One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.
In a December 27 blog post, New York Times columnist and incurable Keynesian economist Paul Krugman capitalized on the problems United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering Christmas packages on time: "Can’t the private sector do anything right?"
While I recognize that there's sarcasm in his question, Krugman then went on to try to make HealthCare.gov's problems appear analogous: "[M]any pundits were quick to declare healthcare.gov’s problems evidence of the fundamental, irretrievable incompetence of government, and as an omen of Obamacare’s inevitable collapse. ... (But) none of these people are making similar claims about UPS or Amazon." Since the Nobel Economics laureate appears to be too dense to understand the differences between the two situations, Robert P. Murphy, "the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism," explained many of them in a Sunday post at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada's web site (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, December 27, Hardball on MSNBC, comedian and Daily Beast columnist Dean Obeidallah -- who has also been a CNN contributor -- cracked that "conservatives hate a lot of women" as he recounted that the woman whose face appeared on the ObamaCare Web site had been tagged "the most despised woman in America" by "some bloggers on the right," whom he failed to identify.
Let no one say that NBC/MSNBC are reluctant to criticize ObamaCare. A leading NBC light boldly did so today . . . from the left, of course.
Appearing on Morning Joe, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC's chief medical editor, declared that there should be "a single-payer system" of health care. That is the left's preferred solution, but brings with it a host of problems, as the Heritage Foundation has detailed. For good measure, Snyderman said that she "made" her young-adult children sign up for Obamacare as their "patriotic duty." View the video after the jump.
Remember when George W. Bush was intensely criticized in 2004 for using a couple of seconds of footage from the World Trade Center attacks in a campaign commercial? He was "exploiting" 9/11. Let's talk about an example of really crass exploitation which the press has largely ignored.
As reported by Politico's Joseph Delreal, recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter Chiara recently opened up "about her struggles with depression and substance abuse and for her decision to seek treatment." White House National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, "in a statement issued by the White House," praised "her and the entire de Blasio family for addressing this important public health issue." Fair enough. But he went one step further, as seen after the jump:
With a headline at a Washington Post story by Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin reading "Obama administration quietly extends health-care enrollment deadline by a day," you would think that the administration issued some kind of press release without comment — or at least, as was the case with its announcement waiving the individual mandate for those who had individual policies cancelled, communicated the change to sympathetic senators or congresspersons.
Nope. The Post's detailed coverage tells us that those involved merely made "a software change that government officials and IT contractors inserted into the computer system over the weekend for the online insurance marketplace." Readers will see who was actually told about the change after the jump (bolds are mine):
Their stated excuse is, "These could never happen here, so why should U.S. news consumers care?" Their real excuse is, "We don't want anyone thinking that Obamacare could lead to this, even though there are already plenty of signs that it will."
Two weeks ago, the UK Daily Mail reported on three just-released "damming reports" on Great Britain's government-run National Health Service. A separate December 20 UK Telegraph dispatch reports that the NHS is "on the brink of crisis" because it has been "treated as a 'national religion' while millions of patients receive a 'wholly unsatisfactory' service from GPs and hospitals." A scroll through supposedly U.S.-based news results from December 11-26 in a search on "national health service" (in quotes" at Google News returns precious little actual coverage here; the few exceptions are at conservative-leaning outlets like Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog. Excerpts from both UK items just noted follow the jump.
Major establishment press outlets ignored Friday's news that "Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ... explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO), but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer also "refused to put her name on a letter recommending a temporary ATO be granted for six months" In other words, HealthCare.gov should not have launched.
Brian Fung at the Washington Post's "The Switch" blog didn't consider the idea that HC.gov shouldn't even have gone live the most important story element. While failing to disclose Fryer's no-go recommendation and refusal to go along, he and his post's headline instead obsessed over whether Republican Congressman and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa might "release files" that "could aid hackers." It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that hackers already have them, or at least have figured out how to work with or around them. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, during a discussion of what stories were over-covered or under-covered by the media in 2013, CBS contributor Nancy Giles griped that the HealthCare.Gov glitches were over-covered, and seemed to suggest that hackers may have been to blame for ObamaCare's rollout problems. Giles began:
Not to worry, people. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D got through "technical glitches, political hostility and gloom-and-doom denouncements." So will Obamacare.
That's the Christmas love letter delivered to the left by Tom Raum of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, late this morning. Raum "somehow" failed to note that the size and scope of Obamacare's screw-ups, errors, and from all appearances deliberate omissions (e.g., no system for paying subsidies to insurers after a 42-month head start) dwarf that seen in any previous major rollout. Though other programs had their share of broken promises (e.g., Walter Williams ran down Social Security's original lies in a November column), no program has been handicapped by anything near the equivalent of the President's false guarantee ("if you like your insurance plan-doctor-medical provider, you can keep your insurance plan-doctor-medical provider"). Of course, Raum didn't mention that bitter reality. Excerpts from Raum's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
CBS This Morning has given the White House a big Christmas gift this year in the form of a glowing story about Americans signing up for ObamaCare. In a December 24 puff piece, CBS Reporter Chip Reed offers up what amounts to no more than ObamaCare propaganda on the eve of the ObamaCare signup deadline.
The segment began with fill-in host Vinita Nair touting the Obama Administration line that, “Healthcare.gov is seeing a Christmas rush as Americans try to sign up for health insurance that starts January 1st… The demand was so high the deadline is extended through today.”
In a Monday dispatch about Obamacare's really bad year and future prospects at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, reporter Calvin Woodward took as a given the left's assumption that Republicans and conservatives take pleasure in the suffering of real people as long as it furthers their political aims when he wrote that "Republicans, of course ... feigned indignation that the law many of them despise wasn't working out so well." That's pure lefist projection.
The genuine indignation has two sources, Mr. Woodward. The first is that much of what has transpired as a result of the deeply flawed Affordable Care Act was predicted or known and ignored. The other is that there were red flags galore ahead of the debut of the HealthCare.gov web site that it wasn't ready. They were deliberately ignored. To name just one instance, those in charge of security wouldn't sign off on the idea of going live on October 1; of course, Team Obama launched anyway. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Concerning the Christmas shopping season, the Associated Press's Anne D'Innocenzio and CNBC's Krystina Gustafson agree: It has stunk.
D'Innocenzio noted that "sales at stores have fallen for the third consecutive week as Americans continue to hold back on spending during what is traditionally the busiest buying period of the year." Gustafson, apparently looking over the same ShopperTrak data as D'Innocenzio, added that "store traffic in the final week before Christmas posted the third straight week of double-digit declines." Neither noted that combination of much lower traffic and relatively slight sales declines appears to indicate that the well-off are splurging, while many families of average means are AWOL. Though it's hard to see how, the keepers of Christmas data at ShopperTrak the National Retail Federation and the International Council of Shopping Centers still believe they will end up in meaningfully positive territory when all is said and done.
In an October 3 column at USA Today, economics correspondent Tim Mullaney pronounced "HealthCare.gov a winner despite glitches."
Mullaney from all appearances has never retracted any of what he wrote that fateful day. He also defended himself vigorously in correspondence with yours truly during the week or so after my NewsBusters post critical of his writeup appeared. Accordingly, in light of what has really happened with HealthCare.gov, it seems more than appropriate to republish several paragraphs from his October review for their value as pure comedy gold.
In what appears to be a bright spot of journalism over at ABC News, reporter Jonathan Karl has been repeatedly hitting the White House hard in recent weeks over its failed ObamaCare rollout, going so far as to mock its advertising attempts to sign up young people for health care.
While Karl hit the White House hard on Sunday's World News, he was far from tough on Monday’s Good Morning America, and offered up a puff-piece cheering on ObamaCare’s enrollment numbers. Last week, Karl confronted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over newly released ObamaCare ads, asking the press secretary, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O-Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS is the only network that routinely pushes back against the Obama White House during its morning broadcasts. However, since Christmas is two days out and the regular journalists at CBS News are on vacation, it appears that the hard-hitting CBS This Morning has decided to run promotional segments for ObamaCare.
Appearing on the network on December 23, reporter Wyatt Andrews offered up a glowing perspective of ObamaCare navigators featuring no conservative opposition, and calling the disastrous rollout merely “complicated.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In January 2010, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation studied the draft language in what ultimately turned into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what came to be known as Obamacare. His two most important findings: 1) Obamacare would encourage divorce while discouraging marriage; 2) Individuals and couples earning what most would consider to be nice but certainly not opulent incomes — especially those aged 50 and above — would pay disproportionately high premiums, while those making just a few thousand dollars less per year would, after subsidies, pay far less. Yours truly has made these points subsequently on several occassions (examples here, here, and here).
Well glory be, almost four years later, acting as if they're breaking some kind of new ground, Katie Thomas, Reed Abelson and Jo Craven McGinty at the New York Times have discovered that "the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s." Imagine that. Even then, the Times trio pegged the suffering Obamacare is inflicting to gross income and not net — and the difference is stark. Excerpts, beginning with a weak headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC political analyst Goldie Taylor ludicrously saw "hypocrisy" in Republicans speaking out against A&E possibly firing Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson while opposing ObamaCare's contraception mandate as she failed to note that ObamaCare, as opposed to the Duck Dynasty controversy, is an issue of forcing employers by law to obey the government in spite of religious objections.
Without providing any quotes directly referencing the Constitution as evidence, she accused conservatives of making Phil Robertson's employment with A&E into a First Amendment issue, and then failed to note that ObamaCare actually does involve the First Amendment, and went on to make a lame joke quoting Gomer Pyle from the 1960s television show Gomer Pyle, USMC. Taylor:
Barack Obama gets to jet around on Air Force One, golfs every once in a while (/sarc), and has all the trappings and perks of the highest office in the land. But according to a headline in Monday's Washington Post, he is the one person in the whole USA above everyone else — not those who have lost health insurance plans with which they were happy, not those who are paying outrageious amounts for far skimpier coverage than they formerly had, not the millions of potential workers so discouraged that they are no longer looking for work or considered to be workers, not the increasing ranks of the homeless — who has taken it on the chin this year (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On the Wednesday, December 18, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes fretted that uninsured Americans are not a "potent constituency" during a discussion of the debate over extending unemployment benefits.
He did not mention a CBS News/New York Timespoll which ironically was released earlier in the day finding that ObamaCare is as unpopular among uninsured Americans as with the general population.
Speaking with MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein, Hayes posed:
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Carter Evans spotlighted Leslie Foster, an apparent ObamaCare "success story," who gushed about the "amazing things" in his subsidized health plan. But Evans failed to mention that Foster "campaigned for President Barack Obama's election", as the Wall Street Journal reported in an October 7, 2013 article. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The correspondent zeroed in on Foster, an "independent filmmaker" in California, in the midst of a segment that underlined the findings of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, which found "a lot of skepticism...about the President's health care law. Only 16 percent of the Americans we talked to told us the law would help them. Eighty percent said it would hurt them or have no effect."
Earlier this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a post primarily about the Associated Press's whitewashing of President Barack Obama's quote of the year acknowledging that his multi-year guarantee — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health clinic care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words), I noted that the related web page for NBC's "Today" show followed the AP's lead by claiming that Obama's original promise and not the admission was the quote of the year.
The video clip present at that same web page is both funny and sad. It's funny, because Tamron Hall began her report by ignorantly asserting that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is "everyone's favorite mayor from the Northeast." It's sad, because like the AP, NBC's video truncated Obama's actual November 14 admission and let it slide without further comment, effectively giving what Ford said about his drinking and use of drugs more weight than Obama's admission that he lied to the American people for years. The clip follows the jump:
In what appears to be a deliberate watering down of the significance of the statement a Yale University librarian has identified as the year's top quote in his eighth annual list, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, used the following headline in its Sunday morning "Big Story" coverage: "OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PROMISE IS 2013 TOP QUOTE."
Uh, no. The statement tagged as 2013's top quote is Obama's admission that the guarantee he made dozens of times over a several-year period — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words). The wire service also truncated what Obama actually said in his November 14 admission, yet didn't employ an ellipsis in doing so.
An Associated Press-GfK poll has found that 11 percent of an admittedly small sample of Americans insured through their employer or a family member's employer are losing their coverage in 2014. The related AP report relays that point and even has a graphic supporting it.
But reporters Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jennifer Agiesta failed to make the drop-dead obvious connection. According President Barack Obama and his White House spinmeisters, nothing is changing as a result of Obamacare if you're employed, and Obama's false guarantee that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" only applies to those in the private individual insurance market. Tell that to the 11 percent.
In mid-November, Americans for Tax Reform compiled a list of federal spending on state Obamacare exchanges totaling a breathtaking $4.5 billion.
One number on the list stands out from the rest — and it's not California's, though its $910 million amout is awful, disproportionate, and surely highly wasteful (before considering scalability concerns, the fixed costs of building a web site should be close to the same regardless of a state's population). The big eye-catcher is tiny Vermont's staggering $208 million. The nation's second-least populous state (626,000 as of 2012) has 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, but has received 4.6 percent of grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the Green Mountain State's enrollment numbers have been among the country's least embarrassing on percentage of the population, its exchange's rollout has in many ways been as bad, if not worse, than HealthCare.gov's, according to a December 10 Vermont Public Radio report which has garnered very little attention (HT Megan McArdle at Bloomberg News; bolds are mine):
But somehow, the fact that the state's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, "had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans" doesn't merit attention. Further indicating the development's national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut's Louisa Moller, follows the jump:
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky seems to have an obsession with using his column to provide cover for Democrats and President Obama, especially over the failed healthcare law known as ObamaCare.
In his most recent piece published this morning, Tomasky desperately tried to convince his readers that, “Obamacare’s Back” and that he “[t]old you so.” During his weak attempt to sell the healthcare law, Tomasky proclaims that “as predicted, by next fall, the law is going to be a net plus for Obama and the Democrats.” Don’t mind the millions of Americans being forced off their health care plans or the numerous businesses being forced to violate their religious conscious to cover contraception, the law according to Tomasky is a huge success.
Urging his viewers to "get your tapes rolling at home" to record his prediction, that great Nostradamus of MSNBC predicted on his Wednesday, December 11 program that come March 1, five million people would be signed up for ObamaCare.
"I mean, if we have got 3 million people who have been on to it already, where are we going to be in April?!" the MSNBC host pondered aloud, referring to the total number of visitors to the HealthCare.gov website. "This baby is going to be off the chart!" Dr. Schultz thundered as he gave his prognosis [WATCH video below page break; LISTEN to mp3 audio here]: