On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd was eager to declare the ObamaCare disaster to be over and claim Republicans were now of the defensive: "With 750,000 visitors to the site yesterday without a crash and the Obama administration now confident that the website is functioning...the Republican repeal movement may actually now fizzle out completely." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd attempted to bolster his assertion by citing leftist Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who on Monday declared that supposed fixes to HealthCare.gov meant that "opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law."
On November 19, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "[W]e still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January" for those who have enrolled in plans through HealthCare.gov.
On Black Friday, while almost no one was paying attention, Alex Nussbaum at Bloomberg News reported that "The administration is setting up a temporary process ... (in which) insurers will estimate what they are owed rather than have the government calculate the bill." Somehow, they'll settle up (or "true up") at the detailed level later. Tuesday evening, Roberta Rampton and Caroline Humer at Reuters covered this development. The Reuters item, which went live about an hour before Megyn Kelly's broadcast last night, moved the Fox News host to treat it as her lead story.
Call it a case of interview envy--in the context of an ongoing feud between two MSNBC hosts.
There has been bad blood between Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews for years, as here, here and here. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took the occasion of Chris Matthews' impending interview of President Obama to mock the way Matthews' on-air schedule has shrunk. In a particularly low blow, Scarborough even compared the Hardball host to Regis Philbin. View the video after the jump.
How does one do a report on an important commerce-related web site without mentioning serious known security problems which are so bad that respected IT experts warn that it shouldn't be used? Ask Kate Pickert at Time's Swampland blog and Kelli Kennedy at the Associated Press, because that's exactly what they did.
Pickert and Kennedy reviewed the new and not much improved HealthCare.gov on December 2 and 3, respectively. No variation of the word "security" is in either writeup. Both reports ignore the fact that IT experts are absolutely appalled at the site's lack of security.
Well now the landing page for the Lean Forward network is hailing HealthCare.gov as the "website [which] might just save your life." The teaser headline links to msnbc.com staffer AliyahFrumin's gauzy treatment of President Obama's latest speech plugging his troubled health care overhaul (emphasis mine; see screen capture below page break):
Anyone doubting Roger Ailes' eye for talent needs to go somewhere else besides his shuffling of Fox News's weekday evening lineup, especially but not exclusively his decision to move Megyn Kelly into the 9 p.m. time slot.
Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that Kelly has put even more distance between Fox and its so-called competitors at CNN, MSNBC, and HLN, while Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity have both grown their respective time slots (HT Johnny Dollar's Place; bolds are mine):
Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's CBS This Morning both underlined the continuing problems with HealthCare.gov, even after the Obama administration claimed "it met its deadline to make HealthCare.gov work smoothly for the vast majority of shoppers". Meanwhile, the network's competitors at NBC hyped the supposed positive news about the ObamaCare website.
Wyatt Andrews noted how the White House "says that 375,000 people tried to shop on HealthCare.gov," but soon touted how "that high a number created some problems". The following morning, Major Garrett reported that "the challenges are not over" for the online health insurance clearinghouse [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Leading off a report on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander skeptically observed: "The Obama administration says it met it's own goal of significantly improving the HealthCare.gov website, but that's the easy part. That's like kind of giving yourself a passing grade." At the end of segment, he noted insurance companies warning of the "logistical nightmare" caused by inaccurate information being entered into the ObamaCare database. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite such critical analysis of the health care law in the nearly 2-minute report, by Nightly News that evening, anchor Brian Williams reduced the news to a mere 28 seconds, emphasizing only the positive: "We have an update now on the HealthCare.gov website. It is now working better and faster, as the White House promised it would by now. But they say they know it is still far from perfect. By 5:30 this evening Eastern Time, the website had logged 750,000 visitors so far today. That's getting closer to that 800,000 daily user goal the rebooted site is supposed to be able to handle."
The folks at MSNBC.com seem to be dutifully following their on-air counterparts in providing cover for the failed rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, even as sister network CNBC is reporting ongoing problems with the site.
In a December 2 online piece, Sarah Muller, Senior Digital Producer for The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell, wrote a gushing pro-ObamaCare piece exulting that “Major Obamacare website bug [was] killed.”
In a segment on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press that host David Gregory laughably billed as an ObamaCare "reality check," he invited two of the law's biggest supporters to deliver White House spin, former administration health policy advisor and brother of the President's former chief of staff Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and liberal Washington Post blog editor Ezra Klein. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to the supposed fix to HealthCare.gov, Gregory teed up Emanuel: "Is it good enough progress?" Emanuel predictably replied: "I think it's good enough progress. Clearly, just like Google and Facebook and all the internet sites are constantly tweaking their sites, constantly improving them, this one still has a ways to go. But it is certainly working reasonably well....So I think actually we are going in the right direction."
On Wednesday's All In on MSNBC, during a discussion of how to deal with conservative relatives at Thanksgiving dinner, host Chris Hayes at one point seemed to claim that Republicans "sabotaged" the ObamaCare Web site, Healthcare.Gov.
CBS contributor Nancy Giles also complained that she "hates" it when people who "hate government" get into power and then "dismantle" government.
After a clip of right-leaning FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer asserting that the failure proves that "liberalism doesn't work," Giles made fun of his clothing, and then griped:
On Sunday's Meet the Press, as Republican Congressman Mike Rogers denounced ObamaCare's "unprecedented confiscation of people's health care," moderator David Gregory interrupted to parrot White House talking points defending the disastrous policy: "...you talk about confiscation, the reality is there's also a lot of people who are going to have the potential to get insurance who never had insurance. And you have a small piece of the market where people may lose plans. Many of those will get better plans in the individual market." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rogers attempted to push back against Gregory's assertions: "But David, that's not true. David – a hundred million people [may lose their insurance]." Gregory just kept talking over the Congressman, citing a poll that 54% of Americans think the ObamaCare problems will be solved and concluding: "That's a level of credibility and belief in the system that presumably is very important."
Potemkin Village, anyone? Joe Scarborough has offered a scathing simile for the new-'n-improved Obamacare website. On today's Morning Joe, he likened the site to the set of a Hollywood Western--pushing back the facade reveals that there's nothing behind it.
Even former Obama spox Robert Gibbs—proudly sporting an Auburn jersey—acknowledged that big chunks of the system, including the payment mechanism for subsidies, haven't even been built. So people can go to the site, receive the illusion that they have obtained coverage, only to find that there is no follow-through. View the video after the jump.
Being a leftist of the Obama ilk, you have to assume that Congressman Keith Ellison thought he was doing President Obama a favor in offering his interpretation of the president's "if you like your plan, you can keep it" line, as well as his subsequent non-apology apology.
But on today's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Ellison wound up putting words in the president's mouth that quite literally added insult to injury. Ellison first falsely claimed that Pres. Obama had said "if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it." Obama of course never said any such thing. Moreover, according to Ellison, by his apology Obama meant "if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I'm sorry." So the fault lies not with Obama for having blatantly misled the American people. No, it's those ignorant Americans—too dense to dig the real meaning of the great man's words—who are to blame. View the video after the jump.
As has so often been the case since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the editorialists at a major national business newspaper are reporting facts that the wire services and broadcast networks should have relayed to the American people weeks or months ago.
In this case, it's the Wall Street Journal. A Friday evening editorial published in Saturday's print edition directly refutes the Obama administration's key Obamacare memes involving affordability, choice, and the nature of the once-free health insurance market (bolds are mine):
In the runup to Thanksgiving, Organizing For Action, the group whose sole mission is to promote President Barack Obama's agenda, with the "help" of an absolutely horrid video, encouraged its members to "have the talk with your loved ones" about signing up for Obamacare.
Just before Thanksgiving, as P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters noted on Thursday, two Huffington Post writers suggested that changing the subject away from Obamacare might be the better move. Even Andrew Rosenthal at the Obama-loving New York Times was concerned: "I question the wisdom of directing people to a cheery ad for the exchanges before they, you know, work. The president’s communications team is just asking for it." Based on tweets collected by the intrepid Twitter monitors at Twitchy.com, they got it (some individual tweets were given minor edits; bolds are mine):
The Conservative Campaign Committee says on its "About" page that it is "a traditional Political Action Committee that works with grassroots conservatives across the country to make our movement more effective, hold Barack Obama and the liberals in Washington accountable and support important campaigns and outstanding conservative candidates for federal office." CCC clearly states that its ads and other efforts are "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Yet MSNBC's Ed Schultz has taken to Twitter to shriek (HT Twitchy) that "Ted Cruz is targeting Thanksgiving" because CCC is running TV ads during Thanksgiving thanking the Texas senator for "doing everything he could to stop Obamacare before it hurt the American people." Meanwhile, Organizing for Action, whose only mission is to promote the President's agenda and whose charter member list came over from Obama's 2012 campaign, is directly targeting Americans' Thanksgiving gatherings by coaching its members on how to talk up the wonders of Obamacare. Obama himself spoke directly to members to encourage them "to talk about the ACA at holiday parties."
Sharyl Attkisson uncovered another Obama administration falsehood about ObamaCare on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, spotlighting a 2010 document from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which "estimated ObamaCare would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 14 million". This is contrary to the White House's "repeated assurances that nothing will change for those insured through work".
Attkisson featured the cases of two small business owners who had to discontinue the health insurance plans for their employees, including a New Hampshire woman who "remains an avid ObamaCare supporter", despite the problems with HealthCare.gov. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Leave it to MSNBC to see Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful for ObamaCare, Wendy Davis, same-sex marriage, and John Kerry hammering out an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
"In a year where Congress’ approval rating has reached an all time low, an embattled President Obama faces the healthcare challenge that could define his legacy, and the timetable for US troops in Afghanistan remains murky, it is all too easy to become cynical about the public sphere," MSNBC.com writers Johnny Simon and FarraKober confessed in a piece published this morning. "But when members of the msnbc family paused to reflect, what they recalled was a year full of triumph and spirit," they noted in the lead paragraph of their November 26 "Why I'm thankful" slideshow feature.
On October 3, the National Retail Federation projected that "sales in the months of November and December" will "marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth." But on October 16, it warned that "the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, two percent less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year."
Anne D'Innocenzio at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in a report on the upcoming Christmas shopping season, chose to report the NRF's overall November-December increase, and ignored the obviously more relevant and more recent individual spending expectations. She also held off mentioning the elephant in the room — sharply reduced spending by Obamacare "sticker shock" victims and those who anticipate more of the same during 2014 — until the 19th of her 21 paragraphs (bolds are mine):
How shambolic of a smoking ruin is the Obama presidency? When Tina Brown surveys the wreckage, the best—the best!—thing she sees, the thing she believes will be Barack Obama's shining legacy, is his handling of Iran and Syria, which she declares to be "smart," and of course, "nuanced."
The Obamacare catastrophe? Not to worry. On today's Morning Joe, Brown assured us that those problems are "transient." No, look over here, at President Obama's masterful handling of foreign policy! Yes, years from now, when the minor hiccups of the Obamacare rollout will be long forgotten, people will still be marvelling at how well Barack Obama dealt with Iran and Syria. View the video here.
One of the two sequences involved the Obama administration's announcement that it will delay Obamacare enrollment for 2015 by 30 days until November 15, 2014 and its optimism that the dysfunctional, insecure HealthCare.gov web site will be operational by the end of the month. In this sequence, Pace indicated blind acceptance of unsupported assertions combined with willingness to parrot long-discredited talking points about why the website initially crashed. Fortunately, as we'll see, Wallace did not let her website history rewrite slide (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC to promote his book,Double Down: Game Change 2012, Time magazine's Mark Halperin recounted that the media did not "scrutinize" ObamaCare before its passage or during the 2012 presidential election, although he also placed some blame on Republicans for nominating former Governor Mitt Romney who was known for pushing a health care plan in Massachusetts.
After substitute host Laura Ingraham complained that concerns about ObamaCare "were routinely dismissed" in the media, Halperin responded:
After NBC refused to even mention ObamaCare since November 18, Saturday's Today allowed left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews to actually blame Republicans for the program's ongoing failures: "I think the acid test here is participation, not efficiency. It comes down to whether young people who are healthy are willing to join up....There's a big scary thing, though, that if you look at all the criticism from the other side, from the Republican side, that's discouraging people from joining up." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews proclaimed that if the young and healthy "join up in big numbers," then "the President wins." He framed signing up for ObamaCare as a matter of civic duty: "Will people join up and take their responsibility as citizens really to be part of a national health care program? That's a question that's still not answered."
On Thurday, Fox News "analyst" Juan Williams and several other liberal journalists met privately and off the record with President Obama.
On Fox News Sunday, Williams went into what apparently are the administration's internal (and perhaps becoming external) talking points about the policy trainwrecks HealthCare.gov and Obamacare in general have become. They are that the Affordable Care Act's failure to gain the support of even one House or Senate Republican is the party's "original sin," and that the program's rollout is an attempt to fix what it inherited — yet another tacit contention which essentially comes down to, "It's Bush's fault."
Anyone out there who still doesn't believe or won't admit that the establishment press is hopelessly biased in favor of the left, particularly the Obama administration, needs to have the establishment press's virtual failure to cover the Jessica Sanford story rubbed in their faces.
Ms. Sanford is the unfortunate victim of deception by Washington state's Obamacare exchange. When it was thought that she would get a significant Obamacare subsidy and a net monthly premium of $169, President Obama touted her story based on a letter she wrote to him in a Rose Garden speech. Ms. Sanford has since learned that the state exchange seriously erred, and that she will get no subsidy at all. Because she can't afford to pay the monthly premium, which now appears to be in the neighborhood of $600 a month (her original premium was said to be $169, and her original subsidy was reported as $452), she will go without health insurance coverage next year and pay the Affordable Care Act's mandated fine.
After going 72 hours without even mentioning ObamaCare on its air waves, NBC's continued refusal to cover the disastrous policy on Thursday's Nightly News or Friday's Today brought that total up to 96 hours. Amazingly, Friday's Today had the audacity to include two segments about Vice President Joe Biden buying lunch at a Washington D.C. sandwich shop rather provide any ObamaCare updates.
Even ABC's Good Morning America, a morning show generally devoid of all substance, managed to find time for at least a few seconds on the topic: "Speaking of President Obama, more trouble this morning for ObamaCare. The Wall Street Journal says it has obtained documents that show some insurance companies are drastically cutting payments to doctors. Forcing those doctors to reconsider whether they want to participate in the new exchanges, which could hurt choice for consumers."
Morning Joe sidekick Mika Brzezinski hurled a favorite liberal accusation at Republicans on Thursday’s episode. She started by presenting it merely as a question that she and Joe Scarborough received often during his book tour: “One of the points [Joe] makes [in his book] was illuminated in a question that we get everywhere we went, which is why do Republicans not want Americans to have health care? That’s what they think.”
Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush White House staffer, unfortunately accepted the premise that Republicans don’t want people to have health care. The supposedly conservative guest replied with just the answer Brzezinski wanted: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
After censoring any coverage of the continuing ObamaCare disaster since Monday morning, NBC did manage to find time to cover Michelle Obama's fashion choices and the First Couple's first date on Wednesday's Today, with co-host Matt Lauer excitedly telling viewers to stay tuned: "First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about her very first date with the future president as well as her biggest fashion regret." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the segment that followed, news reader Natalie Morales gushed: "We're used to seeing First Lady Michelle Obama looking very stylish and picture perfect, but in a new interview with BET, the First Lady admitted there is one particular look that she now regrets....the First Lady was also asked about her first date with the President and she revealed more about their day-long adventure than she's ever really revealed before."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three morning show to spotlight Henry Chao's stunning revelation to Congress – that a significant portion of the I.T. infrastructure needed to support HealthCare.gov has yet to be built. NBC's Today completely ignored Chao's testimony, while GMA aired a 19-second brief that vaguely summarized the hearing. Meanwhile, the ABC show devoted a 1 minute and 45 second report to a puppy that sleeps with a baby.
Major Garrett reported that Chao "told Congress Tuesday the team making emergency repairs still has another major task to accomplish: building 30 percent to 40 percent of the web systems needed to make payments to insurance companies." Garrett also featured two soundbites from the testimony of a panel of cyber-security experts, who warned that the ObamaCare website remains vulnerable to hackers: [audio available here; video below the jump]