In the 1965-1971 comedy series "Hogan's Heroes," prison guard Sergeant Schultz is a "bumbling, highly unmilitary 325-pound Sergeant of the Guard. Schultz is a basically good-hearted man who, when confronted by evidence of the prisoners' covert activities, will simply look the other way, repeating 'I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!'"
Reviewing past NewsBusters posts featuring or concerning newly selected chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we've already seen on several occasions that the Florida Congresswoman knows nothing concerning things with which she ought to be quite familiar. Schultz edged out the buffoon I would have preferred, the bumbling former governor of Ohio, "Turnaround Ted" Strickland, who was defeated by Republican John Kasich in November. Strickland thus became the first incumbent Buckeye State governor to be defeated in 36 years.
The most prominent example of Ms. Wasserman Schultz's ignorance came in a town hall meeting on April 5, 2010 which was noted by Matt Cover at CNS News and in an EyeBlast TV post at NewsBusters -- and of course ignored by the establishment press. Get a load of what the Congresswoman and her staff repeatedly claimed with a straight face:
New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner toasted the one-year anniversary of Obamacare this week — and accidentally spilled his champagne glass all over the disastrous, one-size-fits-all mandate. Ostensibly one of the federal health care law's staunchest defenders, Weiner exposed its ultimate folly by pushing for a special cost-saving regulatory exemption for New York City.
If it's good for the city Weiner wants to be mayor of, why not for each and every individual American and American business that wants to be free of Obamacare's shackles?
On the one-year anniversary of the health care law, MSNBC thought it fitting to bring on a boy who championed the bill and give him a platform. Anchor Andrea Mitchell hosted 12-year-old activist Marcelas Owens Wednesday and asked him questions with predictable answers to explain the case for the health care law.
Owens became famous last year for his public appearances to rally support for the health care overhaul. His mother had died of pulmonary hypertension in 2007 after she lost her job due to extended leave of absence. She was unqualified for Medicare or for health insurance. Owens used the tragedy to speak out in favor of universal health care.
Mitchell gave Owens a soft interview in what seemed a plug for the health care bill, given that she asked him to explain what could be done in the face of opposition "who don't understand the need for health care" and believe that "there isn't enough money" for universal health care. Of course, Republicans last year proposed health care reforms of their own but were largely ignored amidst the partisan Democratic push for the bill's passage.
In Wednesday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer touted the one year anniversary of the passage of ObamaCare: "One year ago today, President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law. It wasn't soon enough for Eric De La Cruz, who needed a heart transplant." The headline on screen read: "Why We Need Health Care Reform: A Personal Story."
Brewer spoke with Eric's sister, Veronica De La Cruz, who serves as anchor of MSNBC's First Look at 5AM ET and NBC's Early Today at 4AM ET. Brewer observed: "It's got to be bittersweet, because you fought for health care reform in that process, but on this anniversary, it comes too late to help your brother." De La Cruz had no qualms about describing her enthusiastic lobbying for ObamaCare: "...it is bittersweet, you're right. But I made a promise to my brother....I started speaking out at health care rallies, vigils, anybody who would listen to Eric's story."
On Monday, in a story I will link after the jump, the Associated Press reported that on March 1 the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) dropped a lawsuit it initiated last year over the school district's refusal five years earlier to cover a prescription drug the union described as "an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members” (that link will also appear after the jump).
So the questions submitted for our readers to ponder are these:
1) What drug was involved?
2) How much has the district spent defending itself against the lawsuit?
Thursday, the Associated Press's Matt Gouras "reported" ("Tea party vision for Mont. raising concerns") on legislative proposals in Montana. It got the attention of Rush Limbaugh, who skewered it as only Rush can.
Gouras's opening paragraphs read like a press release from an opposition party:
With each bill, newly elected tea party lawmakers are offering Montanans a vision of the future.
Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff's OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias.
His third paragraph uses the "some people" tactic, which more often than not is AP code for "people I found who agree with me":
On Wednesday, the inarguably correct Mark Levin, aided by flashbacks to monologues earlier in the week, laid out in detail the rule of law standoff the Obama administration has created in choosing to defy Monday's federal court decision declaring Obamacare null and void and continuing its implementation as if the ruling doesn't exist.
In the process, he also ripped in to the clear establishment press double standard at work.
Choice excerpts follow (internal links added by me; bolds refer to media-related comments; the rest is important for grasping just how serious this is):
"If the majority [of the U.S. Supreme Court] agrees with [Judge Roger] Vinson, President Obama would find not only his health care bill undone, but also face the most significant scaling back of the government's power to use legislation to solve its problems in decades," Time's Michael Lindenberger warned in a February 2 post at the magazine's website.
To reach such a conclusion, however, Lindenberger must have misunderstood Vinson's ruling on Monday in State of Florida v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which sought not to "turn back the clock" on commerce clause interpretation but merely prevent its overextension into an unprecedented and dangerous arena: forcing Americans to buy private health insurance under the flimsy illogic that such economic inactivity actually amounts to commercial activity.
"I am required to interpret this law as the Supreme Court presently defines it. Only the Supreme Court can redefine or expand it further," Vinson noted on page 43 of his 78 page opinion. The Reagan appointee noted that no less legislative authorities than the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office have found Congress requiring Americans to purchase private health insurance under penalty of law to be "novel" and "unprecedented"
My guess is that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is an amateur zoologist. Vinson is the federal judge who ruled Monday in Pensacola, Fla., that those who confected Obamacare cannot compel the citizenry to buy health insurance. Moreover, he found that because the 2,600-page bill was created without any "severability clause," the entire law is unconstitutional. The authors of Obamacare declared that without mandatory insurance, the whole bill would have been unworkable. Mandatory insurance was not severable from the law. Hence Judge Vinson, because of the way the bill was constructed, threw the whole law out. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to breathe life into this legislation or to bury it. I say R.I.P.
As learned as Vinson indubitably is — in the course of his meditations on Obamacare, he reread the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention, certain cogitations of former Chief Justice John Marshall and more — the erudite judge surely noted a zoological curiosity. Conservatives and liberals are so different as to be drawn from distinct species of political animals. To me, the conservative always has appeared to be some form of mammal. The liberal is reptilian. I could be wrong. I wonder what Judge Vinson might say.
Hall failed to bring on a representative from the other side of the dispute, even though there are 26 state attorneys general to choose from for that purpose, not to mention any number of conservative legal scholars who could defend the conservative position on the matter.
What's more, Hall failed to challenge any of the complaints Pollack raised, such as his lament that although Judge Roger Vinson dwelt mostly on the "individual mandate" provision that forces Americans to buy health insurance under penalty of law, he ruled the entirety of the 906-page "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" unconstitutional.
ABC, CBS and NBC on Monday night devoted more than half of their evening newscasts to the turmoil in Egypt, but while CBS and NBC squeezed in brief mentions of how a federal judge agreed with 26 states that the entire ObamaCare law is unconstitutional, ABC’s World News didn’t utter a syllable about the major setback for the Obama administration. Anchor Diane Sawyer, however, made room for a full story on an impending snowstorm and four minutes for a new series, “Families on the Brink: What to Do About Mom and Dad?”
While CBS anchor Harry Smith provided a short summary of the development, the CBS Evening News allocated four times more time to new USDA dietary guidelines which call for less consumption of salt. Smith tried to downplay the significance of the ruling:
It would appear that if it weren't for the center-right blogosphere, Fox News, a few business dailies, a few conservative pundits, and talk radio, very few people would know about the hundreds of waivers granted by the Obama administration to companies, unions, not-for-profits, states, and other entities wishing to be spared the burdens of complying with Obamacare for at least another year.
The latest count as of last Wednesday's Health and Human Services Department press release was 732, including four states: Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, and Tennessee.
That the waiver situation is not more widely known is largely due to the fact that the establishment press has shown almost no interest in it.
The Associated Press has had five days to cover HHS's latest release. It is news, as HHS's release was, as far as I can tell, the first indication that "Over 500 waivers were granted in December." Here is the result of a search on "health waivers" (not in quotes) at the AP's main web site at about 10:00 this morning:
Catching up on an item from last Thursday’s CBS Evening News, after recounting for the second time the case of Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s horrific practice, anchor Katie Couric introduced a piece devoted to upcoming political fights over abortion. During the report, opponents of abortion were twice labeled as "conservatives," while the word "liberals" was never used to refer to advocates of abortion rights. The report also finally mentioned - briefly - the March for Life pro-life rally from earlier in the week in the nation’s capital.
As the report reiterated the case of Dr. Gosnell, the argument on both sides of the debate was presented as to which side is bolstered by his callous activities. Couric: "Criminal abuse like this is extremely rare, but it's not stopping both sides in the abortion debate from using the case to re-energize supporters."
After correspondent Elaine Quijano made the case on both sides, ideological labels soon came. Correspondent Nancy Cordes: "Republicans are now back in power in the House at least, after a walk in the desert, and they have certain constituencies that they need to satisfy. One of those constituencies is the conservative right wing of the party for whom abortion is a very important issue all the time."
Ten days ago, on the eve of the House vote to repeal ObamaCare, Kathleen Sebelius's Department or Health and Human Services issued a fearmongering press release saying that "129 million Americans with a pre-existing condition could be denied coverage without new health reform law."
Ten days later, on a Friday afternoon (naturally), the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar finally got around to skeptically evaluating HHS's claim. Way to be there at crunch time, Ricardo (/sarc).
Here are selected paragraphs from Ricardo's rendition:
Two signs Sunday morning of how the Washington press corps are dismissive, disdainful and befuddled by the Tea Party.
On This Week, Christiane Amanpour fretted that though the New York Times has discredited the Tea Party’s rationale (“a new report today in the New York Times, they say that in fact TARP will cost maybe $28 billion to the taxpayer, instead of the $700 billion”), she told Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas “you yourself have been facing, even though you’re a reliable conservative, Tea Party competition in Texas. Are they outflanking you?” Amanpour empathized that Tea Party activists “said that you personally signify everything that the Tea Party is fighting.” A flummoxed Amanpour wondered: “What on earth do they mean by that?”
Over on CBS's Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer, echoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asked Senator John McCain about a Senate vote to repeal ObamaCare: “Do you think...that that's a waste of time, that the time in the Senate could be better spent working on something that has a chance of passing?”
The attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords could have been averted if America had government-run health care, according to left-wing comedian Bill Maher.
That's just the first instance of liberal media advocacy that NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell touched in the January 20 "Media Mash" segment on FNC's "Hannity" program.
"This is the desperation that they're in to sell ObamaCare, that they know the American people don't want," Bozell argued.
In the guise of a status report on ObamaCare, Katie Couric on Thursday night derided Republican efforts to repeal it just as it’s “starting to kick in.” She pleaded for viewers to give it a chance as she rationalized “the law is vulnerable because of the complex way it tries to fold 30 million uninsured people into the system,” fretting “damage could be inflicted by choking off funding for programs that support the law, but a greater threat is the legal storm that's brewing.”
“The health care law may not be popular, but many of the provisions now in effect are,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asserted in his Thursday night look at the House vote to repeal ObamaCare as he highlighted one beneficiary of it without a balancing opponent or list of detrimental provisions: “To Kris Cambra, whose four-year-old son has a heart condition, the law is a life changer, and repeal would be a disaster.”
Karl touted: “Already, seniors are getting more money to pay for their prescription drugs. Children can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. And children with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage.”
On the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proposed the vote matched the public perception of Republicans as more inflexible than President Obama: “And just today, kind of as we speak, the Republicans in the House pretty much straight up and down party line vote to repeal ObamaCare, knowing it's dead on arrival in the Senate where the Democrats run things.”
"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" must be the motto at Reuters, or at least of the wire service's Richard Cowan, three other contributors, and Editor Jackie Frank.
Cowan's late Sunday afternoon dispatch (HT to an e-mailer) is caricature-driven collection of cliches, half-truth, outright myths, and totally predictable oversights. There's the racial slurs before the heath care vote fabrication. There's an attempt to declare Sarah Palin unfit for the presidency.
And of course, there's the deliberately avoided recall of rhetoric from President Obama (here and here, for warm-ups) that could certainly be interpreted by unstable people as a call to violence, as well as total omission of the left's anger just days ago over Gabrielle Giffords's refusal to back Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader and the leftist inclinations of deeply troubled accused murderer Jared Lee Loughner.
But that stuff's not important when there are disliked right-wingers to pile onto while the piling-on opportunity is there:
Okay, who slipped truth serum into Evan Thomas's coffee?
On Friday, Newsweek's "Editor at Large" (according to his bio here) appeared on "Inside Washington" (link to entire show is here; transcript not yet available). After being cued up with a softball from host Gordon Peterson about how supposedly great Friday's news about the drop in the national unemployment rate was (uh, not exactly, Gordon), Thomas segued into a somewhat surprising comment about how ObamaCare's implementation is going as it meets the real world. In a word (Thomas's), it's a disaster (HT Daily Caller via Instapundit):
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, Washington Post staff writer and Newsweek columnist Ezra Klein defended Obamacare and warned Republicans against attempting to repeal the law as he contended that some provisions are popular with the public. After host Keith Olbermann asked if Democrats should "relish rejoining the fight over health care reform" because it could hurt Republicans, Klein urged Democrats to fight. Klein:
They should be going to war over it. It's an incredibly important achievement for them, and if Democrats cannot defend a deficit-reducing bill that brings health care insurance to 32 million people and allows folks with pre-existing conditions to get any insurance they want, if they can't defend that, frankly, they, on some level, don't really deserve to be a party. If you can't defend the best thing you've done in a generation, then you've got some political problems that are bigger than anything the Republicans are doing to you.
The Washington Post writer eventually predicted that Republicans would be embracing and defending Obamacare by the year 2050. Klein: "In 2050 Republicans will be saying, ‘How dare you cut Obamacare?’"
AP reporters Calvin Woodward and Andrew Taylor answered the bell and came out swinging at the Republican House within hours after John Boehner was sworn in as Speaker, accusing the GOP of supposedly breaking a number of core promises.
As usual when the wire service covers Republicans, there's no shortage of inconsistency bordering on hypocrisy coming from AP's alleged journalists.
Here are selected paragraphs from this morning's report ("PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP drops some out of the gate"):
ABC’s Diane Sawyer hit a group of incoming freshmen House and Senate members about presumed Tea Party hypocrisy in accepting farm subsidies and not refusing to accept federal employee health care while CBS’s Katie Couric, with three House members, despaired over the “danger” that budget cuts might “be too deep?” Forwarding liberal talking points, in the pre-recorded segment aired on Wednesday’s World News, Sawyer relayed:
The Democrats have a challenge for the Republicans, saying, if you're going to cut spending, go ahead and start close to home. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri got more than $750,000 in taxpayer subsidies for her farm. Are you ready to vote against all farm subsidies?
Sawyer continued: “And on the promise to repeal health care reform, Democrats ask: Will they be giving up their new taxpayer-subsidized insurance? Only two of them said they would.”
On the CBS Evening News, Couric noted “Republicans say high on their priority list is deficit reduction, starting with major cuts in domestic spending this year. Fiscally conservative freshmen say everything’s fair game.” She then fretted: “But is there danger in your view, Congressman West, that the ax will be too sharp, that the cuts will be too deep?”
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith seemed skeptical of the legal reasoning of a federal judge who ruled part of ObamaCare was unconstitutional: "The thing that he objects to most strenuously is this idea that everybody has to be insured. And the Republicans are jumping up and down, they're ready to have a party. Do you think they have a legal leg to stand on?"
Smith directed that question to Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who used the softball setup to declare: "I think the law is sound, and when Eric Cantor on the Republican side says, 'Let's repeal ObamaCare,' he wants to repeal the protection Americans want against the discrimination against them for pre-existing conditions. I think that's a losing political position."
Imagine the (justifiable) media and other outcry that would result if a previous presidential administration and congressional leadership had convinced gullible House and Senate members to pass a law which they weren't given time to read specifying the following about a new Military Spending Board.
First, the Board appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) sets a predetermined (by the Board) target for military spending growth. If the Board determines that the growth of military spending will not match this predetermined target, it has the power to enact a remedy through “fast track” legislation, which will work like this:
So what should be made of the historic midterm election of 2010?
While all the pundits try to analyze polling data and read between the lines, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer has a clearer view. In his view, President Barack Obama’s so-called hope and change agenda is dead and it’s up to Obama to determine his direction.
Back in March, in the runup to the final ObamaCare vote in the House, the establishment press was thrilled when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report estimating that ObamaCare would, in the CBO's words, "produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenue." At the time, NB's Brent Baker noted how positively giddy Katie Couric at CBS News was over the CBO's estimate. Couric even claimed: "The price tag certified."
If only. It turns out that the key word in the CBO statement was "direct."
On Friday, CBO head Doug Elmendorf made a presentation (HT Jed Graham at IBD) at the Schaeffer Center of the University of Southern California entitled "Economic Effects of the March Health Legislation." In it, as shown below, he revealed a pesky and significant indirect effect of the legislation. In the process, he also introduced us to a new economic disease (my name) -- ObamaCare Withdrawn Labor Syndrome, or "OWL":
The Scranton Times-Tribune on Thursday attacked a conservative organization's radio ad for supposedly spreading "bald-faced lies" about the sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals, and labeled the organization "political hit-and-run artists who pervert the facts." The newspaper's attack-editorial actually glossed over what it had earlier reported on ObamaCare's effect on hospitals and ignored the original words of the hospitals' CEO.
On October 6, WNEP, Scranton's ABC-affiliated TV station, reported that Mercy Health Partners, which owns the three Catholic hospitals, was "already in talks with organizations interested in buying. Mercy Health Partners CEO Kevin Cook acknowledged on-camera that "health care reform was absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely."
The radio spot by CatholicVote.org, a political action committee whose statement of beliefs criticizes the "culture of dependency that has been caused by (sometimes well-intentioned but misguided) government programs," highlighted Cook's remark: "Mercy Hospital CEO Kevin Cook said that President Obama's health care law is absolutely playing in role in their decision to close their doors."