ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both picked up the Wall Street Journal's Monday revelation about the HealthCare.gov website – that "fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week".
CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on the "newest blow to ObamaCare – how the White House enrollment expectations could be off by 80 percent." On GMA, Jonathan Karl underlined that this figure is "far short" of the Obama administration's target of 500,000 enrollees. However, NBC's Today ignored this development. Instead, the morning show devoted an entire segment to trying to get Vice President Joe Biden to be a co-host. [MP3 audio of the CBS report is available here; video below the jump]
ObamaCare boosters in Colorado are treating young women "cheap sluts who don’t care about their health or well being other than getting cheap birth control pills to have sex with strange men," complains Washington Times opinion writer Emily Miller in a November 12 post at the newspaper's website.
"The latest marketing campaign implies that young women would only be interested in Colorado's government-run health care exchange if they get coverage for birth control pills to have sex with strange men," Miller noted, going on to describe what she considers the "most offensive ad" [see below page break for illustration] which...:
Apparently appalled that President Obama clearly needs outside help to come to the realization that something must be done to fix the mess resulting from his "keep your plan" guarantee, Josh Gerstein at the Politico opened a Monday afternoon report by claiming that "President Bill Clinton — the man President Barack Obama once dubbed his 'Secretary of Explaining Stuff' — once again has some explaining of his own to do with the Obama White House."
Hmm. It would appear that Obama has some fixing to do, and may not have been interested in doing anything to genuinely address the mess he, Kathleen Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act, and thousands of pages of restrictive regulations have wrought. Excerpts from Gerstein's grievous report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
MSNBC’s Morning Joe sidekick Mika Brzezinski is getting desperate for ObamaCare to succeed, to the point of threatening to jump off of, well, something. On Tuesday’s show, she exploded at the GOP for not falling in line behind the health care law. “[E]very step of the way – every step of the way – the Republicans have tried to undermine this from top to bottom and if anything they probably were part of the problem," she huffed.
Recurring Morning Joe contributor Jon Meacham agreed with Brzezinski’s sentiment. He vented his own exasperation in a forceful way: “That's absolutely true, which makes it even more important to make the damn thing work.” [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
The broadcast networks have aired more than a few critical stories about the ObamaCare rollout -- from "glitches" with the HealthCare.gov website to the millions of individuals who are losing their health insurance in spite of the President's oft-repeated promise to the contrary (a lie that NBC's Chuck Todd naively argued was not "intentional.")
But an exchange on Monday night's The Kudlow Report on CNBC included evidence the troubles are much deeper than the pro-Obama media have generally acknowledged.
Sharyl Attkisson revealed on Monday's CBS Evening News that the Obama administration had prior knowledge of HealthCare.gov's numerous security flaws, but went ahead anyway with its October 1, 2013 launch. Attkisson spotlighted a government memo that outlined "important security risks discovered in the insurance system....The memo said, 'The threat and risk potential to the system is limitless'."
The correspondent also obtained a partial transcript of a closed-door congressional hearing, where HealthCare.gov's project manager claimed that he was unaware of this memo, and that he "testified he'd been told the opposite" about the website's security risks. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Another MSNBC host demanded that conservatives apologize to the President for the failure for ObamaCare – not the other way around. Ed Schultz on Monday fumed, "The apology should be coming from the conservatives. The conservatives should be apologizing for having no plan." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Bypassing the issue of the President's untrue statement– that if Americans like their health insurance, they can keep it– Schultz attacked, "They [conservatives] should be apologizing to the 50 million Americans who have been without insurance because, damn it, they've been sick!"
UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal "wonder(s) if the Times intended the article's publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics' expense." Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.
So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled "Daring to Complain About Obamacare," the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama's "signature achievement." Well, guess what? Gottlieb's the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she'll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):
The Obama administration exempted the federal exchanges and subsidies in ObamaCare from federal health laws against kickbacks, fraud, and bribery, the New York Timesreported last week. CNN has ignored this story, however.
The Times stated: "The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs." Commentary magazine noted that "it encourages precisely the kickback schemes this statute was put in place to prevent."
The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare's contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.
So what explains the fact that a search on "Korte" at the Associated Press's national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google Newsin a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That's easy. It didn't go the "right" way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from Joe Palazzolo's coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett emphasized the Obama administration was "desperate" to reverse the debacle over its so-called Affordable Care Act, twice asserting the executive branch was trying to "end the ObamaCare blues". Garrett also pointed out that "the White House has lowered expectations – both politically and mathematically – about as low as humanly possible" regarding ObamaCare enrollment numbers.
However, unlike his colleague Jan Crawford, the correspondent failed to explicitly point out how millions of Americans are losing their current health care coverage due to the controversial law. Instead, Garrett played up the larger expense of the new ObamaCare-friendly plans: [audio available here; video below the jump]
According to MSNBC's Michael Smerconish, it's Barack Obama who is owed the "real apology" for the disastrous rollout of the health care law. Filling in for Chris Matthews, the Hardball guest host huffed, "The facts are that many of the same people that feel betrayed now will be thanking the President later." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Lecturing the 52 million Americans who have lost their insurance, Smerconish added, "These are people in so-called junk plans that could bankrupt them and their families if they ever got sick." Displaying MSNBC logic, the host identified who should actually be asking for forgiveness on ObamaCare: "As Republicans revel in the President's comments, we should ask who should offer the real apology here?"
Of all the soft-cushion drubbings Barack Obama has taken at the hands of once (and future) cheerleaders, none is as silly as an op-ed by Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The piece is titled “Obama will have to take his lumps,” but the context suggests Tucker is using the metaphor in the sense of “one lump or two?”
Her argument, if it can be rightly called that, might be encapsulated as “Sure, Obama lied, but only after those conniving Republicans sabotaged his undeniably excellent health care reform law, thereby forcing his hand.”
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that President Obama "apologized" for ObamaCare failures, "not only the issues with the website, but broken promises as well." Turning to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lauer hoped Obama's vague statement of regret was the end of the story: "Did he say what he had to say?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Palin shot down Lauer's assertion that the President had taken responsibility for the disastrous health care rollout: "What apology? What apology? He kind of acknowledged a bit that there is a broken website. The broken website is the least of America's worries. This broken website, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration – takeover of 1/6 of our economy and this socialized medicine that's being crammed down our throat, that's what's broken."
Saturday afternoon, Politico's Jason Millman, in an item incredibly headlined "Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language," reported that "The Obama administration has updated a White House website that says its health care law allows people to keep their plans if they like them — but the website still maintains the language that Obamacare opponents have aggressively attacked the past few weeks."
No, Jason. The news is that the website still "maintains the language" which has been indisputably proven false by the millions of policy cancellations reported during the past several weeks. The real news has nothing to do with whether or not opponents "have aggressively attacked" it. Exhibiting deep denial equal to that of the White House, Millman did not acknowledge that the "you can keep you plan" statement is and has been false anywhere in his report. A screen grab of the language as it currently appears, and which Millman reports the administration now considers satisfactory, is after the jump (click on the graphic to open a larger version of it in a separate window or tab):
If you are a health policy reporter for the Washington Post and take upon yourself the role of cheerleader for Obamacare, the task can be quite challenging. Therefore one must admire the effort that Sarah Kliff displays into putting a positive spin on this bit of pathetically sad news:
The District of Columbia's insurance marketplace has enrolled exactly five people in health plans, according to documents released by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday.
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):
Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"
Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:
In a Thursday evening writeup (HT Twitchy) which appeared on Page A14 in its Friday morning print edition, Michael D. Shear at the New York Times reported on President Barack Obama's attempt to clean up the four-year mess he made (from June 6, 2009 through September 26, 2013) in over three dozen statements and published items. The mess was Obama's guarantee — not a promise, a guarantee — that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
Despite the fact that Obama's serially made guarantee doesn't square with what has really happened, and that Obama and his administration have known for over three years that the millions of individual plan cancellations which have occurred would indeed occur, Shear blandly accepted Obama's claim that "Mr. Obama said he had not purposely misled anyone." He also accepted an almost definitely untrue contention Obama made as an indisputable fact: "[He] (Obama) emphasized that most people who were forced off a current plan would be able to find new insurance that was cheaper and provided better coverage." People who have been able to do that and have said so publicly have thus far been very few and far between. Excerpts follow the jump.
Recently declared Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis had a really, really bad opening round of campaign appearances. Naturally, the national press, which swooned over the Fort Worth Democrat's ultimately failed filibuster against a common-sense pro-life law in the Lone Star State's legislature, pretended not to notice.
They had local help. On Wednesday, At The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, in an item mirrored at the Brownsville Herald, "reporter" Ty Johnson opened with six paragraphs of fanboy fawning about Davis's Tuesday campaign appearance in Brownville, and then buried Davis's galling attempt to portray herself as "pro-life" in Paragraph 23. Also, stay tuned until the final segment of this post for how a Davis press aide tried to bully a local paper into retracting a headline.
We here at NewsBusters usually pay no mind to Tom Toles, the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post. He's paid to render his opinion through his work -- although the quality of both his cartooning the cleverness of his observations are, to be charitable, debatable -- so it takes something really egregious to get on our radar.
That happened today when Mr. Toles compared Republican critics of ObamaCare with segregationist Democrat George Wallace, depicting the iconic Republican elephant mascot standing in a doorway marked "health care door" and proclaiming [see cartoon below the page break]:
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
On Thursday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Joy Reid condescended to people angry about their health insurance policies being cancelled as she fretted that President Obama may have to "placate" the "three to five percent" of people who like having "junk" insurance.
During a discussion of President Obama's interview with NBC's Chuck Todd in which ObamaCare failures were discussed, Reid began her analysis:
While NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did question President Obama on the failed ObamaCare rollout during an exclusive interview on Thursday, the network political director tried to downplay the notion that the commander-in-chief actively lied in promoting the health care law: "'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.' You said it a lot during the run-up. At this point, though, it's obviously something – a promise that has not been able to be kept....What happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his next question, Todd came close to accusing Obama of deception, but quickly equivocated: "Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology for misleading them? Even if you didn't intentionally do it, but at this point, they feel misled. And you've seen the anger that's out there."
ABC and CBS on Thursday and Friday reacted to Barack Obama's health care apology by acknowledging his "broken promise." At the same time, both networks attempted to spin the NBC interview with qualifiers on the millions of Americans who will be losing their health insurance. After explaining what the President originally insisted and then showing his apology, CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley justified, "The plans are being canceled because they don't meet the minimum standards of the President's health insurance law. That's something that was always in the legislation." [See a video montage of ABC and CBS below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos opened the program on Friday by announcing, "Broken promise. The President says he's sorry." Jon Karl noted that the apology is "for the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, despite [Obama's] repeated promise over and over again that nobody would lose their insurance." However, he then shifted into spin mode.
You would think that economic forecasters, who have been obsessing over the impact on economic growth of October's 17 percent partial government shutdown might have noticed that a lot of people have all of a sudden learned that they're about to experience a major cut in their take-home pay. You would be wrong.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans had received health insurance cancellation notices by September 30, and had also learned that they will be on the hook starting next year for hundreds of dollars in premium increases on the Obamacare exchanges. It should be obvious that most affected people would have started spending less on other items virtually immediately, and that they will continue to be in major cutback mode indefinitely. But I didn't find anyone in the establishment press who mentioned it. Nor did I find anyone who noted that the millions of Americans facing higher health insurance premiums are also going to materially impact fourth quarter growth and Christmas shopping season results.
Journalist George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday praised the campaign commercial of New York City's very liberal mayor-elect as "the most effective political ad I've ever seen." Touting a spot that featured the son of Bill de Blasio, Stephanopoulos and World News anchor Diane Sawyer enthused over its brilliance.
The former Democratic operative for Bill Clinton described the commercial as "narrated by his son Dante who had this dramatic Afro." Stephanopoulos rhapsodized, " I think it's the most effective political ad I've ever seen." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer gushed, "Gangbusters. Modern American family there."
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, CNN's Carol Costello lectured Republicans to stop grilling HHS Secretary Sebelius over ObamaCare and "sit down with Democrats to come up with some solutions."
"What in your mind is the point of this? Haven't we heard enough from Kathleen Sebelius?" Costello huffed to GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn as Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee. Costello told her that "Americans want solutions" over more hearings. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
MSNBC analyst Joy Reid is one of those liberal media figures who still refuses to say that President Obama lied about Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans under ObamaCare. On Tuesday night, Reid made a guest appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to discuss the health care law. Hewitt confronted Reid with a clip of Obama’s recent whitewashing: “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
Rather than confess that Obama lied, Reid undertook a defense of the president using as an analogy DDT, a popular pesticide that was banned in 1972. She explained, “Now had the government in 1972 said, ‘Listen, if you love your pesticide, you can keep it,’ it would have been wrong because the truth is if your pesticide contained DDT, it was now illegal. But you’d have to buy a totally different pesticide and use that on your garden.”