The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday portrayed the possible scuttling of a budget compromise as the fault of conservatives opposing a "too-good-to-be-true" deal. Over on NBC's Nightly News, the reporters derided the plan as not spending enough, worrying about extending unemployment benefits. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday totally skipped the story.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened the show by lamenting, "It sounded almost too good to be true when we told you last night that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a federal budget without driving the nation to edge of fiscal disaster." Reporter Nancy Cordes alerted, "Scott, what made Republican leaders so angry was the fact that these powerful outside groups were once again urging Republicans to vote against a fragile compromise that had been worked out by a party standard bearer," referring to Paul Ryan. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CNN hosts and analysts actively cheered the House budget deal and scoffed at Tea Party conservatives who opposed it, on Wednesday and Thursday.
"I think this is great, what we're hearing here. You've got Boehner saying the fringe types, back off. We're here to do a job. We have to compromise," New Day co-host Chris Cuomo relished the Speaker's rebuke of the Tea Party on Thursday morning. [Video below the break. 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]
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:
To do so, she reinvented what it is to be "rich" or "affluent." It apparently has nothing to do with how it is normally defined, i.e., based on current net worth (assets owned minus debts owed). Ms. Yen's and AP's yearning is apparently to base it on whether you're in a household which has had annual earnings above $250,000 — ever. Really. The purpose of the piece appears to be to go after this segment of the population, such as it is, because they aren't knee-jerk supporters of limitless government spending, and won't spend money on consumption to improve the economy like Keynesians think they're supposed to. Be on the lookout for a clearly misused word (HT to emailer Alfred Lemire; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made some rather ominous economic observations Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Greenspan said, “[T]he level of uncertainty about the very long-term future is far greater than at any time I particularly remember.” He blamed it on “government intervention [that] has been so horrendous that businesses cannot basically decide what to do about the future” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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 Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft boosted the agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-identified socialist, by granting him 30 seconds of air time to attack billionaire Pete Peterson, who was featured on the November 17, 2013 edition of the news program. However, this half-minute block was 2.5 times the amount that Peterson got during Charlie Rose's report [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Rose merely played a 12-second soundbite of Peterson during the segment, and mentioned the former Nixon Cabinet official's involvement with a group of philanthropists, who are donating at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity:
HealthCare.gov is so insecure that IT experts say they wouldn't use it themselves. The supposedly firm November 30 deadline for the web site's repair and recovery really isn't. Back-end problems abound. Earlier this week, Henry Chao told a congressional committee that "the back-office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need be built." That is, they apparently haven't been started.
This is the time the New Yorker Magazine has chosen to publish a column (HT James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web) by former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol officially entitled "The Republican War on Competence." The browser window title is even funnier: "Obamacare and the Republican War on Competence." You can't make this up. Shesol's content is just as hysterical.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
In the midst of the unmitigated disaster that has been the roll out of ObamaCare, on Saturday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt had the audacity to suggest to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that Republicans should be the ones on defense: "...you took it on the chin when you fought it in the last budget battle. When we go back around to the budget in January, are Republicans gonna be a little more timid taking on health care, given the experience and given the lower approval ratings?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Priebus replied: "I think that the American people are seeing now how serious it was of a fight against ObamaCare....People are hurting and they're losing their coverage and they're paying more money that they can't afford. It's just not fair."
Even though government operational outlays didn't really go down at all in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012, several government agencies ended up raiding slush funds (my term) to get through sequestration, the tiny reductions in previously increased projected spending which took effect during the second half of the fiscal year.
This evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor identified some of those slush funds, and dutifully warned the nation about how rough the next round of sequestration will allegedly be during fiscal 2014 (bolds are mine):
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):
Since the end of the partial government shutdown last month, national newspapers have zeroed in on conservative Utah Senator Mike Lee as a potential political casualty due to his leadership in developing the strategy of using the federal government’s October 1 funding deadline as a way to stop ObamaCare. “After a 16-day government shutdown, it’s Lee who faces a revolt within his own party,” the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker declared in an October 23 front-page story.
But for a statewide politician like Mike Lee (who doesn’t face the voters again until 2016), the reviews that truly matter are those of his home state’s media. Thus, Media Research Center analysts reviewed coverage from Utah’s two largest newspapers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, analyzing all 116 news stories, editorials and opinion columns that talked about Lee’s role in the shutdown. Our study included all stories from September 17 through October 31 — a period beginning two weeks before the start of the shutdown and ending two weeks after the shutdown concluded. [Full results after the jump.]
After NBC warned viewers that the partial government shutdown that ended weeks ago may be "the Grinch that stole Christmas," on Tuesday's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk fretted that Thanksgiving would be ruined as well: "Macy's, the company that sponsors the Thanksgiving Day Parade, will open its doors on the holiday for the first time in 155 years....But there is a risk, the identity of one of the country's most cherished holidays may be in jeopardy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite co-host Matt Lauer noting moments earlier that the trend of Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving had been happening "for years," Gosk laid blame on October's temporary shutdown: "Retailers are facing a tough reality. The government shutdown slowed down the economy and took a serious toll on consumer confidence. A recent poll showed that just over half of shoppers say they will spend less than last year this Christmas season."
Exhibit A on Friday night for how the news media are an impediment to any rational discussion of reining in federal spending. “The ax falls for more than 47 million Americans struggling to put food on the table as tonight time has run out,”NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ominously and fatuously intoned Friday night, as if payments to them are about to be eliminated.
Spending on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps,” will increase “over the next decade by 57 percent,” as the number of Americans on the program has doubled under Obama, yet NBC focused on the victims of “cuts.”
On the Thursday, October 31, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, after host O'Donnell raised new numbers showing that the federal budget deficit has shrunk, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- dismissed Republican concerns over the deficit. O'Donnell began by posing:
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
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.