical change to a story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's possible knowledge of lane closures in the area of the George Washington Bridge. The initial story was that a Port Authority official "has evidence" in the matter. A short time later, that claim was watered down to a far more speculative "evidence exists."

The erroneous "has evidence" version of the story quickly went viral on Friday afternoon, and is what many news readers likely still believe — especially because there is still no indication at Zernike's story that any change from the original was made. Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has a problem with that — as she should. There also appears to be an undercurrent of frustration at the Times that what comes off as a "gotcha" strategy didn't stick to Christie (HT James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web; bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2014 | 9:39 AM EST

As we head into yet another year wondering whether Washington, meaning President Obama and both political parties, will finally betray the nation and pass some form of illegal-immigrant amnesty, "Machiavelli" at the Virtuous Republic blog reminds us that the argument is about more than depressed wages, "keeping families together," and (in the misguided minds of Catholic bishops) Christian charity.

Machiavelli went to Immigration and Customs Enforcement records for 2013 and found the following crime-related information the establishment press is extremely reluctant to acknowledge at its main page for removal statistics (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 2, 2014 | 2:26 PM EST

Over at the Associated Press's national site, there's a story about how "Some of the largest public labor unions in Illinois filed a long-awaited lawsuit Tuesday challenging the state's new pension reform law."

Given that it involves hundreds of thousands of workers, it's probably fair to say that the news deserves national attention. But how about another story which involves over 800,000 union members who are deeply dissatisfied with Obamacare? Searches at AP on Unite Here and LUINA, the two unions involved, come up empty and with nothing relevant, respectively.

By Tom Blumer | February 1, 2014 | 2:53 PM EST

Longtime readers here may recall that yours truly and others have written about liberties New York Times reporter Kate Zernike has taken with the truth, especially in her reporting on the Tea Party movement. Her penchant for inventing baseless stories about alleged racism in the movement once caused the late Andrew Breitbart to label her "a despicable human being."

Breitbart might well have the same reaction to the hours-later revision made at Zernike's Times story Friday about Chris Christie. Several alert bloggers and tweeters noted that her story about Christie's knowledge of shut lanes on the George Washington Bridge conveniently went from solid to speculative without any indication that any changes had been made.

By Tom Blumer | February 1, 2014 | 10:34 AM EST

On January 20, we are told by "goptvclips," Seattle TV Station King 5 aired a short segment on how children "are being denied specialty treatment by insurance providers on the Washington Health Benefits Network." To be clear, the video's conclusion indicates that "Children's went ahead and treated" some but apparently far from all of the affected children, but, obviously "they can't afford to keep doing it that way."

This story and likely many other stories like it are not national news. As will be seen later, it appears to not even be news at the station which originally presented the story. Situations like this should raise concerns that there is a determined effort on the part of the nation's establishment press to ignore bad-news stories relating to Obamacare. One suspects that there are similar stories waiting to be told all over the country. The video as carried at "goptvclips" and a transcript follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2014 | 8:32 PM EST

I suspect that more than a few readers have noticed, with likely little surprise, that there hasn't been a lot of national establishment press attention paid to how Obamacare has been working out in the real world since it officially went into effect on January 1.

Non-existent HealthCare.gov security? Who cares? Patients turned away from emergency rooms voluntarily (because they don't want to risk huge uncovered costs they will have to pay out-of-pocket) or from medical providers involuntarily (because they don't know whether a particular patient is or isn't covered)? You might find coverage of that in the British wing of the Washington press corps, and that's about it. Meanwhile, scenarios such as the one you will see play out in the local TV news report out of Pittsburgh after the jump are happening all over the country, and it's not pretty (direct YouTube; HT Personal Liberty Digest):

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2014 | 4:58 PM EST

In yet another negative milestone for the bailouts that supposedly saved the U.S. auto industry — already a hard-to-handle claim given that Chrysler, one of the two beneficiaries, is now 100% owned by an Italian company — Volkswagen has surpassed General Motors as the world's number two automaker behind Toyota.

The reporting on this development has been quite sparse. It's not news at the Associated Press's national site, even though AP mentions VW in a report on Super Bowl ad and social media strategies. At USA Today, James R. Healey's could easily have inserted the news into his story today on the 65th anniversary of the VW Beetle's first arrival here, and didn't. What follows is an excerpt from Expatica, one of the few publications to note the shakeup in the auto industry hierarchy:

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2014 | 3:12 PM EST

The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all focused on the supposedly positive news of increased consumption reported in today's "Personal Income and Outlays" release from the government's Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the process, two of the three ignored a particulary dreadful statistic about disposable income, while the third (Bloomberg) misinterpreted its meaning.

The dire statistic is the year-over-year comparison of monthly disposable income, which took a deep dive in December, turning in the worst year-over year performance as seen here, in 40 years:

By Tom Blumer | January 30, 2014 | 1:43 PM EST

At the Associated Press, labeling conservative politicians as "far-right" comes pretty easily. "Far-left"? Not so much.

That there was even one item in the "far-left" search just noted is unusual. It's even more remarkable that the underlying report was written by Steve Peoples, a far-lefty disguised as a reporter if there ever was one. Excerpts from his Wednesday dispatch follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | January 29, 2014 | 9:45 PM EST

In his Tuesday night State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made the following pledge: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."

One would have every reason to believe from Obama's statement that the change will take effect quickly once the EO is issued — but it won't. Additionally, one would have every reason to believe that when it does take effect, it will increase the pay of anyone currently employed on federal contract work at a pay rate of under $10.10 per hour — but it won't do that either. Somehow, those "little" problems escaped "fact checkers" Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico, who, while they did catch other problems with the President's statement, swallowed a clearly false claim about its long-term impact: