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.
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:
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):
President Obama has taken it upon himself to bypass Congress and issues numerous executive orders surrounding ObamaCare and immigration reform despite having questionable constitutional authority to do so. Despite the serious issues with President Obama’s continuous usurping of Congress, both Bob Schieffer and Jonathan Karl mocked GOP skepticism of President Obama on the Sunday shows.
On February 9th, Schieffer and Karl rushed to attack the GOP over immigration reform and for showing skepticism over President Obama’s unwillingness to be an honest broker on immigration reform. On ABC’s This Week, fill-in host Karl declared that, “Can we acknowledge that this excuse that the speaker used, it's the president and Republicans can't trust him. Can we acknowledge that was a pretty lame excuse?”
Thursday's CNN Newsroom spotlighted how President Obama "called for promoting religious freedom – quote, 'a key part of U.S. foreign policy," at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, but glossed over his administration's controversial birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare, which is being challenged in an ongoing Supreme Court case. The cable network still stood out, however, as none of the Big Three networks aired reports on Obama's speech.
John King zeroed in on the President's "very moving tribute to the Americans held in prison in North Korea and in Iran because of their faith-based beliefs." Instead of mentioning the HHS mandate, anchor Carol Costello played up the Democrat's encounter with a conservative politician as a supposed glimmer of hope for bipartisanship: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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):
No matter how bleak things get for ObamaCare, no matter how bad the law looks to the public, you can rest assured that someone at MSNBC will always be ready and willing to make excuses for the law, even speaking of necessary "sacrifices" to be made as a "nation" for the greater good of "universal health care."
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Mark Halperin of Time magazine assumed the role of ObamaCare spinmeister. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Following White House talking points to the letter on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd bemoaned how "Republicans immediately seized on" the Congressional Budget Office report on ObamaCare costing the economy over 2 million jobs "and spun it the way they want to spin it." He fretted that Democrats would have a tough time defending ObamaCare "in the world of sound bites and 30-second TV ads." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin minutes later, Todd complained: "On health care, a lot of your Republican friends are taking it [the CBO report] and calling it – it is an unfair statement to – they should not be saying this is costing 2 million jobs, is that right?"
Give Sam Stein credit for being an honest liberal. Confronted with the CBO's findings about the disastrous job-killing effects of Obamacare, Stein didn't try to spin the unspinnable.
On today's Morning Joe, Donnie Deutsch invited Stein to play a game of Mad Men. Deutsch first sketched out a 30-second ad making the case against Obamacare--that contrary to what President Obama had said, you can't choose your provider and the program costs the country two million jobs. Deutsch then invited Stein to give the 30-second ad in response. Said Stein, much to the amusement of the panel: "The 30-second response is something like: 'Please change the subject to something else.' What do you want me to say?" View the video after the jump.
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 nothingrelevant, respectively.
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.
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):
We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of "quirks," "oddities" and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.
The word is "tricky." In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren't allowed onto their parents' Obamacare plan, but they also aren't eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: "HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS." Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what's really going on thanks to their replacement headline: "Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans." Content excerpts from Holly Ramer's otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything's possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):
When it comes to reporting on aspects of Obamacare, the press is really good at pretending to speculate about outcomes which have already happened in the real world, and at contradicting Obama administration assertions without telling readers that's what they've just done.
Case in point: Last Tuesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Carla K. Johnson and Tom Murphy told readers that Obamacare "could touch ... people who have insurance through work," and that "The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers" and to "start excluding spouses." The law has already "prompted" all of these things. Excerpts follow the jump.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
Carol Costello predictably carried water for the cultural left on Friday's CNN Newsroom during a segment about the firestorm over former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's "Uncle Sugar" attack on Democrats. Costello trumpeted how "Democrats are quite gleeful" over Huckabee's remarks, and bemoaned conservatives' opposition to ObamaCare's contraception mandate: "I just can't believe we're still talking about birth control in 2014. It's just weird to me."
The anchor also glossed over the religious liberty component to the debate, and suggested that the GOP/conservatives should just drop the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Fortunately for Mr. Obama, the president enjoys a liberal news media intent on shielding the president -- and with him his congressional Democratic allies -- as best they can. On Thursday evening, none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even bothered to briefly mention the Moody's downgrade. Likewise none of the Big Three morning news programs thought it worthy of even a brief mention in a news-desk roundup. The New York Times -- motto: All the news that's fit to print -- also ignored the story in its Friday print edition.
Jay Leno had some harsh words for President Obama last night. Speaking on the Tonight Show, Leno said that, “President Obama has a new political slogan. Yes we cannabis!”
The long time Tonight Show host is ending his tenure at NBC in a few weeks and has used the opportunity to mock President Obama at every turn. One of his favorite targets has been the disastrous ObamaCare rollout, which he took full aim at on Thursday night. [See the full video below.]
Much will be written, and should be, about President Barack Obama's whining that racism partially explains the year-long plunge in his popularity since his reelection in 2012. What's also worth noting about the ponderous and painfully long (18 web pages) January 27 writeup in The New Yorker ("Going the Distance; On and off the road with Barack Obama") is David Remnick's apparent obsessions with rewriting history and recasting reality.
But first, here's the paragraph where Obama, apparently feeling that the "it's Bush's fault I inherited all these messes" card may finally have worn itself out, goes for the race card (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Thursday, Stephanie Condon at CBS News reported ("Security chief: HealthCare.gov has passed security testing") that Teresa Fryer, who had recommended against allowing HealthCare.gov going live before its October launch but was overruled, "told Congress ... that the Obamacare website passed security testing in December, and she would recommend that its official Authority to Operate (ATO) be extended when the current ATO expires in March."
On Friday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, in an otherwise keister-covering dispatch apparently designed to show that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was really, really unaware of the web site's prelaunch security problems, claimed without qualification that "There have been no successful attacks on the site" — even though by law the government "need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised."
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- While the Obama administration offers life support to its Affordable Care Act, in the UK a growing number of people are asking whether it's time to pull the plug on the National Health Service (NHS), which is in critical condition.
For many years the UK media have carried stories that not only bode ill for the future of government-run health care, but also continue to serve as a "code blue" warning to the U.S. as to what might be in our future if we decide to go down that road.
It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?
MSNBC personalities continue to do all they can to put a happy face on the rollout of ObamaCare. On Tuesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Ms. Wagner and MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein furiously spun the latest enrollment numbers of “young invincibles.” First off, Klein advised the MSNBC audience not to worry about the presently low enrollment among young people; things will probably get better!
Gee, Ed, do you think that the world's worst rollout and the looming actuarial disaster could have anything to do with it?
On his MSNBC show today, Ed Schultz seemed shocked that Dems in DC he recently spoke with were reluctant to run on Obamacare. In a moment of comical candor, Schultz admitted: "if you're doing statistics, you're not going to win that battle." Translation: well, yeah, there is that thing about the numbers not adding up. But Ed still urged Dems to run on the "moral component." Since when is bilking the young and healthy "moral"? View the video after the jump.
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo and Elizabeth Cohen applauded the 2.2 million reported enrollments in ObamaCare as "good," but also lamented that only 25 percent of the sign-ups are young adults. The Obama administration had hoped that 40 percent of the enrollees would fall in the 18 to 34-year-old age group.
Cuomo and Cohen pointed the finger entirely at insurance companies for this low figure and the resulting higher health insurance premiums: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In perhaps the most nauseating way to put a positive light on the poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers, Time’s Kate Pickert claimed that a “huge surge in Obamacare enrollment” occurred at the close of last year. In what could have been described as an Obama press release, the Time “Swampland” blog spun so hard for the president’s health care law, Press Secretary Jay Carney couldn't do any better.
Pickert began her “article” by cheering on the Obama administration, proclaiming that “As federal officials predicted, the flood of Americans trying to sign up for health insurance by the end of 2013 ended in a tidal wave.”
Let's see. We know, to name just a few of many impositions, that much of the enrollee information that HealthCare.gov and other exchanges have communicated to insurers has been erroneous, that insurers have had to deal with signing up hundreds of thousands of policyholders they originally cancelled, that deadlines for premium payments have been serially revised, and that there is no computerized subsidy payment system in place.
Yet Chad Terhune at the Los Angeles Times is irresponsibly steering gullible readers into believing that insurers are responsible for the Obamacare-related chaos and poor customer service, when it's a virtual miracle that anyone is being served at all (HT Patterico; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Bullying by staffers of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has denied knowledge of their actions when they were taken, is a national news obsession. Bullying by staffers of Colorado Senator Mark Udall — which the Senator has acknowledged and is defending — is barely a blip.
The story, first reported in the Colorado blogosphere at Complete Colorado, is that Udall staffers "worked assiduously to revise press accounts that 249,000 Coloradans received health care cancellation notices" by pressuring the state's Department of Insurance to change the definition of "cancellation." There is no dispute that the cancellations as normal people understand the word occurred (links are in original; bolds are mine):