Wednesday evening, Brent Baker at NewsBusters noted that two of the Big Three television networks failed to tag Dan Rostenkowsi, the former long-time congressman from Chicago who was ousted from his seat in 1994 over corruption charges and ended doing prison time, as a Democrat. Rostenkowski (RIP), who was 82, died yesterday.
At the five major wire services whose reports I reviewed -- The Associated Press, Reuters, UPI, AFP, and the business-oriented Bloomberg News -- Rosty's Democratic affiliation made at least one appearance. But the prominence and directness of those appearances varied widely.
Not surprisingly, the Associated Press and writer Don Babwin did the worst job of identifying Rosty's party, waiting until the eleventh paragraph to directly tag him (the eighth paragraph contains a generic reference to the "Chicago Democratic machine"), and poured it on the thickest when referring to the supposedly beloved bygone days of bipartisanship:
OK - it's not really much of a surprise. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has responded to the slowing economic recovery with restraint, not tinkering with interest rates and showing a continued willingness to buy mortgage-backed securities and long-term Treasury bonds. And that was roundly applauded by the markets, and CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
"Here's what you need to know about the Fed," Cramer said. "They're not in the way. I'm a Fed-is-friend, Fed-is-foe guy."
On CNBC's Aug. 10 "Street Signs," during his "Stop Trading" segment, Cramer explained that the Fed is acting appropriately and noted it wasn't the Bernanke that was holding the economy back. Who is to blame? It's Congress, according to Cramer, with its complicated health care bill and even more indecipherable financial regulation bill.
A week ago, AP Science Writer Malcolm Ritter committed a serious act of journalism by telling readers what is really going on in stem cell science. It ought to be required reading for the Obama administration, which seems to be making a crusade out of human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) while acting to stifle what appears to be significant progress in adult stem cell research (ASCR).
The amazing title of the AP reporter's article is "Adult stem cell research far ahead of embryonic." Given the establishment press's years-long favoritism towards hESCR going back at least to George W. Bush's 2001 announcement limiting federal government involvement in that area, it's enough to make you wonder if Ritter knew that his editors were on vacation or away on other business on August 2.
Wouldn't you say that an important part of any election story would be the numbers involved, especially in the case of landslides? Perhaps someone should give a heads up on this to Los Angeles Times writer Noam N. Levey of the Times' Tribune Washington bureau. Although he does report that Missouri voters, whom he labels as "Republican voters," voted to approve Proposition C yesterday which challenged ObamaCare's requirement that Americans must purchase health insurance, the all important margin of the lopsided victory was noticeable by its absence. Reading Levey's article you wouldn't know if Proposition C was approved by 51 or 52 percent of Missouri voters or was the actual figure so much higher that Levey found it painful to relay that information?
Reporting from Washington — Striking a largely symbolic blow at President Obama's healthcare overhaul, Missouri voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday challenging the new law's requirement that Americans buy health insurance starting in 2014.
The proposition, which sought to deny the federal government the authority to penalize people for not getting insurance, is expected to have little practical effect on implementation of the healthcare law.
But the Missouri measure represented the first electoral test for the landmark legislation that Obama signed in March. And it underscored continued hostility to the law from Republican voters.
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty used the term "Obama-nation," a pun on the word "abomination," which is used on many conservative blogs, to slam the "sprawling bureaucratic giant...that seems to be the result of President Obama's new health care law." Cafferty admitted during his commentary that ObamaCare is "shaping up to be exactly what the critics were afraid it would be."
The CNN commentator devoted his regular Cafferty File segment 12 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour to the recent report from the Congressional Research Service that, as Cafferty put it, "says it's 'impossible' to estimate the number of agencies, boards, and commissions that will be created by this new law." Cafferty explained that the report "points to many reasons for this. First off, the parts of the law that create these new bodies vary drastically. In some cases, the law gives a lot of details- in other cases, barely a mention."
Later, the CNN personality cited one provision in the ObamaCare law which "requires six separate agencies- six- within Health and Human Services to each establish an Office of Minority Health- six!" After listing two delays in getting new bureaucracies set up, he continued that there were "questions about the ability of Congress to carry out oversight of this sprawling mess."
There's a big "surprise" in the ObamaCare legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in late March. Imagine that.
This morning, the Associated Press's Stephen Ohlemacher reported on the status of one of them, namely an IRS-related provision in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" that has nothing to do with patient protection or providing affordable care. The AP reporter does a decent job of explaining the current situation, but doesn't tell readers how or why the problem arose in the first place. He also gives Democrats cover for what appears to be a half-hearted effort at repeal.
The key point Ohlemacher avoided is that no almost no one in Congress had any idea that the provision, which extends Form 1099 filing requirements to virtually all vendor payments exceeding $600 in a calendar year, was in the bill. It's also clear that very few outside of Congress were aware of the provision during the run-up to the final votes, as the result of a Google News Archive search on "Obamacare 1099 $600" (not typed in quotes) shows:
Appearing on the Fox News Channel "Hannity" program last night, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell tackled the media's bewilderment that Obama's legislative successes aren't translating into healthy job approval numbers ahead of the upcoming November midterm congressional election.
"Yes, [President Obama is] getting his legislative agenda accomplished, the problem is, this is a socialist legislative agenda the American people didn't bank on, and the more they see it, the less they like it," the Media Research Center founder and president argued in a recurring segment devoted to media bias entitled "Media Mash."
Also discussed on the July 22 program, "Good Morning America" host and former Bill Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos downplayed terrorist threats against the United States, insisting that "if you set aside the Fort Hood bombing in Texas and the failed Christmas bomber, there has not been a major attack that has been anything close to successful on American soil."
Rick Sanchez, who hosts his Rick's List program for two hours during the afternoon on CNN, will be taking on the network's 8 pm Eastern hour slot for several weeks between Campbell Brown's departure on Wednesday and the start of the ex-Democratic Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer (the infamous Client #9) and sometime-conservative Kathleen Parker's new program.
Sanchez will likely bring his two-year record of liberal bias to his temporary gig. Some of the worst examples from the Media Research Center's archives:
Targeting Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio
In late 2008, the CNN anchor gained the 3 pm Eastern time slot of CNN's Newsroom, which would evolve into his Rick's List program. Over the past year and a half, he has consistently targeted conservative media outlets.
"That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, 'Our rights were being infringed upon.'" -From CNN Newsroom, April 8, 2009. Sanchez blamed conservative news outlets for the murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The truth comes out. Okay, it was always out there. It's just that the Barack Obama and the folks in his administration were denying it.
The issue in question is whether the individual mandate and penalties for not purchasing health insurance in the statist health care legislation commonly known as ObamaCare should rightly be considered taxes, or if they are something else.
In a report dated Friday that appeared in the paper's print edition at Page A14 on Sunday, Robert Pear at the New York Times noted that in legal proceedings, in response to litigation brought by state attorneys general, the administration is now characterizing the mandate and penalties as taxes. Note the subtle water-down that occurred between the web page's title bar and the published article's headline:
Maryland will join Pennsylvania as the second state to use federal tax dollars to pay for abortions under the new health care law signed by President Barack Obama in March, according to information released by Maryland’s State Health Insurance Plan.
Maryland will receive $85 million in federal funds for its federally mandated high-risk insurance pool, which will cover abortions. As CNSNews.com reported on July 14, Pennsylvania will receive $160 million in federal funds for its high-risk insurance pool, which will also cover abortions.
During the debate over the health-care bill, President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress, saying: “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
Once again, it's clear that reading editorials and op-eds at publications like the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily becomes a requirement to be truly informed when a Democratic administration in power.
On July 6, Peter Ferrara at IBD noted that the annual report from the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare system is long overdue, and wondered why:
Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?
Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it's July, and there's no sign of this year's report. What is the Obama administration hiding?
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has evaded answering the question of whether President Barack Obama agrees with Dr. Donald Berwick, his newly appointed administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, who has insisted that health-care systems must redistribute wealth.
"Excellent health care is by definition redistributional," Berwick said in a speech delivered on July 1, 2008.
When asked directly at the July 7 White House press briefing whether Obama agreed with this, Gibbs would not answer the question. Instead, he parried it with jocular statements about the provenance of the quote.
President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick – a controversial advocate of socialized medicine and of government rationing of health care, particularly for the elderly – as head of the Medicare and Medicaid programs has so far received no attention on ABC’s World News or on the CBS Evening News, while the NBC Nightly News on Thursday devoted just 38 seconds to the President’s controversial move that circumvents a possibly bruising Senate confirmation hearing, barely touching on the nature of Berwick’s beliefs and their possible implications for the elderly. Broadcast network morning newscasts have similarly shown little to no interest in the subject. CNN’s The Situation Room devoted a full story to the appointment on Wednesday, but did little better than NBC in informing viewers of the significance of Berwick’s beliefs.
By contrast, FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on Wednesday relayed to viewers that Berwick has not only advocated the type of socialized medicine that currently limits access to health care in Britain – favoring a non-free market system based on wealth redistribution – but he has also spoken in favor of government limiting access to some health care procedures for the elderly in favor of younger patients.
FNC correspondent Jim Angle filled in viewers on how the elderly would be treated under a system Berwick might advocate:
The GOP as the party of obstructionism: it's a tried and true media meme, but very often falls a tad short of the truth. Yet on occasion, even stubborn facts are not enough to dispel such accusations.
Some in the media have taken President Obama's recess appointment of Donald Berwick to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as an occasion to bash purportedly obstructionist congressional Republicans. Just one problem: the GOP didn't hold up the nomination.
In fact, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which would have had jurisdiction over Berwick's appointment, said he "requested that a hearing take place two weeks ago, before this recess." Presumably, Grassley wanted to shine light on some of Berwick's more controversial positions, such as support for the rationing of care and his advocacy of the use of the health care system to redistribute wealth.
Barack Obama's decision to make a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare has been vastly ignored by the mainstream news media, despite the fact Berwick has made controversial statements favoring rationing of medical care. As CNSNews.com's Terry Jeffrey reported Dr. Berwick, at a talk celebrating the 60th birthday of Great Britain's National Health Service, told the audience to be wary of returning to a free enterprise based system as he warned: "Please, don't put your faith in market forces," and urged them "I hope you will never, ever give up on what you have begun" and rallied the crowd: "I hope you realize and affirm how badly you need–how badly the world needs–an example at scale of a health care system that is universal, accessible, excellent and free at the point of care–a health system that, at its core is like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just." Berwick even ominously told his audience at Biotechnology Healthcare, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."
So given Berwick's rather outspoken faith in socialized medicine the news that Obama is planning to circumvent Congress with a recess appointment, to have him head Medicare, had to be big news, right? Well not according to NBC, CBS and ABC news, as there was no mention of the President's decision to make the recess appointment on Tuesday night's NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News or ABC's World News. In fact the embargo on the information continued through Wednesday morning as there were zero mentions on ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's The Early Show. Only NBC's Today show mentioned the news as Lester Holt, in an 8am news brief on the July 7 show, told viewers the following:
So you want to crawl under a high-powered lamp and bake your skin so that it has a brownish-orangish glow to it, even though there are potential health consequences. Well, the federal government is here to save you and, according to "CBS Evening News," that's not a bad thing.
The new federal 10 percent tax on indoor tanning has provoked odd alliances - such as when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told "Snooki" from MTV's "Jersey Shore"through Twitterhe would "never tax your tanning bed." But on the June 30 broadcast of "Evening News," CBS correspondent Michelle Miller made the case why the government should.
"Gisselle Colon wanted to be bronze and beautiful. She sunbathed and bought a membership to a tanning salon several years ago. Last month, things turned ugly," Miller said. "This is her scar. In May, Gisselle was diagnosed with melanoma, one of the deadliest and most preventable forms of cancer." (h/t @KenShepherd)
"[Carly Fiorina's] position on taxation would deprive women of childcare."
The Hyde Amendment "penalizes poor women terribly."
"You can't be a feminist who says other women can't" have an abortion.
These are just some of the outrageous statements left-wing feminist Gloria Steinem made during an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric on the latest installment of "@katiecouric," which was posted to the CBSNews.com Web site on June 23.
Couric's responses to the "godmother of the modern women's movement's" absurd claims ranged from silent agreement to reflexive endorsement.
Although the former Playboy Bunny railed against the legislation that banned federal funding of abortion, Couric responded approvingly – "right!" – and changed the subject to the hockey mom every liberal feminist loves to hate:
Normally, it would be a "dog-bites-man" story - overtly liberal media figures promoting a liberal, big government policy initiative. But when the left-leaning Project for Excellence in Journalism notices a trend, and the New York Times deems it worth reporting, something funny is going on.
On June 21, the Times' "Media Decoder" blog suggested that historians studying how ObamaCare passed "might assign a bit of the credit to liberal talk show hosts." The article cited a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (no right-wing outfit, that) showing that, during the lead-up to health care reform passage, "liberal hosts like Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz" spent nearly twice as much airtime on health care reform as did their conservative counterparts.
Left-wing hosts "spent 44 percent of their airtime talking about health care from June 2009 to March 2010, while conservative hosts spent 26 percent of their airtime on the subject," according to the article. Further, MSNBC gave it 32 percent of its airtime, while Fox gave it 20 percent.
On Friday, Investors Business Daily (IBD) reported on leaked government documents identifying what employer-provided health plans can and cannot do if they wish to retain their "grandfathered" status under the statist health care legislation commonly known as ObamaCare that became law on March 23. One of the items in the government document (83-page PDF) is the following table, which estimates the percentages of large and small employers who will choose to (or be financially forced to) "relinquish" (i.e., give up) their grandfathered status:
In ironic timing, Walecia Konrad at the New York Times, in a personal finance column that appeared in the paper's Saturday print edition and which was probably written shortly before IBD's report, inadvertently revealed that ObamaCare itself may be a reason why employer "relinquishments" over the next three years come in well above the mid-range estimates in the table:
In mid-July of last year, the good folks on the editorial board at Investors Business Daily made the following observations about the version of ObamaCare then under consideration by the House:
... Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.
... the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:
"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.
So ... Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.
The leaked Treasury draft documents (83-page PDF) referred to in an earlier post this morning about employer coverage (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) go beyond vindicating IBD by applying the same prohibitions to group coverage, as the following language found at Page 14 of the document shows:
Earlier this year, in his "Can we lose health coverage? Yes we can" column, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock made a point asserted in dozens if not hundreds of columns and reports during the hide-and-seek legistlative process that ultimately led to the passage of what is commonly known as ObamaCare: The President's core promise relating to the statist health care legislation that ultimately became law in March -- namely that "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what" -- could not and would not be kept.
In that column, Murdock quoted Cato Institute analyst Michael Cannon as follows:
"Obama's definition of 'meaningful' coverage could eliminate the health plans that now cover as many as half of the 159 million Americans with employer-sponsored insurance, plus more than half of the roughly 18 million Americans in the individual market. ... This could compel close to 90 million Americans to switch to more comprehensive health plans with higher premiums, whether they value the added coverage or not."
In a late Friday afternoon blog post followed by a fuller early evening report, David Hogberg and Sean Higgins at Investors Business Daily confirmed that Obama's never-credible core promise is on the brink of being shattered, and that the employer-related calculations by Cato's Cannon were essentially correct (graphically illustrated by IBD at the top right):
It's probably safe to assume that a lot of reporters in the mainstream media lean to the left side of the ideological spectrum. And it was seen throughout the health care debate over the past year and a half - that somehow we need to raise the rhetoric beyond hyperbole like death panels, etc.
"[T]he Post found itself in another potentially embarrassing and ethically compromised position on Wednesday after one of its most senior reporters abruptly canceled an appearance at her own book party, which was being sponsored by a public relations firm with strong ties to the Democratic Party," Peters wrote.
CNN tried to downplay poll results it released on Wednesday which indicated continuing opposition to ObamaCare, while emphasizing how the poll also found "growing support" for the President's call for increased federal regulation of the financial institutions. The network and its partners at Opinion Research also took two weeks to publish the results of only two questions from the poll.
Is it the government’s job to spread happiness? A former president of Harvard University, who was profiled on the June 2 PBS “NewsHour,” seems to think so. Derek Bok, author of The Politics of Happiness, believes the government should be in the business of manufacturing happiness.
“I think a government that tries, systematically, to relieve what causes lasting misery and emphasize what gives lasting happiness will eventually win the support of the people,” declared Bok.
In a telling review, Sara Robinson of the wildly liberal blog Firedoglake expressed adoration for the book:
It reads like a progressive wish list — a ratification of the kind of ‘for the common good’ policies we’ve always stood for. But Bok’s approach is academic and disinterested and acutely non-ideological: he reaches these conclusions only because the preponderance of data proves (once again!) that reality has a distinctly liberal bias.
Amidst the general public discontent with ObamaCare, the Associated Press is spinning that it is not repeal that is favored but merely a bunch of revisions. Left unsaid is if all these revisions are necessary, why did Congress pass such a flawed bill in the first place? Let the AP spin cycle begin:
WASHINGTON — Toss it or fix it?
Anxious backers of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law are starting to see a flicker of hope.
While polls show Americans remain sharply divided over the Democrats' landmark legislation, they aren't clamoring for its repeal.
Really? A few paragraphs later AP cites a poll contradicting its own statement about the public not favoring ObamaCare repeal:
Over the past two years, yours truly has noted how the economy in Oklahoma has with very little media attention outperformed most of the rest of the nation. The Sooner State's much lower unemployment rate, higher GDP growth, and higher personal income growth have "strangely" coincided with the passage of a strict illegal immigration law-enforcement measure in 2007.
Now there's another significant news item out of Oklahoma that the establishment press has also virtually ignored. In November, voters there are going to decide whether to opt out of the statist health care legislation passed by Congress in March, also known as ObamaCare, by passing a state constitutional amendment.
Oklahoma is not alone. Two larger states will also have state constitutional opt-outs on the November ballot.
Rush Limbaugh brought the Oklahoma news to his listeners' attention yesterday, and linked to this LifeSiteNews.com story. If that seems an odd choice, it's because press coverage in general has been either curt, dismissive, or non-existent.
Here are key paragraphs from Peter J. Smith's LifeSite report:
Be on the lookout for media coverage of the new Medicare brochure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out this glossy piece this week to more than 40 million Medicare recipients telling them that with ObamaCare, everything is dandy!
In fact, the CMS mail piece - which likely cost $8 million at the least - wildly exaggerates claims of patient security and ignores what CMS itself has declared to be true about ObamaCare.
The mailer gushes that "Medicare is strong and solvent" and that beneficiaries will see "better access to care."
"This brochure provides you with accurate information about the new services and benefits to help you and your family now and in the future," it says.
Say something quasi-outrageous about a Democratic public official and it gets wall-to-wall coverage on MSNBC - just ask Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. But go on misogynistic tirade about a Republican public official and no one notices.
"You know Michelle Bachmann, this fruitcake from - no, that gives fruitcakes a bad name - this half-ass, this half-wit; this jerk-ward from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann; The Minnesota Independent has found that Bachmann and Associates Inc., a Christian mental-health clinic, founded and run by her husband Marcus Bachmann, has taken in nearly $30,000 in funding from the Minnesota state government since 2007. Now this is the same Bachmann screwball who has been screeching about any form of public health insurance plans - calling such ideas socialized medicine, except when it's her turn to step up to the trough."