Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Thursday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes repeatedly used words like "screwing over" to describe Republican policies toward the poor, and claimed that Tea Partiers in Congress believe in "poverty as punishment" as he fretted over a delay in the extension of unemployment benefits and then hyped Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston's suggestion that school children do chores in exchange for subsidized lunches.
After characterizing recent statements by congressional Republicans as being like immaturely declaring, "Yeah, and your mother," the MSNBC host a bit later whined:
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
On the Wednesday, December 18, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes fretted that uninsured Americans are not a "potent constituency" during a discussion of the debate over extending unemployment benefits.
He did not mention a CBS News/New York Timespoll which ironically was released earlier in the day finding that ObamaCare is as unpopular among uninsured Americans as with the general population.
Speaking with MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein, Hayes posed:
So here's the "logic" Michelle Price at the Associated Press relayed from Democratic circles in Utah in her Tuesday report on eight-term Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson's decision to leave Congress: He would have had a tough time defeating Mia Love in next year's congressional race rematch, but he's now in a better position to take on an incumbent Republican in a 2016 statewide race — either U.S. Senator Mike Lee or Governor Gary Herbert.
Price either chose not to find or couldn't find a Republican to comment on Matheson's statewide prospects, nor could she locate anyone close to Matheson to comment on whether or not the congressman even has any statewide ambitions. Thus, she spent several paragraphs on mere speculation. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts, which hyped the sequester's "deep, across-the-board spending cuts" earlier in 2013, have largely been silent about the reductions in the annual cost of living increases for military veterans – part of the budget deal proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. But more egregiously, these programs have failed to notice that disabled veterans are not exempt from these cuts, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Norah O'Donnell's question to Rep. Ryan himself on the December 12, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning is the only mention of the reductions in the veterans' pensions on the broadcast networks' news shows:
On the Friday, December 13, PoliticsNation, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank joined host Al Sharpton in complaining that conservatives "demonize" people who receive welfare benefits as the two discussed efforts to restrain welfare spending.
In an attempt to stir tensions within the Republican Party over the recent budget deal, on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory falsely claimed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio had denounced the agreement as "un-American." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory cited the fictional quote twice to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, one of the architects of the deal: "On the Right, my colleague Kelly O'Donnell spoke to your colleague Marco Rubio. He calls this an un-American deal....when Senator Rubio says it's un-American, is that just because he's running for president, do you think?"
Adam Wollner at NPR’s It’s All Politics blog reported that longtime “Price Is Right” host Bob Barker is endorsing a Republican for Congress in the special election to replace Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, who recently died in office.
Barker, who's just turned 90 and retired from the popular CBS daytime show in 2007 after 35 years, appeared in a television ad Thursday on behalf of David Jolly, a lobbyist and former general counsel to Young in Florida’s 13th district.
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose predictably conducted a hostile interview of Senator Marco Rubio on Friday's CBS This Morning, badgering the Republican for his opposition to a budget proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. O'Donnell hinted that he was in the pocket of conservative special interest: "I want to ask you about the criticism that you may be more beholden to these conservative groups than to your own party."
The anchor later wondered if "these groups have too much power". Rose himself carried water for the supporters of the proposal: "Speaker Boehner has said, and others have said, is that it's going – it's the first step in the right direction, and you've got to find common ground and you've got to find compromise – otherwise, you'll have government shutdowns, which everybody loses." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
On Tuesday's Nightly News, after news broke of a budget deal in Congress, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announced: "...the usual Washington dysfunction is on hold tonight." She touted the agreement to anchor Brian Willams by noting: "It would also roll back some of the harshest automatic spending cuts, the sequester for the Pentagon and domestic programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Donnell cautioned that the deal "does not extend jobless benefits for those out of work the longest..." On Wednesday's broadcast, fill-in anchor Ann Curry picked up on that point and fretted: "While the agreement avoids another government shutdown next month, it also sidestepped dealing with the crisis facing 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work for a long time. And that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless Congress takes action."
House Speaker John Boehner made himself a hero in the eyes of the liberal Morning Joe panel. All it took was lashing out publicly against conservative organizations which criticized the Ryan-Murray budget deal.
Appearing on Thursday’s show, panelist Donny Deutsch was the most effusive about Boehner. He proclaimed: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly took aim at Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday's CBS This Morning over part of his bipartisan budget proposal that he presented with Democratic Senator Patty Murray: "Military members want to know why you asked them to take a cut, in terms of cost [of] living increases...the men and women in this country, who fight and die for this country, want to know why they should not get a cost of living increase like they have in the past."
The Wisconsin Republican replied by pointing out that the Defense Department had asked for this reduction, and veterans would get an increase later in life: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Nancy Cordes heralded the proposed budget deal from Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray as a "true compromise" on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, and asserted that "the reason it's so important is that it could bring an end to this terrible cycle, where Congress can't agree on a yearly budget." Cordes also revisited her network's slanted language about sequestration, stating that the proposal "partially rolls back those deep, across-the-board spending cuts."
The correspondent also played up how "the agreement won't win support from some conservatives", and that "there are bound to be some conservatives who don't like it". She didn't use such ideological labeling in reference to opposition from liberals. Instead, Cordes merely noted that "many Senate Democrats...don't think the deal's perfect, but they can live with it." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Well, it's not perfect, but it's a start — and it's certainly a far cry from what President Obama is now willing to admit.
In his report Tuesday on the congressional hearing for John Koskinen, Obama's nominee to be the next IRS Commissioner, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press wrote that Koskinen "told senators Tuesday he will work to restore public trust in the agency in the wake of the tea party scandal even as the IRS takes on new responsibilities administering the president's health care law." That's a remarkable admission, given that the word "scandal" does not appear in Koskinen's prepared remarks, and of course given that Obama's current opinion of what is better described as the "IRS conservative targeting scandal" is that it isn't one ("they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged"). As nice as it is that he used the "S-word," Ohlemacher's dispatch still contained serious oversights, including his failure to cite the change in Obama's public stance since May and his contention that no one outside the IRS knew of its targeting efforts until then.
On Tuesday's All In on MSNBC, during a discussion of the federal budget and spending on poverty programs, host Chris Hayes suggesting reducing unemployment by having the government hire workers as he jokingly suggested having another census because unemployment dropped the last time census workers were hired.
After guest Tom Colocchio of Food Policy Action called for more "job training programs so they can actually get back to work," Hayes jumped in:
On Tuesday's All In show on MSNBC, during a discussion of Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman's primary challenge to Senator John Cornyn, MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman asserted that, "if you don't make outrageous statements," the Tea Party movement will not consider you to be "serious."
Referring to some of Stockman's more controversial statements, Fineman reacted:
On Monday's All In on MSNBC, during a discussion of whether the Tea Party has helped conservatism, host Chris Hayes accused the Tea Party of being "reckless" in several ways, including "with people's lives," as he contrasted the GOP and Democratic bases, while MSNBC's Karen Finney asserted that GOPers only agree on "how much they hate Barack Obama."
MSNBC’s Alex Witt just can’t get enough of President Obama. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host latched onto the president’s comment, made during his interview with Chris Matthews last Thursday, that a president’s job is to “push the boulder up the hill a little bit before somebody else pushes it up a little further.”
After playing a clip of that statement, Witt couldn’t hide her glee. Addressing Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane Politics, Witt exclaimed, “What a great part of that conversation. Have you, Patricia, ever heard such an honest, contemporaneous assessment of the presidency like this before while in the presidency?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The media's determination to pin anything negative on Texas Senator Ted Cruz apparently knows no bounds.
Even as the establishment press, with Politico's Reid Epstein being one of the more recent examples, attempts to give President Obama the Mother of All Free Passes for the disastrous rollouts of HealthCare.gov and Obamacare in general, Cruz, currently perceived as a strong 2016 presidential prospect, somehow deserves to be associated with comments left at his Facebook post on Nelson Mandela's death. At least that's what Anneta Konstantinides at ABC's "The Note" seems to want readers to believe; otherwise, why would she engage in the effort at all? Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Twitchy):
The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.
Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes show, host Hayes tagged opponents of President Obama's deal with Iran over its nuclear program as "extreme" and "nefarious' even while acknowledging that the opposition is bipartisan. Hayes began the segment:
CBS This Morning stood out on Wednesday as the only Big Three newscast so far to devote any air time to a new gun control proposal by Democrats in Congress. Nancy Cordes reported on the "fierce opposition" to a proposed amendment to an extension of an existing ban on so-called "plastic guns", which would "require that all guns contain a piece of metal that cannot be removed".
However, both of Cordes' talking heads during the segment were from Democratic supporters of the proposal, and she failed to include any soundbites from gun rights supporters. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's All In on MSNBC, during a discussion of how to deal with conservative relatives at Thanksgiving dinner, host Chris Hayes at one point seemed to claim that Republicans "sabotaged" the ObamaCare Web site, Healthcare.Gov.
CBS contributor Nancy Giles also complained that she "hates" it when people who "hate government" get into power and then "dismantle" government.
After a clip of right-leaning FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer asserting that the failure proves that "liberalism doesn't work," Giles made fun of his clothing, and then griped:
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid showed up for a phone interview on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR to discuss shredding the filibuster for presidential appointees. A very polite Rehm asked if this might make partisanship worse.
“I'm sorry to smile, as you can't see on radio, but more dysfunction? I mean, gee whiz,” Reid replied. But underneath the Nevada-nice routine came an attack out of nowhere on black libertarian judge Janice Rogers Brown as one of the “extreme right wing people” the Senate confirmed in the Bush years.
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe described Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan as having put together a budget that was "harsh" and "showing absolutely no compassion" as he appeared as a guest on the MSNBC show. Wolffe:
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, as he celebrated the "truly historic" news of President Obama's deal with Iran, Chris Hayes mocked "neocons" for having a "dark day" and played the part of liberal caricature by suggesting that "neocons' nefariously wanted war with Iran for the "muscular assertion of military dominance."
A bit later, as he admitted that even Democrats in Congress are skeptical of the plan, he fretted about the possibility of Congress imposing more sanctions on Iran as he referred to doing so as "bonkers" and "ridiculous."
The knock on the lefty blogosphere in its early years was that it made a lot of noise but accomplished very little. Since 2006 or so, however, the netroots' influence on the Democratic party has grown steadily, to the point that on Monday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas could crow that the Senate's weakening of filibuster rules via the so-called nuclear option was "perhaps [Daily Kos's] greatest activism victory in its decade-long existence."