The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.
At the Associated Press Friday morning, economics writer Christopher Rugaber's story had a predictably sunny and incomplete headline ("LONG-LASTING US FACTORY GOODS ORDERS RISE 3.7 PCT.") followed by an opening paragraph which told readers that "orders for most other goods fell" and which speculated without basis that the substantively bad news was "a possible sign of concern about the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1."
That's a great reporting strategy if your goal is to keep busy news consumers inadequately informed. Those who only read the headline will believe that this economic element was unequivocally positive. Those who only get through the first paragraph will see the bad news and blame congressional Republicans, on whom the establishment media has successfully pinned the blame for the 17 percent shutdown — even though it objectively doesn't belong there. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.
Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.
After consistently blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Carl Quintanilla warned that while the budget stalemate ended days earlier, "Many people who were furloughed or otherwise affected are still paying the price, and will do so for some time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs touted: "A new survey says about forty percent of consumers cut their spending because of the government shutdown. And store traffic was down seven percent compared to last year." She then proclaimed: "Retailers are hoping the shutdown doesn't become the Grinch that stole Christmas, but they're worried it will."
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 18, PoliticsNation show, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry characterized the government shutdown as Republicans "effectively impeaching" President Obama as she fretted that the GOP will create "crisis after crisis" so that Obama "never will have an opportunity to actually enact a second policy agenda."
Host Al Sharpton complained about Republicans talking about thwarting President Obama's agenda:
In an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed a "civil war" in the Republican Party and persistently urged him to blame it on the Tea Party. Instead, Cheney began the exchange by explaining: "I think the most radical operator in Washington today is the President. I think he's trying to take the country in a direction that is fundamentally different than anything we've seen before." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie was undeterred and continued to stoke GOP division: "And you would think that might be a unifying moment for the party but instead you have Senator Lindsey Graham this weekend calling the shutdown 'a political gift to Democrats'....Mitch McConnell said, 'I think we fully acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy is.' That suggests there is a real rift."
Like many a liberal blowhard, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera grabbed estimates from financial analysts that the government shutdown cost the economy billions of dollars. On his radio show Thursday, Geraldo decided he wanted to send the entire bill to Sen. Ted Cruz.
Geraldo also hosted CNN anchor Don Lemon who claimed to disavow “any political affiliation,” and then trashed the Republicans for holding “the American people hostage,” which is “not the American way”:
A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)
Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."
Continuing to hammer home the Democratic talking point that the Republican Party is to blame for the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gloated: "Politically, it's widely agreed to have been a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a later report, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "For many Republicans, they're now at that acceptance phase after a bruising defeat. Many, are admitting mistakes, assessing some responsibility." She then noted how "one of the most visible and divisive figures in this whole episode," Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "started the day trying to create some goodwill" by greeting visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
ABC on Thursday night took a victory lap in its effort to blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny and other journalists at the network phoned all the House and Senate GOP members who opposed the deal to reopen the federal government. These reporters demanded to know if the lawmakers would give back the salary they earned during the 16-day shutdown.
Zeleny justified, "Since it was Congress that shut the government down, one of the top questions you asked us, should they get paid?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist made no mention of Barack Obama or the congressional Democrats who rejected numerous compromise efforts to reopen the federal government.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Friday continued his efforts to assign blame for what he called the "Ted Cruz shutdown." This prompted the Texas senator to shoot back: "A lot of the media did" that. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos touted the Republican's appearance as a "contentious and defiant interview."
Karl lectured, "People hated this shutdown. They hated this impasse. And this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown." He attacked, "You more than any single individual were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with."
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
Liberal cable anchor Chris Matthews on Thursday sneered at conservatives Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, trashing their "white" "minority" base. The Hardball host also defined a patriot as someone who "believes in government." According to Matthews, conservative Republicans in the House and Senate don't meet this standard. The host fumed, "They all run around as if 'we got all of these white people out here,' this little minority of the country. 'But they're better Americans than the rest and we represent them.'" Perhaps the journalist is unaware that Cruz is multi-ethnic and not "white."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews insisted that Americans should be asking these questions in the wake of the government shutdown: "Does the majority will still matter? There's the fact that he [Obama] is President, is it paramount?" The anchor lectured that it is "highly inconsistent" for conservatives to call themselves patriots since they have "disrespect for institutions." He then went on to offer a new definition of patriotism.
Norah "we shouldn't editorialize" O'Donnell boosted President Obama mere seconds after the liberal politician finished his Thursday presser about the end of the partial government shutdown. The CBS anchor claimed that Obama was trying to "be, sort of, the grown-up in the room, and to look forward and say, here are the three ways we can now work together. "
O'Donnell later asserted that the President had gone back to his semblance of a bipartisanism in his lecture-like address: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Teasing an upcoming softball interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell wondered: "Does she now hold all the cards after President Obama says the Speaker has lost control?" Mitchell later introduced Pelosi by proclaiming: "John Boehner is gonna have to turn to the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to save the country from default, to put up Democratic votes to get this [budget deal] through." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Near the end of the friendly exchange, Pelosi credited her Senate counterpart for the deal: "I never saw anything like what Harry Reid did. To watch him was to watch a master at work. He was superb, intellectually, politically astute." Mitchell seized on that comment to make a sycophantic segue: "Speaking of masters at work, you have just been inducted, as I understand it, into the Women's Hall of Fame, which is such a high honor. So congratulations to you. "
After a debt ceiling deal was struck Wednesday in Washington, famed sitcom producer Norman Lear published an article at the Huffington Post wherein he expressed faux concern that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh had exploded as a result.
After spending days trashing the Republican Party as guilty of "treason" and "economic terrorism," left-wing MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Wednesday spotlighted the Taliban's criticism of the shutdown. The host lectured that "no matter what the final outcome of the showdown is...damage to our global reputation has already been done." He then proceeded to showcase international attacks on America.
Schultz went so far as to highlight, "Heck, even the Taliban militants took the opportunity to taunt the United States. The group issued this statement, accusing U.S. politicians of 'sucking the blood of their own people.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It was just Tuesday that the cable anchor railed against a form of "terrorism," but he was talking about the GOP.
Sweet set out to convince readers that while the White House veggie garden was the first lady's "signature project," she was powerless to thwart the ravages of Mother Nature as the shutdown furloughed gardeners who tended to the plants. Apparently the First Lady can't work the garden herself with some capable volunteers from local charities like Miriam's Kitchen helping her, even though she used those folks for a harvesting photo-op in October 2009 (emphasis mine):
It’s no secret that the liberal media sympathize with the Democrats’ position on the current government shutdown (and on most policy matters, really). Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown underscored that point on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour when she spun the failure of a House bill as a net positive because it was what Democrats were hoping for.
Brown was making a guest appearance on the NewsHour to report on the latest developments in negotiations to end the shutdown. She announced that the latest House GOP bill was collapsing due to a lack of support in that chamber. Brown then gave her two cents on the matter: [See video below the break.]
As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
Eager to declare Republican defeat in the budget showdown on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "As John McCain said, Republicans have to understand, 'We lost this battle.' Let's put this very simply, after a shutdown that lasted 16 days, a shutdown led by House Republicans who wanted to undermine the President's new health care law, by the end of today, those Republicans may leave with little to nothing...to show for it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie used the same talking points in an interview with Republican senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte minutes later: "Some of your Republican colleagues over there [in the House] said you guys are the 'Senate surrender caucus.' Are you angry, embarrassed, frustrated?...Do they still need a reality check today? Do you agree with what Senator McCain said, which was essentially, 'This fight is lost, it's time to move on'?"
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor accused the Heritage Foundation of "strapping dynamite to the bridge" in trying to influence the agreement to end the government shutdown, and went on to mock Heritage President Jim DeMint as wearing "clown pajamas."
After host Al Sharpton griped about DeMint being a "far, far right" influence on congressional members, Taylor complained:
For the second time in one day, an MSNBC anchor accused Republicans of betraying the United States. According to Ed Schultz on Tuesday, House GOP members who won't agree to all of Barack Obama's demands on the government shutdown are committing "economic terrorism" and plotting a "coup d'etat" against the President.
Schultz brought on Democratic Congressman Joseph Crowley to discuss whether there would be a vote on the shutdown. The Ed Show host fumed, "Congressman, what we're seeing happen in America right now, I think, is economic terrorism." The anchor offered his version of what passing the debt ceiling deadline would mean: "Interest rates are going to go nuts. Belt tightening is going to take place. Unemployment's going to go up." He escalated, "This is economic terrorism as I call it...It seems to be nothing more than a legislative coup d'etat." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Amidst all the blather about Republicans going over the cliff and taking the world with them, a tantalizing bit of truth broke through on today's Morning Joe. Doomsaying notwithstanding, the GOP is actually positioned to do OK in 2014.
Making the comment particularly surprising was its source: none other than Barack Obama's former senior adviser himself—David Axelrod. View the video after the jump.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
I'm really getting sick and tired of conservatives being accused of racism by liberal media members all because they don't agree with Barack Obama's policies.
On Tuesday, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Cynthia Tucker actually tweeted, "I knew some whites would have difficulty w/ a browner America but didn't know they'd wanna destroy the country over it":