On Wednesday’s PoliticsNation, host Al Sharpton trotted out a pair of red-framed glasses, a podium, and the image of a chapel’s interior on the green screen behind him. The reverend was pretending to preside over a funeral for what he called “another bogus GOP talking point on the Affordable Care Act.” As somber organ music played in the background, Sharpton announced, somewhat inarticulately, “We're here tonight to celebrate the life of the people are paying not their premium's talking point.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
He was referring to House Republicans’ contention last week that only 67 percent of ObamaCare enrollees had actually paid their premiums as of April 15. After a few minutes of funeral minister theatricality, the MSNBC host finally explained why he was pronouncing this particular talking point dead: “A new report shows most who signed up under health law have paid. 80 to 90 percent of enrollees paid their bills on time.” Conveniently, however, Sharpton left out another nugget from that very same report that undercut one of his own favorite ObamaCare talking points.
When several members of Congress set out in the early 1990s to improve fiscal reporting and internal controls in the federal government, one thing they certainly had a right to expect is that the press would report on lapses as embarrassments, and that otherwise nonchalant or reluctant bureaucrats would figure out that it would be in their best interest to tighten their ships. It hasn't happened, largely because the press quickly got bored, enabling the bureaucrats to thumb their noses at those who called them out for weak reporting or control violations.
To name just one glaring example: Concerning the Internal Revenue Service, in August of last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration happily reported "the downgrade of the information security material weakness to a significant deficiency during the Fiscal Year 2012 financial statement audit," and that "the IRS removed it from the December 31, 2012, remediation plan" (that's bureaucratese for "finally solved the problem") — 19 years after it was first identified in 1993. In that context, let's look at an outrageous situation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has made nice with President Barack Obama on several occasions. Among other things, he chaired the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which met a grand total of four times in 2011 and 2012 before it was unceremoniously allowed to expire a year later. He fully expected that his company would benefit from its involvement in green energy and its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. He also endeared himself to Team Obama by calling "other U.S. business leaders greedy and mean."
In more than a minor comeuppance, as well as the latest evidence that business-related news reflecting badly on the Obama administration almost never escapes the business pages and center-right blogs and outlets, Inmelt's company has seen its medical division hit hard by the onset of Obamacare. Portions of Bloomberg News's original April 17 report follow the jump.
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger has pretty much proven that he's been on some kind of workout regimen. If he wasn't, he couldn't possibly have carried so much Obama administration water in his 1:45 p.m. report on the state of the economy (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) as he did.
Crutsinger's message: Pay no attention to that lousy GDP report we expect to see tomorrow morning (there's some reason to believe that it may get artificially juiced, which I'll explain later). Starting this month, the economy has been smokin', and this year's going to be just great. Too bad the evidence for his optimism mostly doesn't exist — and to the extent it does, it's not rip-roaring great. Excerpts from Crutsinger's latest crummy creation follow the jump.
On the Monday, April 28, The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz devoted the first segment of nearly 15 minutes of his show to trying to link prominent conservatives like Paul Ryan to the racist views of people like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, whom the MSNBC host failed to label as a Democratic donor.
Schultz charged that Ryan and other GOPers "support policies that attack minorities" and later reiterated that conservatives "fuel racism by their policies that attack minorities." [See video below.]
Friday's CBS Evening News was the lone Big Three evening newscast to spotlight how the State of Oregon decision to scrap its multimillion dollar health exchange website, and join the federal government's HealthCare.gov. ABC's World News was too busy covering violence over spots at mall parking lots to notice, while NBC Nightly News zeroed in on baby Prince George's first trip to Australia.
Scott Pelley underlined how "the State of Oregon said that after months of trying, it cannot get its state health insurance website to work. It hasn't signed a single customer, and it is pulling the plug. It is the first state to do that." Nancy Cordes pointed out the "$248 million failure," but didn't mention President Obama by name or ObamaCare as a term during her report. She merely made a vague references to the "federal" role in providing relief to the debacle: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the Wednesday, April 23, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, guest host Ari Melber ignored concerns expressed for some time by conservatives that ObamaCare regulations would cause Americans to lose private health insurance plans they already had as the MSNBC host suggested that Tea Party Republicans do not care about people being uninsured and claimed that the goal of repealing ObamaCare is to "make sure more people are uninsured."
After MSNBC's Krystal Ball complained about Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicaid, Melber turned to recent claims by Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp that fewer people in Kansas are insured now than before ObamaCare. [See video below.]
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls. Excerpts follow the jump.
Apart from gutting America's military, our standing in the world, our fiscal stability, the economy, the office of the presidency, conventional energy sources, the free market and religious liberty, Obama has little to boast about other than Obamacare, so let him go for it.
Yes, let him gloat, because the more he bloviates in defense of the indefensible — the more he spins the unspinnable — the more damage he'll do to the cause he's trying to promote: the election of Democratic congressmen in November.
Some liberals refuse to believe any bad news about ObamaCare, and MSNBC contributor Angela Rye is clearly one of those people. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Rye got into a heated argument with Republican strategist Joe Watkins about the nature of Watkins’ own health insurance coverage, which he says is worse under ObamaCare than prior to the law going into effect. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It all started after Watkins commented that some people have to “pay more money a month for less coverage” under ObamaCare. When Rye got her turn to speak, she ripped into Watkins:
On the Sunday, April 20, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, as host Harris-Perry chastised Democrats for not bragging about ObamaCare for the year's midterm elections, she at one point mocked Americans angry about having their health insurance plans cancelled, which she referred to as "crappy plans," as she lamented that Democrats are not boasting about ObamaCare or declaring, "Yeah, you can't keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!" [See video below.]
Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will mocked President Obama’s claim last week that the debate over ObamaCare is over and that Republicans need to stop trying to repeal the law.
Appearing as a guest on Fox News Sunday on April 20, Will argued that “The debate is over is something of a mantra. The debate is over about climate change, everyone be quiet. The debate is over about early childhood education, everyone be quiet. Lots of things are supposedly over. And you hear that from people who are finding the evidence inconvenient." [See video below.]
On the Saturday, April 19, Disrupt, as MSNBC's Karen Finney hosted a discussion of ObamaCare noting that President Obama has started encouraging Democrats to brag about the program, guest Dana Milbank of the Washington Post blamed Republican governors for hurting Democratic Senators in red states as he charged that in some states "ObamaCare isn't going very well because of those Republican governors."
A bit later, Zerlina Maxwell of The Grio asserted that 10,000 people a year will die because of Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicare.
After Finney played a clip of President Obama boasting about ObamaCare, Milbank responded:
David Nather at the Politico apparently wanted to make sure that those who don't follow the news closely see a triumphant headline ("Obama Spikes the Football") and a congratulatory opening paragraph at their computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Sure, the Politico reporter gradually threw in all kinds of qualifications after that, but his mission is largely accomplished: Cause those who don't click through to believe that Obamacare is functioning as intended, and — especially in the headline — communicate the message that the debate about the statist health regime's existence is really over. He can say that he did his job while at the same time keeping most people away from the more complicated reality. In that sense, Nather is right there with reporters at ABC and CBS who claim without verifiable evidence, as Rich Noyes at NewsBusters noted earlier this afternoon, that the program has achieved "a major milestone." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau "is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall."
It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that "the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report." That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall's elections. Everyone together now, say "How convenient."
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's John King hyped the Congressional Budget Office's projection about ObamaCare – that "yes, ObamaCare is expensive, but less expensive than they thought – by about $104 billion over 10 years. That's a decent junk of change." King asserted that the health care issue is "the big domestic challenge for the President and for Democrats this election year: that is...trying to defend it – you could say now, maybe, bragging – about ObamaCare."
The journalist then expressed his bewilderment that Democrats weren't playing up this CBO projection: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The federal tax filing deadline has arrived. Tax season, when H&R Block commercials are as inescapable as news how-to segments about filing taxes, is nearly over.
But there’s one big tax story the broadcast networks practically ignored this year: the Obamacare taxes that just took effect. The network evening news shows have aired 40 stories or news briefs that mentioned “Obamacare” or the “Affordable Care Act” between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 13, 2014. But 87.5 percent (35 of 40) of those ignored the taxes associated with the legislation by failing to mention any taxes or penalties related to Obamacare. (Video is available after the break)
NPR's resident ObamaCare shill Julie Rovner did her best to promote the next ObamaCare enrollment period during a segment on Wednesday's Morning Edition. Rovner featured two talking heads from liberal organization Families USA, which she identified as merely a "consumer group," and boosted their list of suggested changes for the sign-up process.
The correspondent failed to bring on any critics of the controversial law, and played up the apparent success of the first enrollment period:
ABC’s Jonathan Karl did his best to get Bill Kristol to admit ObamaCare is working on ABC’s “This Week” but the “Weekly Standard” editor refused to give into the fill-in host’s demands. Karl attempted to persuade Kristol to “Give the president a little credit here right? 7.1 million sign-ups after that disastrous start. They hit their number; they went past their number.”
Appearing on Sunday April 6, Kristol shot down Karl’s assertion and argued, “It’s like saying you’ve got to give the Soviet Union a lot of credit. 200 million people bought bread in their grocery stores. If it’s the only place you can buy health insurance, they’re going to get people to buy health insurance there.” [See video below.]
On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that NBC, ABC, and CBS turned down a White House request for primetime coverage of a presidential address on Tuesday to spike the football on ObamaCare reaching the seven million enrollment mark. Instead, the President was forced to settle for an afternoon pep rally in the Rose Garden which only ABC and NBC covered live.
These were the same networks that fretted over Republicans not agreeing to let Obama give a primetime campaign speech to Congress at the same time as a Republican presidential primary debate in 2011.
Though he didn't quite get to the "Shut up, he said" threshold, Politico's David Nather, in a Tuesday tome, argued that HealthCare.gov allegedly crossing the 7 million enrollment threshold leaves opponents blubbering, and supports the argument "that government can still solve big social problems" and is "a wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives."
It's as if Nather believes — and maybe he does, in which case he's woefully ignorant — that not achieving the enrollment target is about the only potential problem with HealthCare.gov. Uh, not exactly. Just off the top of my head, there's the lack of site security, the absence of back-office interaction with insurance carriers, miscalculations of subsidies, the system's outrageous cost, and the complete inability of enrollees to add, change or delete elements of what they submitted to correct inadvertent errors or reflect changes in their life circumstances. I'm sure that only scratches the surface. Excerpts from Nather's nattering follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon had some tough words for ObamaCare following the deadline for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking on Tuesday April 1, Fallon joked that regarding the 7 million Americans that have signed up for health insurance, “It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it and then keep extending the deadline for months.” [See video below.]
Jim Acosta emulated a P.R. flack for the Obama administration on Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, as he hyped how the White House is "on track to hit seven million signing up" for ObamaCare. Acosta gushed that "if ObamaCare were a patient, this would be a pretty miraculous recovery, when you consider...that disastrous rollout in October and November."
The correspondent later touted the development as "pretty big news over here at the White House. They're reacting with a lot of glee and happiness, I can tell you." Acosta and anchor Carol Costello also credited the President's Internet video with comedian Zach Galifianakis for part of ObamaCare's apparent success: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Wrapping up an interview with President Obama's former White House chief of staff Bill Daley on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose wondered if it was "fair to say" that ObamaCare was "badly conceived." After a long pause, Daley replied: "I didn't hear you, Charlie." Rose let him off the hook, and was suddenly out of time: "I was asking whether it was badly conceived but I don't really have much time to consider that question. But thank you so much, Bill." Daley responded: "Good, Charlie." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rose began the exchange by lobbing this softball to Daley: "Do you believe the President and do you believe he has it accurate when he says eight to ten years from now, health care, Affordable Health Care Act [sic] will be considered a monumental achievement?" Daley proclaimed: "I don't think there's any question that time is on the President's side."
While Monday's NBC Today began its 7 a.m. ET hour coverage of the ObamaCare enrollment deadline by noting the healthcare.gov website had crashed yet again, it took an hour for ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning to notice the malfunction and mention it in their reporting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Good Morning America's initial coverage was particularly stunning in that it touted how well the website was supposedly working. Co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "After all those early problems with the website, the White House now saying things are now back on track." White House correspondent Jon Karl declared: "That's right, George. They say they saw a huge increase of traffic to the website over the weekend....And so far, the website seems to be handling it without any major problems."
With the liberal media doing its best to promote ObamaCare and hide the numerous problems associated with the healthcare law, here’s another bad ObamaCare story that likely won’t receive the attention it deserves.
According to ABC News 10 in California, a California couple “received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.” [Click here to see video.]
The Associated Press has a breaking news update: If you want to apply for Obamacare at HealthCare.gov today and you've never set up an account, forget about doing so for the time being.
The update is is running under this morning's old headline ("HEALTH CARE WEBSITE STUMBLES ON LAST DAY"), begging the question as to when a "stumble" turns into "I've fallen and I can't get up" (HT to several tweeters):
Monday March 31 is the deadline for individuals to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act without facing a penalty and on Monday March 31 the folks at NPR’s “Morning Edition” did their best to spin the so-called success of ObamaCare in New Hampshire.
NPR reporter Tamara Keith hyped how despite polls in New Hampshire showing ObamaCare’s unpopularity, “Enrollments in the state have greatly exceeded expectations.” The story then went on to promote the story of Lisa Kerrigan who at 25 was “The ideal target for a sophisticated campaign in New Hampshire aimed at getting people to sign up for coverage.”
Appearing on Monday's Today, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd seized on ObamaCare hitting the six million sign-up mark by the March 31 deadline, proclaiming: "So at a minimum, the importance of hitting the six million....it means the law is unrepealable....It means that it's here to stay." Todd made no mention of only 26% of Americans supporting ObamaCare in a new poll. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer accepted Todd's declaration and wondered about the political impact of the health care law: "You can't repeal it, but does that mean seven months down the road, as the midterm elections come around, that this will be any less of an issue in terms of close races in congressional districts?" Todd admitted: "No, I don't think – at this point, the law is so embedded as sort of a – as a political negative for the Democrats and political negative overall, that I don't think anything's going to change by November."
The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.
Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):