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):
When will the folks at MSNBC stop pretending to be journalists and just admit to being liberal hosts looking to push their political agenda? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be not soon as MSNBC host Alex Wagner laughably told her audience on November 6 that she tries to be “non-partisan on her show.”
Appearing with her left-wing panel on Wednesday, the former Center for American Progress employee seemed confused as to what her role on the network actually is. Speaking on the issue of President Obama lying to the American public that if they liked their health insurance plan, they could keep it, Wagner showed that she cannot be an objective host, instead opting to push her liberal agenda. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
The Associated Press's initial coverage of President Obama's attempt to "reinvent history," the term used yesterday by the National Journal's Ron Fournier, is instructive. Monday evening, Obama claimed that his core "you can keep your (health care) plan" guarantee — made dozens of times from 2008 through 2012 — was only relevant "if it (your current plan) hasn’t changed since the law was passed."
Let's look how the AP's Nedra Pickler — or perhaps the White House correspondents' pool reporter, if Team Obama limited press access — wrote things up (HT to NB commenter Alfred Lemire) immediately after Obama's speech (6:34 p.m. report after a speech which began at 5:58 p.m.):
Leave it to MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt to continue marching forward, carrying the flag of ObamaCare as the rollout phase sputters along at a crawl. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host often came across as a White House publicist, defending both the president and his health care law.
Witt began her show by interviewing Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of both ObamaCare and Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan. After playing a brief compilation of President Obama insisting, “If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan,” Witt asked Gruber, “When you heard these words, did you know that what the president was saying may not present the whole picture, and does it matter?” [See video below the break.]
If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.
In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford zeroed in on the "several flaws" with HealthCare.gov that "could expose your personal information" to hackers, contrary to the Obama administration's claims that "information is protected by stringent security standards", as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it at an October 31, 2013 briefing.
Crawford spotlighted a South Carolina resident whose personal information was jeopardized by a faulty software code, and pointed out how easily a consumer's password could be reset with authorization: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.
Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):
A recent Washington Post report handed MSNBC an opportunity to blame their rivals for the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, and the Lean Forward network appears to be taking advantage.
On Monday’s The Cycle, MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon was on to discuss Saturday’s report that fear of Republican criticism caused the Obama administration to work slowly and secretively on the development of Healthcare.gov. Bacon summed up the White House’s political concerns like this: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday, the editorialists at the New York Times claimed that President Barack Obama merely "misspoke" when he dishonestly promised the American people that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" to get Obamacare passed.
Sunday evening for Monday's print edition, reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas carried heavy buckets of water on behalf of Obama and his administration. The headline: "Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies." It took the Times pair 21 paragraphs to inform readers that the "free" plans have annual out-of-pocket cost limits of $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. They never described how the deductibles or copays work, and never noted that taxpayers are funding the subsidies. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Monday's CBS This Morning revealed how "a trusted Obama health care adviser warned the White House it was losing control of ObamaCare". Major Garrett underlined that "the warnings were dire and specific, and ultimately ignored" by the Obama administration. Instead, they "relied on appointed bureaucrats and senior White House health care advisers" to implement the health care law.
Garrett also pointed out how "the White House became secretive about the law's complexity and regulatory reach" because they were apparently "fearful of constant attacks from congressional Republicans" over the controversial issue. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Saturday morning, three Wall Street Journal reporters told readers that as President Obama was promoting Obamacare, there was internal debate between "policy advisers" and "political aides" as to whether the President's obviously unqualified and unconditional "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" statement, made roughly 20 times between his inauguration and the law's March 2010 passage, "was a promise they could keep."
"Policy advisers" didn't like it, but "political aides" prevailed, concluding that Obama's promise should remain dishonestly unconditional because "salability" and "simplification" were more "practical" and important than the truth. One particularly weak paragraph in the Journal report ends up reading like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" riff (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
Maybe the folks running the HealthCare.gov call centers don't have an enemies list. Instead, based on the experience of Fox News's Jim Angle, it might be an enemies directory, with anyone they're aware of in the media and perhaps other organizations included therein.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
Charlie Rose twice couldn't bring himself to clearly state that President Obama made a false promise when he repeatedly claimed that "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it". On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Rose underlined that "more than two million Americans are losing their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare. Jan Crawford uncovers new information on what could be a broken promise."
Two days later, the morning show anchor spun that "not all the promises [about ObamaCare] are turning out to be true, and he's [the President] had to modify some of them." Co-host Norah O'Donnell also followed Rose's lead: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's The Last Word on MSNBC, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe joined host Lawrence O'Donnell in exonerating President Obama from blame for the recent wave of health insurance policy cancellations, with Wolffe going so far as to dismiss inexpensive insurance policies which presumably are focused on covering expensive, catastrophic health care as being "bad policies" not worthy of existence in spite of the fact that consumers were choosing to purchase them. Wolffe:
The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky on Tuesday drew a faulty comparison between the rollout of ObamaCare and the 2005 implementation of President George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D program. The thesis of Tomasky’s article, titled, “Enough Already on HealthCare.gov. Don’t You Remember Medicare Part D?”, was that Republicans should try to help ObamaCare succeed just as Democrats, many of whom had voted against Medicare Part D, tried to help that law succeed after it was passed in 2005.
Following shocking revelations exposed by NBC News that the Obama Administration knew millions of Americans would lose their health insurance under ObamaCare, the folks at MSNBC have been doing their best to provide cover for President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Despite this damning revelation, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts sees private insurance companies as the real culprit, not ObamaCare which forces consumers to purchase insurance benefits they do not need. Roberts claims that the problem is:
Not so much about defending Igor [Volsky] to their constituents, but explaining to constituents that you had a subpar junk policy that does not meet a mandated requirement of quality care in our country. Basically, you were being boondoggled to pay for something worthless. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
Besides facing a "credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare, as political director John Dickerson recently put it, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out on Tuesday's CBS Evening News that the very structure of the so-called reform could encounter a separate "death spiral" due to the "enrollment fiasco" surrounding HealthCare.gov.
Attkisson cited unnamed health care analysts, who predicted a doomsday scenario for President's Obama's supposed signature achievement: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
John Dickerson didn't mince words about the "bad launch" of ObamaCare in his Tuesday item for Slate.com. The CBS News political director invoked one of deceased tyrant Kim Jong il's most infamous saber-rattling tactics: "Healthcare.gov launched with the fanfare and success of a North Korean missile."
Dickerson also rephrased his recent contention that "the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare. He stated that "when the website doesn't work and the promises of 2009 and 2010 are revised, questions of credibility infect everything the administration says. This can lead to a death spiral as administration officials make bold assertions to distract from the current challenges."
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):