Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
Does Candy Crowley work for CNN or the Democratic Party?
It was tough to tell Sunday when after the State of the Union host asked guest Rand Paul (R-Ky.) if recent polling indicated the beginning of the end of the Republican Party, she actually asked him if he’d ever consider becoming a Democrat (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Obama-loving media couldn't wait to report findings from an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll concerning how the public are giving far more blame for the government shutdown to Republicans than the President.
What they chose not to report was that 51 percent of respondents in the very same poll said of Barack Obama, "He is putting his own political agenda ahead of what's good for the country":
Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein of ABC News teamed up recently for an online interview with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Posted to the ABC News/Yahoo! News “Power Players” blog, the interview consisted mostly of Karl and Klein trying to get Jindal to criticize his fellow Republicans, particularly those in Congress.
Karl got right down to the GOP-infighting business with his first question: [Watch the video and read the accompanying article here.]
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said one of the dumbest things he’s ever said in his life Thursday evening, and that’s saying something.
When NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno asked if he thought John Boehner (R-Oh.) would lose his Speakership as a result of the current government shutdown/debt ceiling debate, Matthews responded, “It might be the greatest thing he ever does in his life” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
According to Chris Matthews, a new NBC poll showing bad poll numbers for the Republican Party is comparable to "Watergate." Finding that Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the shutdown by a 22 percent margin, Matthews marveled, "I get the sense that this is a historic poll."
Talking to Chuck Todd, the Hardball anchor prompted, "Compared to Watergate?" This was too much for Todd. He hedged, "Is it Watergate levels? Well, if this were October 2014, you might be talking about something like this. This is wave-type numbers, if this were a month out from the election. But we're not a month out from the election." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in tagging Tea Party Republicans as "crazies" as O'Donnell fretted over whether conservative activists Charles and David Koch would be able to convince Tea Party Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling issue.
[***UPDATED*** October 11, 11:15 ET, More analysis and full transcript added]
In an interview with Senator John McCain for The Daily Beast's annual Hero Summit on Thursday, the blog's editor-in-chief Tina Brown launched into an unhinged rant blaming conservatives for the government shutdown: "The story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how do we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul's bitch?...Why aren't the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We're always saying why don't, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
British historian Niall Ferguson brought a breath of fresh air to the set of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, effortlessly cutting through the show’s typical left-wing spin.
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were engaged in their new favorite pastime – slamming Ted Cruz and other GOP “extremists” – when Ferguson jumped in and suggested that President Obama may also be culpable in the current budget impasse: [See video below.]
MSNBC reporter Luke Russert on Thursday found the need to gratuitously connect the anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination with a possible GOP extension of the debt limit. Appearing on Now With Alex Wagner, Russert said of the John Boehner-supported move: "So the idea is the debt limit would be extended until November 22, which is, by the way, the 50th anniversary of the death of the President Kennedy, which is a whole other thing that would probably look bad optically. " [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the 50 years since JFK's murder, many things have happened on November 22, including congressional legislation. What point, exactly, was Russert trying to make by linking the murder of a president to the debate with a current commander in chief over the debt ceiling?
Wrapping up a report on the government shutdown for Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander eagerly promoted negative political fallout for Republicans: "Both parties are taking a hit in their approval ratings as a result these days. But the damage to the Republican brand appears to be proving to be much worse. A new Gallup poll...shows only 28% of Americans say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party, that's the lowest number since they began asking that question twenty-one years ago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What Alexander didn't bother to mention was an Associated Press poll that showed President Obama's approval rating having dropped to 37%, with disapproval at 53%. Following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer made a feeble attempt to provide balance to the slanted coverage: "No picnic in that [Gallup] poll for the Democratic Party either, but the Republicans seem to be taking the bigger hit at the moment." Again, no mention of Obama's low approval rating.
So here's an angle on the federal government shutdown that you're not getting from the liberal broadcast media.
With non-essential personnel furloughed, federal regulators have not been at work, which is a huge blessing to an overregulated American economy, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board noted today. Indeed, new regulations published in the Federal Register have slowed to a trickle since the work stoppage began on October 1:
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Appearing on the Tuesday, October 8, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Joy Reid asserted that Republicans are "taking hostages" and have "shot a hostage" as they "went ahead and shut the government down." She began her over the top metaphor:
Viewers who watched Ed Schultz on Wednesday witnessed something rare on the liberal host's show: a guest who voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe appeared and even got in a dig at Schultz's expense. After the MSNBC anchor touted his working class background and love for trucks, Rowe quipped, "I can make a call. I can have [a truck] in your driveway before you say, 'holy crap, I'm cancelled!' [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A surprised Schultz blurted, "I'm just trying every time slot here at MSNBC." Rowe joked, "Something's bound to stick." Earlier in the segment, the Dirty Jobs host laughed as Schultz called for him to join the Democratic Party: "You know, he is the perfect independent that we have to convince that it's their [Republicans] fault!"
The Daily Beast is ramping up the attacks on conservatives who don’t believe a catastrophe would result if the United States reaches its debt limit. On Monday, the Beast churned out a story ripping debt-ceiling “denialists,” and on Tuesday, another article slammed debt-ceiling “truthers.”
Patricia Murphy’s Monday article, titled “The GOP’s Top 10 Debt Ceiling Denialists,” was a sort of opinion/straight news hybrid infused with more than a hint of derision. Murphy essentially mocked the “denialists” in her opening paragraph:
Chris Matthews, who has publicly insisted that he doesn't like "cheap shots," on Tuesday trashed conservatives in the House as "troglodytes" from the movie Planet of the Apes. According to the Hardball anchor, Republicans opposing the President in the government shutdown believe that "if the country goes down, the economy goes down, the world comes apart, 'hey, we get an extra inch of flesh off this guy [Obama].'"
After guest David Corn, editor of the liberal Mother Jones magazine, sneered that these GOP members want to "blog things up" and "plunge the detonator," Matthews snarled, "Is this troglodyte or weird thinking?" He fumed, "It's almost like Planet of the Apes...At what point are they going to say, I guess we were wrong?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrung his hands over Congress, particularly Republicans, not yet reaching a budget deal to end the government shutdown: "...the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd responded by removing the criticism of "both sides": "You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in." [Watch the video after the jump]
Despite them being so "dug in," Todd hoped for "good news" of Republican surrender: "House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here."
On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a segment to blaming a "fatal flaw" and "quirks" in the U.S. Constitution for making it possible for government shutdowns to happen, as he suggested that parliamentary governments are preferable because they make it more difficult for divided government to exist.
One way to know if a journalist is asking a softball question is when the President of the United States compliments the reporter after he or she asks it. That happened twice on Tuesday as Barack Obama talked to reporters about the government shutdown. The President called on Sam Stein of the liberal Huffington Post website. Stein dutifully wondered, "With Speaker Boehner so far unwilling to hold a vote on a clean CR, what assurances can you give to those affected by a shutdown who are concerned about an even longer impasse?"
He added, "And how worried are you personally that your preferred solution to this -- a clear CR at sequestration levels -- may do harm to the nation's economy and your second term agenda?" Finding the question appropriately fawning, Obama responded, "Sam, you're making an important point." The President looked favorably on a similar query from a New York Times journalist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
[***UPDATED*** 17:30 ET: More analysis and full transcript added]
Appearing on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC 1 p.m. ET hour show on Tuesday, Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy slammed the press for not doing its job in pointing out the hypocrisy of ObamaCare being delayed for certain groups but not for all Americans: "...the media won't even ask the question about, 'Why are you [the Obama administration] treating families different than big businesses?'...That's how pathetic, I think, news reporting has become, when we won't ask tough questions to the administration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That response was prompted by Mitchell ranting that Republican calls for a one-year delay of the ObamaCare individual mandate was a "non-negotiable demand." Moments later, after Duffy explained that the GOP has "been incredibly reasonable, making a small ask," Mitchell was aghast: "Do you consider it a small ask that he [Obama] get rid of the central part of his health care plan that was upheld by a – by the vote of a presidential election, and the United States Supreme Court." Duffy replied: "Andrea, hold on. That's your spin." Mitchell laughably asserted: "That's not spin."
MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter on Saturday continued the liberal media pattern of siding with the Obama administration on the current government shutdown. Appearing on Weekends with Alex Witt, Alter claimed that House Speaker John Boehner is not acting in a “patriotic fashion” and “can’t even deliver a pizza,” as Team Obama says.
Fill-in host Mara Schiavocampo had asked Alter about the unidentified Obama official who told The Wall Street Journal that the White House was “winning” the shutdown, but Alter got off track and started ripping into Speaker Boehner. He huffed, “[E]verything he's doing is to protect his own skin. I wish I could say that he was acting in a patriotic fashion, but he's just not.” [See video below.]