From its inception, everything about President Barack Obama's health care law has been controversial.
The latest controversy came with the government release of new numbers. Through February, 4.2 million Americans had signed up for health insurance on the government exchanges. Supporters believe that while the numbers are lower than they'd hoped, the problem was simply a poor website rollout.
MSNBC’s newest liberal darling Ronan Farrow paid a visit to Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” on Tuesday night, and the daytime MSNBC host was hilariously mocked by the liberal comedian during the entire segment.
Throughout the interview, Colbert repeatedly poked fun at Farrow and his liberal MSNBC network, going so far as to tell his guest at age 26 “You could actually still be on your mother's health insurance thanks to ObamaCare.” [See video below.]
Last night, I noted that the Associated Press had not deigned to consider Republican David Jolly's victory over Democrat Alex Sink in the FL-13 Congressional race a "Top U.S. Story" as of 10:13 p.m. To AP's credit (or perhaps because of yours truly's and others' razzing?), a story about the race was at the Number 6 spot in Top U.S. Stories as of 8:15 this morning.
CNN.com, on the other hand (HT to NewsBusters commenter "Jon"), is clearly playing "hide the story" with the Jolly-Sink race. Its worldwide home page as of 8:38 a.m. had one line item titled "GOP wins year's 1st election showdown" halfway down the page, and a tiny picture in the "Politics" section near the bottom of the page headlined "GOP Scores First 2014 Win." Could they be any more vague? Its U.S. home page as of 7:37 a.m. had no reference to the race at all.
We all know that if Democrat Alex Sink had defeated David Jolly in FL-13's special Congressional election tonight, the morning news shows would have been all over the story, crowing that her victory represented a convincing verdict in favor of Obamacare.
Well, that didn't happen. David Jolly won, despite being badly outspent and forced to survive a bruising January primary. He also had to deal with running against Sink, a former Sunshine State gubernatorial candidate with far greater name recognition, and a libertarian candidate who siphoned off almost 5 percent of the vote. Though the Associated Press has a fairly balanced and lengthy story on the outcome, it somehow wasn't important enough to be carried as one of its Top 10 U.S. stories at 10:13 PM tonight. One story which did make the "Top 10" cut was (not kidding) about "Oregon owners of a 22-pound housecat that trapped them in their bedroom after attacking their baby." The AP story itself also didn't present the result as quite the referendum on Obamacare the left was predicting when they thought their candidate would prevail.
On Tuesday evening, the networks continued relaying the White House's plea to young voters to sign up for ObamaCare, touting President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis where Obama plugged for his own health care law. ABC's Diane Sawyer called it a "bold move" and both CBS and NBC hailed the interview as a success. CBS's Scott Pelley said, "it worked. The video became the number one reason people visited HealthCare.gov today."
The networks ignored, however, the bad news of the day for the law, that enrollment numbers for young people are still far below what is needed.
In the past week, Radio Shack has announced that will close 1,100 stores, or over 20 percent of its U.S. outlets. Staples is shuttering 225 stores, or roughly 12 percent of theirs. Smaller downsizings earlier this year have been reported at Macy's (involving store and other personnel) and J.C. Penney.
One gets the impression from press reports that these are occurring primarily because of poor management or the ongoing trend towards more online sales. Though those two factors are obviously relevant, the fact that the economy began weakening during the fourth quarter, especially so in December, rarely gets a mention. When it does get noted, it's usually something mild, along the lines of "disappointing holiday sales." A Thursday afternoon Associated Press article by business writer Tom Murphy illustrates the kid-glove approach (bolds are mine; my responses to certain of Murphy's points are in italics):
ABC’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos was the only Sunday show that bothered to cover the latest ObamaCare delay and with it came some interesting insight from the panel of political experts.
Appearing on Sunday’s program, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan mocked the latest delay and hilariously asked her fellow panelists if “there still a law? Is there still an ObamaCare law? It's been changed in 25 ways.” [See video below.]
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl following his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and from the beginning was met with a barrage of questions over his outspoken criticism of President Obama.
The interview, which aired on Sunday’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos, featured a myriad of topics including repealing ObamaCare. During the segment, Senator Cruz mocked how the “media treats that as a bizarre proposition” to which Karl laughed and asserted “it is because he’s not going to sign it. It is a bizarre proposition.” [See video below.]
Few have defended the Obama administration, and especially Obamacare, as vocally and in my view often unreasonably, as Fox News's Juan Williams. He has gone so far as to call Republican Party opposition to Obamacare its "original sin," and absurdly claimed that "massive opposition" from Republicans is what forced HealthCare.gov's rushed rollout.
One blind spot Williams does not have involves how consistently horribly leftists treat African-American conservatives, or even African-Americans who express an occasional sensibly conservative thought. One reason the left is so brazen in its persecution attempts is its knowledge that no matter how uncivil or unreasonable, their attempts will almost never gain wide exposure in the nation's establishment press. The latest example concerns calls by the faculty at Rutgers University to prevent former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from her scheduled appearance as commencement speaker there this year. Williams expressed his outrage in a Thursday Fox News column (HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
You reap what you sow. Most MSNBC hosts have excitedly touted ObamaCare over the past four years, despite warnings that the law would increase costs for businesses. Well, now we are beginning to see the natural consequences of what the health care law is doing to businesses, and at least one MSNBC host is upset by it.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt was incensed that Gator’s Dockside, a Florida restaurant chain, has started charging its customers a one percent surcharge to help cover expected ObamaCare-related costs. Witt fumed, “[I]s it even legal to just add on a surcharge like that? I mean, it’s essentially a tax.” [See video below the break.]
Perhaps I'm being too kind in describing the Associated Press as "The Administration's Press." Based on Jim Kuhnhenn's ridiculous "Don't worry, be happy" Saturday report on how unimportant he says the still growing national debt and the still historically large federal budget deficits supposedly are, maybe I should start calling the wire service "The Administration's Publicists" instead.
Kuhnhenn stopped just short of writing that the national debt ($17.41 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $10.63 trillion when Barack Obama took office 61 months ago, an average increase of $111 billion per month) and the annual federal budget deficit (on track to be over $500 billion for the sixth year in a row, four of which saw deficits of over $1 trillion) aren't worthy of attention, but it's clear that he believes we shouldn't be concerned about them in making electoral choices (bolds are mine):
Separately, left-leaning law professor Jonathan Turley warned a Congressional committee on Wednesday that President Obama's extensive use of executive orders, executive actions, and unilateral regulatory moves threatens to enable the President, as Turley phrased it in a Fox News interview on Thursday, to "effectively become a government unto himself." If Turley had made his statement in 2006 or 2007 during the Iraq War, it would almost certainly have become a media obsession. Instead, as will be shown after the jump, Turley's testimony is being completely ignored by everyone except center-right news outlets and bloggers.
Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat's career as Congress's longest-serving member will end with this session.
With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell's decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration's regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called "Obamacare." That emphasis on Obamacare "somehow" overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio's Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law's passage in March 2010. It's the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn't), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.
Congressman Gary Peters (D-M.I.) seems to have some really thin skin as he recently threatened several Michigan TV stations for airing political ads targeting his support for ObamaCare.
In a piece in the Washington Examiner, reporter Charles Hoskinson revealed how the Michigan Democrat, who is running for Senate to replace the retiring Carl Levin, is upset over an ad produced by Americans for Prosperity. The ad featured Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient who said that Peters’ support of ObamaCare “jeopardized my health.”
The AP's White House correspondent, surely at the suggestion of the group she is supposed to be covering objectively, writes that President Barack Obama's forays into unilateral executive action have been good for his soul. The President's authoritarian moves have apparently also been "cathartic" for the White House staff, now reportedly "buoyed by a new sense of purpose." Isn't that sweet? Excerpts from this piece of journalistic junk follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
First Lady Michelle Obama insulted the young people of America during an appearance on Thursday night’s Tonight Show. Host Jimmy Fallon asked her why young people should sign up for ObamaCare if they can’t afford it, and Mrs. Obama struck a condescending note in her response. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
“[A] lot of young people think they’re invincible,” she said. “But the truth is, young people are knuckleheads. You know? They're the ones who are cooking for the first time and slice their finger open. They’re dancing on the bar stool.”
After Vice President Joe Biden admitted on Wednesday that the goal of getting 7 million people signed up for ObamaCare by March 31 would not happen, only Thursday's CBS This Morning made any mention of it, and then only giving the news a mere 29 seconds. Neither NBC nor ABC bothered to cover the acknowledgment of failure. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose reported: "This morning the Obama administration is lowering expectations for the Affordable Care Act. In Minneapolis, Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday the goal of signing up 7 million Americans will likely fall short....Biden blames the troubled rollout of the health care website." The headline on screen read: "Short of Goal; Biden: Health Care Sign-Ups May Not Meet Target."
You know this is the story the liberal media is dying to tell: Obamacare--The Triumphant Comeback! So like the dove returning to the Ark, there was the BBC's Katty Kay, guest-hosting today for Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe, first to proclaim the good news.
Based on the latest enrollment numbers, Kay enthused "amazing how quickly we are starting to see the Obamacare story change its tone." Really? Tell us, Katty: of the people who have enrolled in Obamacare, how many have actually paid their premiums? And what percentage were healthy young people, needed to avoid an actuarial disaster? Take your time; we'll wait. View the video after the jump.
Following President Obama's joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC to dismiss a question Obama received about the latest ObamaCare mandate delay: "Republicans are trying to paint a picture of, 'There they go again. He's changing the law'....I have a feeling this one is gonna fade a little bit. Health care not itself, but I don't think this employer mandate attack by the right has a lot of legs today." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's commentary was prompted by Andrea Mitchell Reports fill-in host Peter Alexander noting that Obama "had to deal with some of his domestic politics" during the diplomatic event. Todd dutifully parroted the President's spin on the issue: "...they believe that their decision on the employer mandate is much adieu about nothing. They believe this is a small thing. And you heard the President present it in the same terms as 'Hey, we've made exceptions for people on the individual mandate, this is all part of the implementation process.' He's trying to paint a picture of nothing to see here." Apparently Todd is ready to hang that picture above his mantle.
At 4:57 on Monday afternoon, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner hyped “Breaking news from the Treasury Department. The White House has announced a second delay to part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Details on that are next.” But the next “details” did not come for 12 and a half hours at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning during MSNBC’s Way Too Early broadcast.
In between, MSNBC ran 9 full stories on Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) and the “Bridgegate” scandal surrounding his administration. Rachel Maddow, devoted nearly half of her broadcast, 29 minutes to the Christie scandal. The rest of her primetime colleagues similarly couldn’t be bothered to inform their viewers of the latest ObamaCare delay, despite Wagner’s promise: “details on that are next.”
Between Monday's network evening newscasts and Tuesday's morning shows, NBC, ABC and CBS failed to provide a single full report on President Obama unilaterally issuing another ObamaCare mandate delay for businesses. In addition, only a single sentence on Tuesday's CBS This Morning described the controversial move as the President "rewriting the law."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, Natalie Morales offered a 29-second news brief in which she downplayed the development: "Well, another hiccup this morning on the ObamaCare front." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump] Later in the show, co-host Matt Lauer and weatherman Al Roker found time to air a 2-minute segment they did on unusual outfits at the Sochi Olympic games.
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):