Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | March 31, 2014 | 2:10 PM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 30, 2014 | 10:13 AM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 28, 2014 | 9:14 AM EDT

Call it low-information voter outreach.

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 27, 2014 | 4:52 PM EDT

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:

By Tom Blumer | March 27, 2014 | 10:25 AM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 25, 2014 | 3:15 PM EDT

A search on the name of James Risen (not in quotes) returns nothing relevant at the Associated Press. All that comes back at the Politico is a link to a post yesterday at Dylan Byers' On Media Blog containing one pertinent sentence: "James Risen slams the Obama administration." Whoopee.

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 25, 2014 | 12:56 AM EDT

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.

By Tom Blumer | March 19, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

Sometimes the saying "better late than never" applies. This isn't one of them.

In a report originally time-stamped on March 18 (HT Sweetness and Light) and revised this afternoon at its national web site, the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and seven other AP reporters found out that Obamacare is putting the screws to many cancer patients. Of course, they didn't phrase it that way, but that's the primary takeaway from their report. The story's headline was so weak that many readers who saw it on their computers, tablets and smartphones likely blew right past it without clicking through. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | March 18, 2014 | 4:16 PM EDT

One of the more annoying aspects of establishment press coverage of many controversial issues is the outlets' tendency to act as if opposition to many things (really almost anything) which advance the left's agenda springs exclusively from Republicans. One obvious example is abortion, as if you can't be pro-life and libertarian or liberal (see: Nat Hentoff).

Another budding example has to do with governance of the Internet. Late Friday afternoon, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) announced its "intent to transition key Internet domain name functions" to "the global multistakeholder community." Obviously, there is Republican opposition to this move, but you don't have to be either to be opposed. Predictably, though, Jessica Meyers and Erin Mershon at the Politico headlined ("Defenders of Net transition: GOP off base") and framed their writeup as if that's the case. Excerpts from their report and an an excerpt from a blog post at the nonpartisan Information and Technology Innovation Foundation follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | March 17, 2014 | 11:45 AM EDT

One of the more humorous attempts at furious spin this weekend occurred over at the New York Times. Jonathan Martin and Ashley Parker somehow managed to cover how association with President Barack Obama is becoming “poisonous” to Democratic Party candidates in this fall's elections without identifying or even acknowledging the existence of the primary reason for his toxicity — namely his repeated guarantees, now all proven false, that "If you like your plan, doctor, medical provider, and prescription drug regimen, you can keep them, period."

Martin and Parker claim that the Dems' biggest hurdles are HealthCare.gov's awful rollout and the administration's inept marketing of Obamacare (HT Powerline; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | March 14, 2014 | 8:12 PM EDT

In a late Friday afternoon release, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent "to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community." The statement is full of the kind of dense bureaucratic language one tends to see when the agency is doing something really important but controversial.

Stating the situation more clearly, TheDomains.com calls it "the Offical Statement Of The US Giving Up Control Over ICANN" (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Americans for Limited Government has issued a press release "blasting the Obama Commerce Department for turning over control of the Internet to United Nations International Telecommunication Union." The one story in the press as of 7:30 p.m. was at the Politico, whose Erin Mershon appears to have caught wind of the news ahead of NTIA's release. Mershon takes eight paragraphs to tell readers to whom the functions are to be transitioned — and I don't think her dallying is mere sloppiness (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | March 11, 2014 | 9:52 PM EDT

On Friday, the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 175,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in February, with 162,000 of the additions occurring in the private sector.

That result exceeded expectations of roughly 150,000, and caused the business press to sing odes of high praise to an economy that was amazingly overcoming this year's difficult winter weather. Unfortunately, as readers will see after the jump, February's raw results demonstrate that it was all an illusion.