From its inception, everything about President Barack Obama's health care law has been controversial.
The latest controversy came with the government release of new numbers. Through February, 4.2 million Americans had signed up for health insurance on the government exchanges. Supporters believe that while the numbers are lower than they'd hoped, the problem was simply a poor website rollout.
MSNBC's Ronan Farrow marked the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on Thursday by browbeating the Catholic Church for supposedly thwarting the fight against AIDS in the developing world, and for the Church's apparent lack of action in stopping genocide. Farrow played up how "Church social policies often fly in the face of skyrocketing HIV rates," and bemoaned how "the Church does still ban contraception in those places. Is that costing lives?"
The neophyte TV host asked one of his priest guests, "You don't think that it's irresponsible, given the emphasis on mercy and the preservation of life, that there's not more leeway on that doctrine?" He also played up how "brutal conflicts in countries with significant Catholic populations demand attention that some say the Church is failing to provide," and faulted the Church for its apparent inaction during the genocide in Rwanda almost 20 years ago: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Apparently, Ed Schultz doesn't mean it when he says "get your tapes rolling at home." The MSNBC anchor on Wednesday attempted to rewrite his bogus, boastful prediction about ObamaCare. As noted by the Washington Post, on December 11, 2013, Schultz prognosticated: "I'm going to make a prediction tonight. It's going to hit five million by March 1st. That's right. Five million people signed up by March 1st. Get your tapes rolling at home folks 'cause it's going to be a big 'I told you so.'"
The just-released ObamaCare numbers for the end of February state that 4.2 million Americans have enrolled. Talking to Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Schultz whitewashed his prediction, announcing, "Well, I predicted five million people are going to sign up by the end of this month. We're closing on it on that number." [See video below for a contrast of the two quotes. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC’s newest liberal darling Ronan Farrow paid a visit to Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” on Tuesday night, and the daytime MSNBC host was hilariously mocked by the liberal comedian during the entire segment.
Throughout the interview, Colbert repeatedly poked fun at Farrow and his liberal MSNBC network, going so far as to tell his guest at age 26 “You could actually still be on your mother's health insurance thanks to ObamaCare.” [See video below.]
Last night, I noted that the Associated Press had not deigned to consider Republican David Jolly's victory over Democrat Alex Sink in the FL-13 Congressional race a "Top U.S. Story" as of 10:13 p.m. To AP's credit (or perhaps because of yours truly's and others' razzing?), a story about the race was at the Number 6 spot in Top U.S. Stories as of 8:15 this morning.
CNN.com, on the other hand (HT to NewsBusters commenter "Jon"), is clearly playing "hide the story" with the Jolly-Sink race. Its worldwide home page as of 8:38 a.m. had one line item titled "GOP wins year's 1st election showdown" halfway down the page, and a tiny picture in the "Politics" section near the bottom of the page headlined "GOP Scores First 2014 Win." Could they be any more vague? Its U.S. home page as of 7:37 a.m. had no reference to the race at all.
We all know that if Democrat Alex Sink had defeated David Jolly in FL-13's special Congressional election tonight, the morning news shows would have been all over the story, crowing that her victory represented a convincing verdict in favor of Obamacare.
Well, that didn't happen. David Jolly won, despite being badly outspent and forced to survive a bruising January primary. He also had to deal with running against Sink, a former Sunshine State gubernatorial candidate with far greater name recognition, and a libertarian candidate who siphoned off almost 5 percent of the vote. Though the Associated Press has a fairly balanced and lengthy story on the outcome, it somehow wasn't important enough to be carried as one of its Top 10 U.S. stories at 10:13 PM tonight. One story which did make the "Top 10" cut was (not kidding) about "Oregon owners of a 22-pound housecat that trapped them in their bedroom after attacking their baby." The AP story itself also didn't present the result as quite the referendum on Obamacare the left was predicting when they thought their candidate would prevail.
PBS found a sly new way to promote ObamaCare on Monday’s NewsHour. It came as part of a feature story on nutrition for young mothers and their infants. Anchor Judy Woodruff introduced the story by talking about malnutrition in young children and the importance of proper nutrition for mothers, particularly young ones. This set up her selling point: “Starting in 2010, a program under the health care reform law made that idea more of a possibility in many states.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The story that followed centered around the Circle of Life program, which essentially helps young, low-income parents in northern Arkansas raise their children. PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, who narrated the package, explained Circle of Life’s connection to ObamaCare:
In the past week, Radio Shack has announced that will close 1,100 stores, or over 20 percent of its U.S. outlets. Staples is shuttering 225 stores, or roughly 12 percent of theirs. Smaller downsizings earlier this year have been reported at Macy's (involving store and other personnel) and J.C. Penney.
One gets the impression from press reports that these are occurring primarily because of poor management or the ongoing trend towards more online sales. Though those two factors are obviously relevant, the fact that the economy began weakening during the fourth quarter, especially so in December, rarely gets a mention. When it does get noted, it's usually something mild, along the lines of "disappointing holiday sales." A Thursday afternoon Associated Press article by business writer Tom Murphy illustrates the kid-glove approach (bolds are mine; my responses to certain of Murphy's points are in italics):
It was an absolute certainty that MSNBC would attack Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) following his Thursday morning speech at CPAC. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host wrung her hands over Cruz’s continued criticism of ObamaCare. With the air of an impatient mother, Witt fumed, “I know he’s just serving up red meat to the base. Republicans believe this is going to help them in the midterms. But aren't we past that yet?”
GOP strategist Susan Del Percio, a real MSNBC-type Republican, seemed to feel the same way about Cruz. She replied to Witt’s question, “Not if you're Ted Cruz. I mean, that's what he has become known as, is as a firebrander. He just throws this stuff out there.” With timid, apologetic Republican analysts like Del Percio, it’s no wonder MSNBC can’t have any real debates on their programs. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
If you like your jail cell plan, you can keep it? In a front page story for Monday's New York Times, writer Erica Goode revealed that prisons all across the country are enrolling inmates to ObamaCare. Despite the fact that many media outlets consider the Times to be the "paper of record," NBC and ABC ignored the news that taxpayer-funded money would be going to the health care of convicted criminals.
Only CBS This Morning covered it, allowing 20 seconds. Guest co-host Anthony Mason summarized the details and insisted, "States can save millions by letting Medicaid pay for prisoners' hospital stays lasting more than 24 hours. Up to 35 percent of those now eligible for Medicaid under ObamaCare have had run-ins with the law." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Although CBS covered the latest revelation, Mason failed to mention conservative criticism.
ABC’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos was the only Sunday show that bothered to cover the latest ObamaCare delay and with it came some interesting insight from the panel of political experts.
Appearing on Sunday’s program, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan mocked the latest delay and hilariously asked her fellow panelists if “there still a law? Is there still an ObamaCare law? It's been changed in 25 ways.” [See video below.]
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl following his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and from the beginning was met with a barrage of questions over his outspoken criticism of President Obama.
The interview, which aired on Sunday’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos, featured a myriad of topics including repealing ObamaCare. During the segment, Senator Cruz mocked how the “media treats that as a bizarre proposition” to which Karl laughed and asserted “it is because he’s not going to sign it. It is a bizarre proposition.” [See video below.]
Few have defended the Obama administration, and especially Obamacare, as vocally and in my view often unreasonably, as Fox News's Juan Williams. He has gone so far as to call Republican Party opposition to Obamacare its "original sin," and absurdly claimed that "massive opposition" from Republicans is what forced HealthCare.gov's rushed rollout.
One blind spot Williams does not have involves how consistently horribly leftists treat African-American conservatives, or even African-Americans who express an occasional sensibly conservative thought. One reason the left is so brazen in its persecution attempts is its knowledge that no matter how uncivil or unreasonable, their attempts will almost never gain wide exposure in the nation's establishment press. The latest example concerns calls by the faculty at Rutgers University to prevent former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from her scheduled appearance as commencement speaker there this year. Williams expressed his outrage in a Thursday Fox News column (HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
On Friday's This Hour, CNN's John Berman bemoaned how medical marijuana is still illegal in many jurisdictions, and hinted that executive action needed be taken to fix this situation. After noting that "one of the problems right now is the federal law," Berman asked, "Can't they change this? Can't a stroke of the pen change this problem?"
Doctor Sanjay Gupta also played up how people with chronic illnesses are affected by this federal regulation, and underlined its apparent damaging impact: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CNN anchor John Berman asked medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta Friday if just a "stroke of the pen" could "change this problem" and legalize medical marijuana.
"Can't they change this? Can't a stroke of the pen change this problem?" Berman asked of the government. Dr. Gupta, a medical marijuana advocate, agreed: "you say the same thing that I do. This is baffling to me." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts has repeatedly been awarded interviews with Michelle and Barack Obama. There's a good reason for this: She doesn't ask tough questions. On Thursday, the co-host promised a "revealing, one-on-one conversation" with Mrs. Obama. Roberts did bring up ObamaCare, but offered no tough questions about the repeated delays.
Talking to the First Lady at a Black Entertainment Television conference, Roberts vaguely began: "[The health care law] has not been without its critics who question whether or not this will work." The journalist continued, "How do you see that and being able to close the gap for those people who have not been given that opportunity to have quality health care?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
Only CBS This Morning on Wednesday bothered to cover yet another delay of ObamaCare. NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America both skipped the news. On Tuesday night, all three networks ignored the topic.
CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose explained, "This morning, critics of the President's health care law have a new target for anger, another major delay." He added, "The Obama administration will allow insurers to continue offering bare-bones plans, even if they don't comply with the minimum standards." Journalist Jan Crawford described the move as one that would avoid more cancellations near the 2014 midterm elections. She opined, "...The administration will allow insurers to offer the substandard plans." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
President Obama will be enacting yet another delay for ObamaCare, but the networks were silent about the prospect of it on Tuesday night. The administration is set to allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don't meet ObamaCare standards, and the delay will be tailored around the November Congressional elections.
The Hillclearly saw the move as political – "easing election pressure on Democrats" – since it would avoid the "firestorm" of many health plans being cancelled right before the November elections. CBSNews.com reported the news, but none of the network evening news casts touched the story on Tuesday.
You reap what you sow. Most MSNBC hosts have excitedly touted ObamaCare over the past four years, despite warnings that the law would increase costs for businesses. Well, now we are beginning to see the natural consequences of what the health care law is doing to businesses, and at least one MSNBC host is upset by it.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt was incensed that Gator’s Dockside, a Florida restaurant chain, has started charging its customers a one percent surcharge to help cover expected ObamaCare-related costs. Witt fumed, “[I]s it even legal to just add on a surcharge like that? I mean, it’s essentially a tax.” [See video below the break.]
Perhaps I'm being too kind in describing the Associated Press as "The Administration's Press." Based on Jim Kuhnhenn's ridiculous "Don't worry, be happy" Saturday report on how unimportant he says the still growing national debt and the still historically large federal budget deficits supposedly are, maybe I should start calling the wire service "The Administration's Publicists" instead.
Kuhnhenn stopped just short of writing that the national debt ($17.41 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $10.63 trillion when Barack Obama took office 61 months ago, an average increase of $111 billion per month) and the annual federal budget deficit (on track to be over $500 billion for the sixth year in a row, four of which saw deficits of over $1 trillion) aren't worthy of attention, but it's clear that he believes we shouldn't be concerned about them in making electoral choices (bolds are mine):
Separately, left-leaning law professor Jonathan Turley warned a Congressional committee on Wednesday that President Obama's extensive use of executive orders, executive actions, and unilateral regulatory moves threatens to enable the President, as Turley phrased it in a Fox News interview on Thursday, to "effectively become a government unto himself." If Turley had made his statement in 2006 or 2007 during the Iraq War, it would almost certainly have become a media obsession. Instead, as will be shown after the jump, Turley's testimony is being completely ignored by everyone except center-right news outlets and bloggers.
On Tuesday evening, the networks continued their blackout of a CMS estimate that ObamaCare would raise health premiums for 11 million people -- almost two-thirds of small business plans.
The CMS report was released on Friday but the networks have been silent on it so far. The story wasn’t omitted from a busy news schedule, as the CBS Evening News carved out over two minutes to reminisce on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston championship bout. The ABC World News ran a segment on “sleep whisperers” and insomnia.
Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat's career as Congress's longest-serving member will end with this session.
With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell's decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration's regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called "Obamacare." That emphasis on Obamacare "somehow" overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio's Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law's passage in March 2010. It's the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn't), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.
Congressman Gary Peters (D-M.I.) seems to have some really thin skin as he recently threatened several Michigan TV stations for airing political ads targeting his support for ObamaCare.
In a piece in the Washington Examiner, reporter Charles Hoskinson revealed how the Michigan Democrat, who is running for Senate to replace the retiring Carl Levin, is upset over an ad produced by Americans for Prosperity. The ad featured Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient who said that Peters’ support of ObamaCare “jeopardized my health.”
The AP's White House correspondent, surely at the suggestion of the group she is supposed to be covering objectively, writes that President Barack Obama's forays into unilateral executive action have been good for his soul. The President's authoritarian moves have apparently also been "cathartic" for the White House staff, now reportedly "buoyed by a new sense of purpose." Isn't that sweet? Excerpts from this piece of journalistic junk follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
First Lady Michelle Obama insulted the young people of America during an appearance on Thursday night’s Tonight Show. Host Jimmy Fallon asked her why young people should sign up for ObamaCare if they can’t afford it, and Mrs. Obama struck a condescending note in her response. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
“[A] lot of young people think they’re invincible,” she said. “But the truth is, young people are knuckleheads. You know? They're the ones who are cooking for the first time and slice their finger open. They’re dancing on the bar stool.”