In an episode that featured plenty of ObamaCare criticism from the president’s typical allies, MSNBC’s Morning Joe still found room for the law’s cheerleaders. On Thursday’s show, co-host Mika Brzezinski despaired over the fact that Bill Clinton advised President Obama to keep his promise to the country and allow people to keep their health care plans if they like them. The fact that Clinton was not explicitly siding with Obama caused Brzezinski to mourn, “Is anyone going to help out at this point, or is it so convoluted that we are holding onto hope at this point? Cause I believe in the concept of this law. I want it to work.”
Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, sitting on the panel, confessed to being a “believer” in the law as well. Going further than Brzezinski, she actually had the nerve to complain about the people who have been forced out of plans they like by ObamaCare: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd matter-of-factly declared that ObamaCare was always going to be a bad deal for some Americans: "There are always winners and losers in any piece of legislation. There is a small number of losers in here, if you want to count losing as in having to pay more for your health insurance....That was always the intention, that was the only way you could make the law work..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd acknowledged that was not the way President Obama sold the law, but avoided calling it a lie: "...this goes to the problem that the President brought upon himself, when they didn't make this clear." On the March 3, 2010 Nightly News, just weeks before the passage of ObamaCare, Todd touted the President's deception: "If this reform works the way the White House hopes it does, the bottom line is simple, it should be easier for you to get health insurance and harder for you to lose it."
"The Democrats Need to Stop Freaking Out About Obamacare and Take Charge," huffed the headline for Michael Tomasky's 9-paragraph November 14 Daily Beast story -- filed hours before the president's press conference -- addressing reports that nervous congressional Democrats were considering getting on board with a Republican proposal to make President Obama's "if you like it you can keep it" promise a reality.
The leftist writer groused that cable news in general, but Fox News in particular, were ultimately to blame by creating a "soap opera" political culture which makes a huge deal out of passing political travails:
A President can deal with being disliked, even despised, by his opponents. But when he becomes a laughingstock among his own supposed supporters . . .
On today's Morning Joe, Dem Sen. Joe Manchin openly mocked President Obama's failure to communicate with Congress. Asked by Joe Scarborough whether the President is disconnected from the Senate and House, Manchin sardonically said "everybody has a different style." Queried as how often he talks to the prez by phone, Manchin sarcastically replied "I'm sure he's very busy." The panel had a good laugh at Pres. Obama's expense, until a mortified Mika Brzezinski couldn't take it anymore and demanded "Stop it. Enough!" View the video after the jump.
On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
"[Former president] Clinton did President Obama no favors this week when he endorsed a growing push on Capitol Hill to modify the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in order to allow people to keep their existing individual health insurance policies if they want to," MSNBC.com's Zachary Roth lamented in his November 13 story, "What's Bill Clinton up to on Obamacare?"
The teaser on the MSNBC.com main page was more hard-hitting: "The underminer-in-chief?" asked the headline emblazoned over a black-and-white photo of a half-smiling Clinton [see screen capture below page break]. Roth went on to explain that Clinton's proposed solution "would badly—perhaps fatally—undermine Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment," presuming, of course, that that's a bad thing. After mentioning how the White House is dancing around this little embarrassing incident, Roth followed up with quotes from two left-wing activists who are disenchanted with the former president's remarks (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Gwen Ifill interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney about his notorious heart troubles as documented in his new book, Heart: An American Medical Odyssey. Apparently unwilling to let a good conversation about healthcare go to waste, Ifill spent the latter half of the interview trying to use Cheney’s experience as an infomercial for why America needs ObamaCare.
Ifill began to steer the conversation in ObamaCare’s direction in a subtle manner: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Early in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker mocked a series of new ads designed to promote ObamaCare, even with Geist reading one of them while doing his best impression of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Let's get physical. OMG, he's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting it between the covers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the New York Times on Tuesday evening for the front page of Wednesday's print edition, Michael D. Shear and Robert Pear wrestled with how to characterize President Barack Obama's false guarantee that "if you like your health care plan" (and doctor, and provider) "you can keep your health care plan" (and doctor, and provider.
The headline called it a "vow" (actually a pretty good word). In their opening paragraph, they called it a "promise," and indicated that the President's guarantee related to "insurance coverage." In the next paragraph, they described Obama serially presented guarantees as "wrongly assuring Americans that they could retain their health plans if they wanted." In Paragraph 6, the guarantee became an "incorrect promise." Excerpts follow the jump (HT Rare via Twitchy, which describes it as "epic bootlicking"; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
If President Obama has lost Donny Deutsch, has he lost the Hamptons? But seriously, the adman has generally been an an enthusiastic supporter of the President. So when he gives a very pessimistic prediction as to the ability of Obamacare to rebound from its . . . debacular debut, it's worth noting.
On today's Morning Joe, Deutsch described Obamacare as so "tarnished" and "damaged" that he doubted that it could ever fully recover, even if President Obama took Joe Scarborough's advice and attempted a total reboot. View the video after the jump.
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both picked up the Wall Street Journal's Monday revelation about the HealthCare.gov website – that "fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week".
CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on the "newest blow to ObamaCare – how the White House enrollment expectations could be off by 80 percent." On GMA, Jonathan Karl underlined that this figure is "far short" of the Obama administration's target of 500,000 enrollees. However, NBC's Today ignored this development. Instead, the morning show devoted an entire segment to trying to get Vice President Joe Biden to be a co-host. [MP3 audio of the CBS report is available here; video below the jump]
ObamaCare boosters in Colorado are treating young women "cheap sluts who don’t care about their health or well being other than getting cheap birth control pills to have sex with strange men," complains Washington Times opinion writer Emily Miller in a November 12 post at the newspaper's website.
"The latest marketing campaign implies that young women would only be interested in Colorado's government-run health care exchange if they get coverage for birth control pills to have sex with strange men," Miller noted, going on to describe what she considers the "most offensive ad" [see below page break for illustration] which...:
Apparently appalled that President Obama clearly needs outside help to come to the realization that something must be done to fix the mess resulting from his "keep your plan" guarantee, Josh Gerstein at the Politico opened a Monday afternoon report by claiming that "President Bill Clinton — the man President Barack Obama once dubbed his 'Secretary of Explaining Stuff' — once again has some explaining of his own to do with the Obama White House."
Hmm. It would appear that Obama has some fixing to do, and may not have been interested in doing anything to genuinely address the mess he, Kathleen Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act, and thousands of pages of restrictive regulations have wrought. Excerpts from Gerstein's grievous report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The broadcast networks have aired more than a few critical stories about the ObamaCare rollout -- from "glitches" with the HealthCare.gov website to the millions of individuals who are losing their health insurance in spite of the President's oft-repeated promise to the contrary (a lie that NBC's Chuck Todd naively argued was not "intentional.")
But an exchange on Monday night's The Kudlow Report on CNBC included evidence the troubles are much deeper than the pro-Obama media have generally acknowledged.
Sharyl Attkisson revealed on Monday's CBS Evening News that the Obama administration had prior knowledge of HealthCare.gov's numerous security flaws, but went ahead anyway with its October 1, 2013 launch. Attkisson spotlighted a government memo that outlined "important security risks discovered in the insurance system....The memo said, 'The threat and risk potential to the system is limitless'."
The correspondent also obtained a partial transcript of a closed-door congressional hearing, where HealthCare.gov's project manager claimed that he was unaware of this memo, and that he "testified he'd been told the opposite" about the website's security risks. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal "wonder(s) if the Times intended the article's publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics' expense." Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.
So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled "Daring to Complain About Obamacare," the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama's "signature achievement." Well, guess what? Gottlieb's the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she'll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):
The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare's contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.
So what explains the fact that a search on "Korte" at the Associated Press's national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google Newsin a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That's easy. It didn't go the "right" way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from Joe Palazzolo's coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett emphasized the Obama administration was "desperate" to reverse the debacle over its so-called Affordable Care Act, twice asserting the executive branch was trying to "end the ObamaCare blues". Garrett also pointed out that "the White House has lowered expectations – both politically and mathematically – about as low as humanly possible" regarding ObamaCare enrollment numbers.
However, unlike his colleague Jan Crawford, the correspondent failed to explicitly point out how millions of Americans are losing their current health care coverage due to the controversial law. Instead, Garrett played up the larger expense of the new ObamaCare-friendly plans: [audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that President Obama "apologized" for ObamaCare failures, "not only the issues with the website, but broken promises as well." Turning to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lauer hoped Obama's vague statement of regret was the end of the story: "Did he say what he had to say?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Palin shot down Lauer's assertion that the President had taken responsibility for the disastrous health care rollout: "What apology? What apology? He kind of acknowledged a bit that there is a broken website. The broken website is the least of America's worries. This broken website, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration – takeover of 1/6 of our economy and this socialized medicine that's being crammed down our throat, that's what's broken."
Saturday afternoon, Politico's Jason Millman, in an item incredibly headlined "Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language," reported that "The Obama administration has updated a White House website that says its health care law allows people to keep their plans if they like them — but the website still maintains the language that Obamacare opponents have aggressively attacked the past few weeks."
No, Jason. The news is that the website still "maintains the language" which has been indisputably proven false by the millions of policy cancellations reported during the past several weeks. The real news has nothing to do with whether or not opponents "have aggressively attacked" it. Exhibiting deep denial equal to that of the White House, Millman did not acknowledge that the "you can keep you plan" statement is and has been false anywhere in his report. A screen grab of the language as it currently appears, and which Millman reports the administration now considers satisfactory, is after the jump (click on the graphic to open a larger version of it in a separate window or tab):
Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."
Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):
Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"
Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:
In a Thursday evening writeup (HT Twitchy) which appeared on Page A14 in its Friday morning print edition, Michael D. Shear at the New York Times reported on President Barack Obama's attempt to clean up the four-year mess he made (from June 6, 2009 through September 26, 2013) in over three dozen statements and published items. The mess was Obama's guarantee — not a promise, a guarantee — that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
Despite the fact that Obama's serially made guarantee doesn't square with what has really happened, and that Obama and his administration have known for over three years that the millions of individual plan cancellations which have occurred would indeed occur, Shear blandly accepted Obama's claim that "Mr. Obama said he had not purposely misled anyone." He also accepted an almost definitely untrue contention Obama made as an indisputable fact: "[He] (Obama) emphasized that most people who were forced off a current plan would be able to find new insurance that was cheaper and provided better coverage." People who have been able to do that and have said so publicly have thus far been very few and far between. Excerpts follow the jump.
We here at NewsBusters usually pay no mind to Tom Toles, the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post. He's paid to render his opinion through his work -- although the quality of both his cartooning the cleverness of his observations are, to be charitable, debatable -- so it takes something really egregious to get on our radar.
That happened today when Mr. Toles compared Republican critics of ObamaCare with segregationist Democrat George Wallace, depicting the iconic Republican elephant mascot standing in a doorway marked "health care door" and proclaiming [see cartoon below the page break]:
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
On Thursday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Joy Reid condescended to people angry about their health insurance policies being cancelled as she fretted that President Obama may have to "placate" the "three to five percent" of people who like having "junk" insurance.
During a discussion of President Obama's interview with NBC's Chuck Todd in which ObamaCare failures were discussed, Reid began her analysis:
While NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did question President Obama on the failed ObamaCare rollout during an exclusive interview on Thursday, the network political director tried to downplay the notion that the commander-in-chief actively lied in promoting the health care law: "'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.' You said it a lot during the run-up. At this point, though, it's obviously something – a promise that has not been able to be kept....What happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his next question, Todd came close to accusing Obama of deception, but quickly equivocated: "Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology for misleading them? Even if you didn't intentionally do it, but at this point, they feel misled. And you've seen the anger that's out there."
You would think that economic forecasters, who have been obsessing over the impact on economic growth of October's 17 percent partial government shutdown might have noticed that a lot of people have all of a sudden learned that they're about to experience a major cut in their take-home pay. You would be wrong.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans had received health insurance cancellation notices by September 30, and had also learned that they will be on the hook starting next year for hundreds of dollars in premium increases on the Obamacare exchanges. It should be obvious that most affected people would have started spending less on other items virtually immediately, and that they will continue to be in major cutback mode indefinitely. But I didn't find anyone in the establishment press who mentioned it. Nor did I find anyone who noted that the millions of Americans facing higher health insurance premiums are also going to materially impact fourth quarter growth and Christmas shopping season results.
MSNBC analyst Joy Reid is one of those liberal media figures who still refuses to say that President Obama lied about Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans under ObamaCare. On Tuesday night, Reid made a guest appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to discuss the health care law. Hewitt confronted Reid with a clip of Obama’s recent whitewashing: “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
Rather than confess that Obama lied, Reid undertook a defense of the president using as an analogy DDT, a popular pesticide that was banned in 1972. She explained, “Now had the government in 1972 said, ‘Listen, if you love your pesticide, you can keep it,’ it would have been wrong because the truth is if your pesticide contained DDT, it was now illegal. But you’d have to buy a totally different pesticide and use that on your garden.”
On Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel show last night, reporter Trace Gallagher countered the Obama adminstration's attack on Stage Four cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose Sunday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed on her individual plan's termination in California has garnered major attention. Ms. Sundby wrote that she has not found an available insurance plan option which will cover visits and treatments from both her current oncologist and her current primary care doctor.
In the process of addressing the White House's reference to a far-left Think Progress report which tried to pin the blame on Ms. Sundby's carrier — as if that addresses the obvious failures of her Obamacare options, which it obviously doesn't — Gallagher dropped a bombshell. Covered California, the formerly Golden State's Obamacare exchange, mandated as a condition of participation that any insurance company wishing to offer plans there had to cancel all existing individual policies in the state which did not qualify under Obamacare's strictures, i.e., they could not have any grandfathered plans (video is here full transcript is here; bolds are mine):