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]
Can anyone imagine a top Bush 43 adviser, say Karl Rove, telling a reporter that his boss couldn't attend an important American historical anniversary event because "he's too busy trying to save the Republican Party"?
Dan Pfeiffer is "Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications." Today, in response to a tough but fair question tweeted by Ron Fournier at the National Journal, Pfeiffer said that President Barack Obama wasn't attending the ceremonies surrounding the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address because "there's this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party." The exchange would surely generate a great deal of press coverage if it involved a conservative or Republican presidential adviser, but the only story other than at Fournier's National Journal was at the Hill, a popular burial ground for such stories. The Fournier-Pfeiffer exchange, with some external razzing, follows the jump (HT Twitchy):
When conservatives appear on MSM shows, they regularly get raked over the coals. Frustratingly, the conservative guests rarely call their interviewers out for their obvious lefty bias.
So it was refreshing to see Republican Congressman Chaffetz of Utah refuse to let Luke Russert's liberal slant slide. In the guise of a question, Russert, subbing for Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC show today, confronted Chaffetz with a contentious bit of editorializing against the "Ted Cruz, Mike Lee rabbit hole." Chaffetz called Russert on it: "That was a loaded question there, Luke!" View the video after the jump.
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose unsurprisingly conducted a hostile interview of Scott Walker on Monday's CBS This Morning. The two anchors, who have a long record of hammering Republican/conservative guests, badgered the Wisconsin governor on ObamaCare, the 2016 presidential race, and over the immigration issue.
O'Donnell, in particular, went after Walker, asking, "You have said that the next nominee has to come from outside of Washington – has to be a governor. Isn't it a bit presumptuous to rule out people like Senator Marco Rubio; Senator Rand Paul...Congressman Paul Ryan?" She later rephrased this same question, and hinted at her liberal slant on the immigration issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
After playing a clip of Saturday Night Live mocking President Obama's "embattled second term" on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically observed: "I guess if you're at the White House you laugh so you don't cry." She then turned to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs and wondered: "What do you think the President's state of mind is right now? I mean, have you ever seen him like this, saying – acknowledging, 'I have a credibility problem'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gibbs responded by trying to insulate the President from any responsibility for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "I think he is obviously tremendously frustrated that no one told him the extent of this problem. I think that you, as the commander-in-chief and as the President of the United States, have to trust all of those around you to implement and I think there's no doubt a deficit of trust that's lead to that deficit of credibility."
On Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander lifted talking points directly from an Organizing for Action email while reporting on the political fallout from ObamaCare: "With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website....Number two, clear up confusion....Number three, keep Democratic allies on board....And finally, regain Americans' trust." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the OFA email, President Obama told his supporters: "I have just over three years left as president – and there's a lot left on my to-do list. That's why I want to talk with you....I want to cut through the noise and talk with you directly about where we're headed in the fight for change."
Just when I complimented my friends at The Salt Lake Tribune for being authentic for owning the cause of anything other than Mormon and Republican in Utah, they have to go and act like their journalistic editorial standards trump their politics – which is, of course, nonsense.
When the Media Research Center in Washington, D.C., cited dozens of reports and editorials issued by the Tribune painting Utah Senator Mike Lee negatively throughout the drama over the shutdown of the federal government, the Tribune balked.
Well, that settles it. Sunday on ABC's "This Week" (video here) New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand admitted that "We all knew" that Obamacare's core guarantee — "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" — was false. That's "we" as in "all of us Democrats."
There's no wiggle room in what Gillibrand said, as will be demonstrated after the jump. Also note how guest host Martha Raddatz, with her use of "we," admitted to viewers that she's on the same team with Washington's Democrats two and possibly three different times (HT Truth Revolt via Ed Driscoll).
It's hard to tell whether a Sunday morning tweet (HT Twitchy) by the Politico's Glenn Thrush is an attempt to deflect attention from the historic Obamacare trainwreck or a sign of a serious midlife crisis.
Poor Glenn is bored. He "can't watch/listen to another word" about the Affordable Care Act. Apparently, writing a roughly 7000-word Politico Magazzzz ... zzz ... zzz ... excuse me, Magazine item about the utter uselessness and policy detachment of most of President Obama's cabinet is more interesting to him (I'm estimating the total word count because I got bored after reading Page 1 of 5 and seeing my word processor count over 1,500 words). Glenn, you really need to get out of Washington and talk to some of the millions who have seen their policies cancelled, along with a few of those who have seen their health insurance premiums double or triple under Obamacare with often worse coverage. One thing they aren't is bored.
In a pathetic analyis piece at the Politico on Friday morning, Politico's Todd S. Purdum engaged in egregious excuse-making driven by a de facto admission that the Affordable Care Act would never have passed if the public had been told the truth about what was in it.
This is the same Todd S. Purdum who recently, as Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters reported earlier this month, accused Republicans of "calculated sabotage" of Obamacare, and compared their opposition to the "pattern of 'massive resistance' not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954." His Friday exercise, which should have been headlined "The Obamacare Scam," was barely less odious (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The student health care plan offered by Bowie State University, Maryland's oldest historically black college, is an example of one of those "substandard" plans President Obama, the Affordable Care Act's architects, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have been determined to extinguish.
Well, they've gotten their way. Rather than continue a plan whose costs would have gone from $54 to $900 per semester, an increase of over 1500 percent, the university has dropped the plan. Many students are angry, and have criticized the President directly, as seen in a video at CampusReform.org. News coverage of this calamity has been sparse, to say the least. Excerpts from a report at Washington TV station WUSA follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In Animal House, when the members of Delta Tau Chi fraternity faced imminent expulsion for poor grades, they decided to take a "Road Trip!" to, as Wikipedia's plot summary indicates, "take their minds off their troubles."
The presidential keister-kissers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are in a similar quandary. Over the past seven weeks, they've seen their favorite president's "signature achievement" devolve simultaneously into an national joke (HealthCare.gov) and a national disgrace (millions of health insurance policy cancellations deliberately devised through regulations). This has led to their favorite party's national humiliation. We now know that its members' guarantee that "you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" — made by President Obama, 27 Democratic Party Senators, and surely dozens of leftist congresspersons and other party apparatchiks — was a deliberate deception. The party itself has been torn asunder, as patron saint Bill Clinton called on Obama to "honor his commitment." With all of this going on, the AP's Washington-based Charles Babington somehow decided that now would be the best time for a "Road Trip!" out west to show how awful the divisions are — in the Republican Party.
Somebody cue the Debbie Downer horn. How bad are things for President Obama? In recent days, the Washington Post has brought us a double-barreled downer blast from two pundits who normally support the president.
All you need to know about Dana Milbank's and Ruth Marcus' columns you can glean from their respective final sentences, which read: "Maybe the president does understand that the game is over." And "Can he recover? I’m sorry to say: I’m not at all confident." Wah-wah, indeed! More after the jump.
According to some estimates, there are more than 100 million traffic signals in the U.S., but whatever the number, how many of us would like Washington, in the name of public health and safety, to be in sole charge of their operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the position of traffic signals at intersections, the length of time the lights stay red, yellow and green, and what hours of the day they can be flashing red.
While you ponder that, how many Americans would like Washington to be in charge of managing the delivery of food and other items to the nation's supermarkets? Today's average well-stocked U.S. supermarket stocks 60,000 to 65,000 different items from all over the U.S. and the world. Congress or some congressionally created committee could organize the choice of products and their prices. Maybe there'd be some cost savings. After all, what says that we should have so many items from which to choose? Why wouldn't 10,000 do?
Major Garrett pointed out on Friday's CBS This Morning that the politician's Thursday "attempt to fix the problem of canceled insurance policies...fell flat", as it failed to satisfy his Democratic allies in Congress, who are nervous about the next election. Garrett devoted much of his report on the morning newscast, as well on Thursday's CBS Evening News, to his hard-hitting questioning of the politician, where he hounded the politician over the ObamaCare debacle.
The journalist also underscored that "many state insurance commissioners...[are] unlikely to enforce the President's new policy". He also spotlighted an insurance industry expert's stinging assessment of this supposed fix: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday, NBC's Today tried to cast President Obama's Thursday press conference about the ObamaCare disaster in the most sympathetic light possible, with co-host Savannah leading off the show by proclaiming: "The humble president....President Obama does damage control on the botched health care rollout with his legacy hanging in the balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment moments later, Guthrie claimed the President was "falling on the sword over this health care rollout disaster." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized Obama's supposedly humility: "The President the first to admit that he has a lot of work ahead of him to regain the confidence of the American people....[he] was strikingly contrite."
"A conservative is a liberal mugged by reality," goes the old saying. We doubt Kirsten Powers will completely eschew her left-of-center ideology anytime soon, but it is abundantly clear that the Fox News contributor has been mugged by ObamaCare's empty promises.
Bob Parks of our sister site MRCTV put together a little video that compares Powers's full-on rah-rah cheerleading of ObamaCare earlier this year -- before her personal run in with the so-called Affordable Care Act -- with a decidedly chastened Powers AFTER she found herself the victim of the health care overhaul's boosting her health care premiums. Watch the video embed below the page break, and be sure to check out other videos at MRCTV.org.
Amidst all the liberal doom and gloom stemming from the Obamacare debacle, at least someone's trying to keep hope alive for beleaguered Democrats . . .
On today's Morning Joe, the BBC's Katty Kay did her best to paint a scenario in which Dems go into 2014 with Obamacare working, and the election results would not be the "disaster" that Republicans are assuming. View the video after the jump.