Saturday's CBS Evening News ballyhooed the "enormous strain on resources" that the budget sequester has apparently put on extinguishing a massive wildfire in Colorado. Carter Evans played up how, in addition to fighting the flames, "federal firefighters are facing another challenge: a loss of $50 million, mandated by the budget sequester. That forced the Forest Service to cut 500 firefighters and 50 engines, just when they're needed most."
The CBS evening newscast was actually late to the game, as the network's Big Three competitors also spotlighted the same figures earlier in June.
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton complained about "shameless" Republicans trying to cut food stamp benefits and creating "a whole bunch of ugly names for people who need a little help," as he was joined by MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe and Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia. The MSNBC host grumbled:
It’s become a pretty much a staple of modern Democratic political rhetoric to say that today’s Republicans have departed from their predecessors in being more obstructionist toward liberal policy objectives. Since it’s something Democrats say a lot, it’s also a frequently repeated talking point in the self-described mainstream press as well.
Even some Republicans, like Bob Dole for instance, appear to believe this notion. Too bad it’s entirely a myth.
Although there are stories at Fox News and the Daily Caller, there appears to be almost no interest on the part of the establishment press in covering the Treasury Department's failure to report over 99% of its conference costs when Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn asked for an itemized listing a year ago.
The Politico, the repository for stories which cause Democrats and the left discomfort that the rest of the press would prefer to ignore ("Oh, the Politico did something with it, so we don't have to"), buried the item in a "Morning Tax" report Thursday. Writer Lauren French held off as long as she possibly could presenting how the $50 million in omitted IRS costs dwarfed the measly $500,000 which was reported (paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel channeled the Obama administration's doom and gloom about the sequester on NPR's Morning Edition on Monday. Host Renee Montagne turned to Wessel to give a "reality check" on the sequester's current and future economic impact. The journalist cited how unnamed "economic forecasters...say they're worried that the effects of this spending restraint may have bigger negative effects" later this year.
Wessel harped on the "lots of little ways" the sequester has impacted people around the country, including the "bathroom in a national park where the toilets have been closed in some places" and how "the military is mowing grass less often at bases."
While the Associated Press may get something wrong – and omit things on occasion – they’ve admitted one thing that the big three has yet to confirm: Obamacare will cost Americans their health care coverage. In a story by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar that was published on May 29, he noted that Americans might find themselves stripped of coverage this fall since their current plans don’t meet the requirements dictated by the president. Hence, they have to find a new plan, and small businesses are in the same situation. The result could be confusion on a biblical level.
It seems Obama is reneging his promise of allowing Americans to keep their coverage if they like it. As a result, unions have begun to have buyer’s remorse over this bill; Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) has said he feels like a “train wreck” is coming, and the Society of Actuaries has reported that individual premiums will rise 32% under Obamacare. As small businesses are firing more than they’re hiring, it’s added to the anxiety over the impact of this law through the various tax increases that are on the horizon. Yet, most in the media have omitted these developments, and with the AP, IRS, and Benghazi scandals engulfing this presidency – the effects of the Affordable Car Act are bound to blindside the country.
The pity party for furloughed federal employees should be toned down. A story at CNNMoney.com notes something I don't expect will be only rarely be reported anywhere else, namely that there has been a concerted and likely largely successful effort on the part of federal employee unions to ensure that as many of their members as possible will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits during their time off. I would expect that those who don't have union representation are also attempting to imitate what the unions are doing whenever and wherever possible.
It's pretty safe to say that extra spending on unemployment benefits wasn't treated as a partial offset to estimated savings resulting from sequestration. CNN Money's coverage of one instance of this kind of maneuvering makes it clear that the total dollar amounts aren't small in a federal workforce of 4.4 million. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Talking to CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer on Wednesday's NBC Today about signs of improvement in the economy, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about past media fearmongering: "[What] we talked about over and over again over the last year was the sequester and whether it would pour a lot of cold water over our recovery here. Has that happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cramer replied: "No, it didn't. It didn't even hurt the defense stocks, those are the hottest stocks there is. So the stock market is terrific, housing's good, spending is going to increase. Things are going to get better."
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Tom Costello fretted over the impact of modest reductions in government spending: "401 parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, volcanos, and deserts make up the National Park System....But the parks and their future are under stress....The Park Service budget hasn't changed since 2006....Now the sequester is forcing another $153 million in cuts just as tourist season begins."
During a similar report on Nightly News that evening, Costello warned viewers: "Park advocates say for years the parks have been underfunded. Now some are in trouble....Despite rising costs, the Park Service budget has been flat for seven years and now has lost another $153 million in the sequester."
On Friday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes recounted the recent activities of several Republican political figures which he regarded as examples of GOP members "being jackasses," and coined the Hayes-ism "jackassery" as he used some variation of the word "jackass" 11 times during the segment. After teasing the show, the MSNBC host immediately got to attacking Republicans:
"Pay attention to Senator Cruz because he is the unsmiling, contemptuous face of the wild, nasty, hard-right fringe of a Party that once competed with the Democrats to be the country’s governing Party."
So said MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Friday's Hardball (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the Wednesday, May 22, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell show on MSNBC, host O'Donnell called for the defeat of a "vicious" Senate amendment pushed by Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter which would bar people convicted of some violent crimes from receiving welfare benefits.
The MSNBC host complained that the children of a criminal would "pay for his crime by going hungry," and called for "human decency" to defeat the measure. O'Donnell began the short segment:
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, open Obama supporter Gayle King strongly hinted to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn that he would face voter backlash for seeking cuts in the federal budget to pay for tornado disaster relief: "You voted against relief plans for Hurricane Sandy, and it sounds that you would do the same if it was raised in Oklahoma. Do you worry about alienating your constituents?"
The Republican politician shot back that he didn't want the next generation to foot the bill for the recovery from the EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and then strongly criticized the multi-billion dollar Hurricane Sandy relief package audio available here; video below the jump]:
In an interview with Congressman Tom Cole on Wednesday's NBC Today about the tornado that devastated his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma, co-host Matt Lauer saw an opportunity to hit congressional Republicans for daring to oppose pork barrel spending shoved into the Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "Back in January, you did something that a lot of your Republican colleagues did not do. You supported that bill for federal assistance, money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Liberal comic Dean Obeidallah, a regular CNN commentator, flubbed the facts on Tuesday trying to expose an Oklahoma state representative for not wanting to mandate tornado shelters in schools because it would be "government interference."
An outraged Obeidallah hit Rep. Mark McBride (R) for hypocrisy, and tossed in his liberal tidbit on guns: "Shocking to hear elected official in Okl say doesn't want 'govt interference' requiring tornado shelters at schools. But guns in school ok?" However, this actually wasn't what the representative told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wants any federal disaster relief sent to his tornado-ravaged state to be offset by other spending cuts, but CNN's Carol Costello thinks his stand to be either "extreme" or very untimely.
"This is either extreme fiscal responsibility or a raging case of 'this is not the time,'" Costello mocked on Facebook and Twitter. The Senator is sticking to his fiscal principles, since he has in the past demanded the same be done with federal aid to other states, but the liberal CNN anchor decided to inject her own bias into the story.
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation show on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank mocked House Republicans for repeatedly holding unsuccessful votes to repeal ObamaCare as he suggested they should continue to "waste" time so "they'll be less of a harm to the country" because that way "they're not cutting food stamps." Milbank:
ABC, the network that has been relentlessly pushing an apocalyptic view of what sequester could do to America, on Wednesday suggested that a lower deficit could be a bad thing. Good Morning America's Josh Elliott relayed the news that a budget surplus in April could lead to a lower 2013 deficit by $200 billion.
Elliott lectured, "But some do worry this may actually hurt the economy because it may tempt Congress to delay a long-term budget deal." Elliott didn't explain who the "some" are, but the attitude shouldn't be surprising. In April, after sequester started, GMA's hosts warned of a dark future, of "airport armageddon" and "airplane apocalypse."
Having two months ago said that his high taxes were leading him to consider dumping liberalism, HBO's Real Time host said Friday, "If you’re rich you should be begging the government to redistribute your wealth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The email announcing the supposedly momentous occasion of another column by the Politico's Glenn Thrush arrived in my mailbox with the following headline and subhead: "Obama: Hey guys, I'm still here -- The president's press conference brimmed with frustration and was filled with tantalizing promise."
On clickthrough, I learned that the online website's massagers-in-chief changed those items (but not the underlying URL, which reflects the email) to the following in the published article: "President Obama: I’m still relevant -- Obama finds himself hemmed in by the familiar constraints of partisanship and world events." Thrush's text identifed another problem supposedly hemming Obama in, complete with a slavery analogy: "the shackles of his own commitments." Poor guy; he has to deal with the world as it is, not how he'd like it to be, and those darned things he promised to do to get elected and reelected. Gosh, life is just so unfair, isn't it? Excerpts following Thrush's theme follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Global warming alarmists are becoming more and more laughable in their feeble attempts to make the American people concerned about climate change. The recent scare tactic: global warming will force women into prostitution!
According to the Hill, left-wing Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, along with "a dozen other Democrats," say that:
the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.
“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health," it says.
So, it follows I suppose, that if you oppose big government attempts to curb climate change, then, you're anti-woman, since global warming will escalate prostitution andwith it unplanned pregnancies and "poor reproductive health." We'll see if the "war on women" network, MSNBC, follows this thread, although my guess is that this line of argument may be even a bit much for the folks at the Lean Forward network. But then again, you never know.
President Barack Obama will take to the podium in the White House press briefing room at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for a press conference. The occasion: today is the 100th day of his second term in office. We at NewsBusters will be watching and I'll be live-blogging the questions from reporters. Pardon my inaccuracies as I'll be transcribing on the fly.
In the comments section, leave some question that YOU would ask if you were in the room. Which questions should be asked but likely won't?
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's attempt to keep his state's agencies from releasing detailed data on the use of the public-assistance system by the Tsarnaev family, whose sons, one dead and one in custody, are accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, appeared to be successful last week.
Ah, but Patrick, apparently feeling some heat, did agree "to release the information only to a House oversight committee where it will remain a secret." Except it's not a secret any more, at least in the aggregate, based on a report in the Boston Herald by Chris Cassidy which, based on when story comments first began appearing, went up during the middle of the afternoon today:
Have any of the liberal journalists who have bellyached over the sequester's supposedly draconian cuts -- which amount to a mere $44 billion -- considered that it pales in comparison to the amount of money that Medicare fraud costs the taxpayer every year?
That would be as much as $300 billion a year, or three times what the U.S. government spends on education, as Chris Parker of the Houston Press noted in an April 25 story:
Given how often such blatant thievery goes undetected, no one's sure how much fraud there really is. Conservative estimates place the bill at $100 billion annually. The more adventurous peg the figure closer to $300 billion — three times what the feds spend on education.
It has left federal health care little more than an unlocked home, where street punks and gangsters, doctors and even states walk right in and help themselves to whatever's inside.
Parker also observed that some people who were involved in Medicare fraud look mighty familiar, like Democratic Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas. Houston Riverside General Hospital, the medical center she vouched for after it was hit with cuts, was found to have committed $116 million dollars in Medicare fraud – and her husband, Elwyn Lee, was once on the board.
Medicare malfeasance is, alas, a bipartisan fiasco. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), you may recall, was CEO of a hospital company that also has engaged in felonious Medicare transactions.
While liberal journalists like E.J. Dionne have been squawking about how disastrous the sequester cuts -- in truth they are actually reductions in the rate of spending --are, the fact of the matter is they are a drop in the federal budget bucket, and are significantly less than money we as taxpayers lose every year thanks to fraud in Medicare, a program which needs fundamental reform to prevent insolvency in a few decades time.
The Democrats blinked in the sequester tussle -- by wide margins Congress passed, and the president promised to sign, legislation that would end the furloughs for Federal Aviation Administration employees, which had caused flight delays that Republicans claimed were politically motivated by the Obama administration.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Chip Reid forwarded the talking points of "some Democrats [who] say less vocal victims of the budget slashing have been left out in the cold ". Reid asserted that "millions of Americans harmed by the sequester [are] wondering what Washington plans to do for them" after Congress expedited the passage of a bill that ended the furloughs of air traffic controllers.
CBS News political director John Dickerson also spotlighted how "these across-the-board cuts have affected...all kinds of things – kids getting their Head Start, meals for poor people, even cancer treatments for Medicare patients – but they haven't been able to put the pressure on lawmakers that happened in this case."