Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2014 | 10:17 AM EST

As I noted Monday night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, displayed rare candor when he opened his 8:28 p.m. report on the latest unilateral changes to Obamacare by describing their motivation as "Angling to avoid political peril." I wrote last night that "I’ll be surprised if it (the "political" characterization) survives revisions later this evening." Well, it didn't.

At the AP's national site, the 8:28 p.m. link now goes to Alonso-Zaldivar's 3:27 a.m. rendition (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes). Just in time for review by morning news show producers and editors, the new story scrubs away any hint of political thinking on the part of the administration itself, instead depositing it with Democrats trying to hold the Senate in this November's elections. A national site search on "angling" confirms the old story's non-presence. There is a politics-related quote in the revised piece — but of course, only from a Republican.

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2014 | 10:03 PM EST

The opening of Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar's 8:28 p.m. report on President Obama's latest round of extra-legal, extra-constitutional manuevers relating to the Affordable Care Act — scratch that, it really isn't the Affordable Care Act as written any more; it really is "Obamacare," defined as "whatever Obama and his administration have done to the ACA as originally written" — is a keeper. That's why the report is also here for future reference.

Alonso-Zaldivar's first sentence tells you everything you need to know about the administration's management of Obamacare's implementation. As such, I'll be surprised if it survives revisions later this evening. It isn't about making sure Americans get quality health insurance. It isn't about first-rate care, or efficiency, or any other objective relating to a benefit the American people might see, touch, or feel. See the AP story's headline and first sentence after the jump:

By Tom Blumer | February 9, 2014 | 9:46 PM EST

Leftist protesters trying to portray themselves as mainstream gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina yesterday to protest moves made by the Republican-dominated state government yesterday.

One of protesters' major objections is to a voter-identification law passed last year. That's more than a little ironic, because guess what organizers required march participants to have? That's right: photo identification. Though he waited 13 paragraphs to do so, Gary D. Robertson at the Associated Press, apparently aware that several prominent center-right Internet outlets had already noted the breathtaking hypocrisy (examples here, here, and here), actually told his readers about it; I could not find another establishment press outlet which did. However, Robertson, in classic AP style, cited a Republican critic instead of simply reporting the damning fact (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 9, 2014 | 12:48 PM EST

This past Monday, Andrew Theen at the Oregonian reported that "Trader Joe's is backing away from a development in Northeast Portland," citing, in the company's words, "negative reactions from the community."

Actually, the vast majority of "the community" wanted the grocery chain to build in the once bustling but now troubled area. Theen quoted Portland's "city leaders" as calling the decision "a loss for the city and particularly for Northeast Portland." Neighbors and business owners in the area, described here as "once the heart of Portland’s African-American community," had been "thrilled" about the project. It's people who largely aren't part of that community who opposed the deal. On Friday, as will be seen after the jump, Theen had a chance to fully expose the radical, backward-looking grievance mongers who stopped progress, and to a significant extent blew it.

By Tom Blumer | February 8, 2014 | 9:59 PM EST

Leftist delusions can be amazing things. One of them is that the financial deck is stacked against their candidates and causes.

Reid Wilson at the Washington Post attempted to explain it all on Friday. On the plus side, at least he didn't try to pretend, as Evan Halper at the Los Angeles Times did in late December, that there's no one donating to Democrats and progressive causes with the financial clout of the Koch brothers except billionaire and relative newbie activist Tom Steyer. But while Wilson recognized the existence of large Dem donors, he bemoaned the fact that they are supposedly not as well organized, and that their motives, unlike the Kochs, are pure. Really (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 8, 2014 | 4:11 PM EST

One of the more annoying aspects of business press reporting is its participants' singular focus on seasonally adjusted data to the exclusion of the underlying figures.

Many reports on the economy at least tag the figures reported as seasonally adjusted; but there seems to be a trend away from doing even that. For example, the Associated Press has routinely labeled weekly initial jobless claims as seasonally adjusted (examples from about a year ago are here, here, and here), but Thursday's adjusted claims figure of 331,000 and the 348,000 from a week earlier went unlabeled (as seen here and here, respectively). Additionally, none of the three main wire services (AP, Bloomberg, Reuters) described yesterday's reported increase in employment as "seasonally adjusted" (though the AP's Christopher Rugaber did report that the unemployment rate of 6.6 percent was seasonally adjusted). In failing to do so, they all were in essence telling readers that the economy really added 113,000 jobs in January. The truth is that it lost over 2.8 million of them:

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.