It's difficult to be a good economist and simultaneously be perceived as compassionate. To be a good economist, one has to deal with reality. To appear compassionate, often one has to avoid unpleasant questions, use "caring" terminology and view reality as optional.
Affordable housing and health care costs are terms with considerable emotional appeal that politicians exploit but have absolutely no useful meaning or analytical worth. For example, can anyone tell me in actual dollars and cents the price of an affordable car, house or myomectomy? It's probably more pleasant to pretend that there is universal agreement about what is or is not affordable.
It's not every day that the ombudsman for one of the nation's elite newspapers puts, front and center, his publication's angst about publishing information counter to the Obama administration's spin, but there it is, today, in the Washington Post.
When I saw the headline at last night dispatch from the Associated Press's Charles Babington on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his campaign ("Romney rebuts claims that he, GOP are anti-women") I thought that the Obama administration and Babington's employer, also known as the Administration's Press, might finally be throwing the inane "war on women" meme into the dustbin. After the Hilary Rosen disaster of the past 36 hours, that would seem wise.
The headline's reference to rebuttal leads one to believe that Romney had successfully "refute(d) by evidence or argument" the utter garbage the left's "war on women" accusation against Republicans and conservatives has always been. I should have known better. The headline doesn't reflect the underlying article at all, leading one to hope that most readers stop right there. Babington's report is so disgracefully over-the-top it deserves its own wing in the Journalism Hall of Shame (bolds and numbered tags, which cover only a portion of the journalistic offenses committed in Babington's full write-up, are mine):
On March 1, 2011, 14 year-old Makayla Norman of Dayton died of neglect at the hands of adults (her mother and three others) who were responsible for her care and safety. Makayla weighed 28 pounds when she died, and was found "covered in bedsores, living in filth and starved to the point the she looked more like a skeleton than a teenager." On Friday, her mother pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. The cases of the three other adults go to trial on April 16.
In January, an investigative report by Cox Newspapers Dayton-area staff writers Josh Sweigart and Doug Page identified several parties who could and should have prevented the neglect in the first place, or detected it while in progress: "the home care agency responsible for feeding her"; "an extensive bureaucracy where officials say fraud is a massive and growing problem"; her case manager (among those indicted), who "worked for CareStar of Ohio"; and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Bizarrely, two months later, while barely mentioning any of the aforementioned parties in their report, Mary McCarty and Margo Kissell at the Dayton Daily News, using questionable methods and verbiage (to be noted later), decided that one other element in Makayla's life should be nominated to receive part of the blame -- homeschooling:
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 2/3rds of Americans want at least a part of the ObamaCare overhaul tossed by the Supreme Court when it decides HHS v. Florida in June. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in the poll want the entire law thrown out while 29 percent say just a part of it being thrown out would suffice.
Yet rather than lead with these numbers in their story today, Washington Post reporters Robert Barnes and Scott Clement chose a question from the April 5-8 poll that shows 50 percent of Americans think the Court "will rule on the health-care reform case mainly on the basis... of their partisan political views."
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar is floating the notion (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) that members of the Supreme Court who seem inclined to strike down ObamaCare might do so without fully understanding it. Translation: Those dummies.
The AP reporter makes a claim which reads like a desperate talking point from Team Obama (and maybe it is). The essence of the "argument" is that if you have a required minimum plan design which includes many items individuals and families would never use and would never buy if left to their own devices, and you force them to purchase a health insurance policy with that design (or possibly better), it really isn't a bad thing any more if you allow some choice in copays and deductibles.
NBC and CBS completely skipped a new report indicating that President Obama's health care law will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday allowed a mere 17 seconds to the revelation that the law could balloon the deficit by $340 billion.
News reader Josh Elliott swiftly explained, "And President Obama's health care law could up costing a lot more than previously expected, at least according to one new study. It found that the law could add some $340 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade." However, he also parroted talking points that, according to the White House, the study was simply "new math." This was the only mention on GMA. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning ignored the story.
The fact that CNN's senior legal analyst squared off against a conservative legal scholar should be telling for the network's liberal bias. On Thursday night's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin was confronted by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice over his defense of President Obama's comments on a pending Supreme Court case.
"Jeff, do you know another President of the United States during a case that was argued and pending that made a statement about how the outcome of the case can be and talking about unelected judges?" Sekulow grilled Toobin. "And calling someone that would strike the law as unconstitutional 'judicial activist'?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's senior legal analyst said on Thursday's Starting Point that "some of these Republican judges are just deranged by hatred of the President." Jeffrey Toobin was railing against the three-judge panel on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court that had made the Justice Department write a three page memo about the Obama administration's take on judicial review.
Toobin called the act a "disgrace." However, though President Obama had said the Supreme Court overturning his health care law would be "unprecedented" and "judicial activism," Toobin defended his remarks as "entirely appropriate." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The reason tea partiers carried signs saying "Read the Constitution!" was that we were hoping people would read the Constitution.
Alas, we still have Rick Santorum saying Obamacare is the same as what he calls "Romneycare"; the otherwise brilliant Mickey Kaus sniffing that if states can mandate insurance purchases, then we're "not talking about some basic individual liberty to not purchase stuff" (no, just the nation's founding document, which protects "basic individual liberties" by putting constraints on Congress); and the former law professor, Barack Obama, alleging that a "good example" of judicial activism would be the Supreme Court (in his words, "a group of people") overturning "a duly constituted and passed law."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose rolled over and deferred to chief Obama flack David Axelrod and his talking points defending the President's Monday rant against the Supreme Court and its deliberation on his health care law, along with its attacks on Mitt Romney. Rose tossed softball questions at Axelrod, such as, "Tell me what he [Obama] is saying when he talks about judicial activism."
The anchor even boosted Hillary Clinton as a possible 2016 presidential candidate for Democrats during his interview with the Obama aide: "[Nancy Pelosi] said her candidate is Hillary Clinton. She hopes Hillary Clinton will run....Do you expect that she'll be a nominee in- will be a candidate for president in 2016?" [audio available here; video clips below the jump]
"President Obama used conservative arguments against judicial activism to urge justices to uphold the law," a teaser headline on the bottom of today's Washington Post front page notes, directing readers to page A4 for the story by staffer David Nakamura.
Nakamura dutifully opened his story noting that Obama said in a Rose Garden press conference yesterday that if the Court overturns ObamaCare in the HHS v. Florida case, that it would "amount to an 'unprecedented, extraordinary step' of judicial activism." Yet nowhere in the 18-paragraph story did Nakamura lay out exactly how Obama's argument was conservative in nature nor did he cite a single conservative constitutional or legal expert to agree with Obama.
On Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight, as he interviewed Rick Santorum, CNN host Morgan suggested that America needs more gun control, and pressed the GOP candidate on whether it is "caring" for him, "as a Christian," to undo ObamaCare if elected President. (Video below)
New York Times reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas feared for the consequences of a world without Obama-care on Saturday's front page: "A Health Law At Risk Gives Insurers Pause." The Times quoted nine people, from insurance executives to liberal activists, who suggested that a defeat for Obama-care at the Supreme Court would be harmful for U.S. health care, compared to only one who welcomed the prospect, treating that side as a vast minority, even though 26 states have sued to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. (Another quote was deemed neutral.)
Reeling from the possibility the Supreme Court might undermine ObamaCare, two members in good standing of the liberal media elite, both with the New York Times, took to the Sunday shows to lament the lack of public recognition for the great benefits of the law. “On health care,” columnist Tom Friedman rationalized on NBC’s Meet the Press, “that’s partly a failure of communication.”
A befuddled Friedman advanced the liberal narrative that blames communication, not facts, as he wondered: “How do you go a year and a half where so many Americans don’t even understand the benefits of this legislation when they apply to them? And that gets to this administration, which I think has been abysmal at communicating some of its most important agenda items.”
Today's starter topic: While the verdict of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of President Obama's signature healthcare law won't likely be known by most people until the end of June, the justices on the court very likely will know its fate later today when they meet to cast their first informal votes on the case.
How detached is Chris Matthews from the rest of the country? The Hardball host on Thursday appeared bewildered as he conceded to being "totally unprepared" for the prospect that Obamacare might be "ripped off the books." Talking to Chuck Todd, Matthews asked his fellow MSNBC colleague if he would be "surprised" to see the Supreme Court strike down the health care law.
Matthews then confessed, "I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked." The anchor insisted that "intellectually," he knew it could be a problem, but "I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his major achievement just ripped off the books." He never heard it discussed? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After three days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Obamcare, liberals seem genuinely stunned that Obamacare has a good chance of going down in flames. They never saw it coming.
Consider this exchange between CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and anchor Wolf Blitzer on the first day of the argument which focused on the individual mandate, provision of Obamacare which forces all Americans to purchase medical insurance or procure it via their employers:
CNN's own legal analyst described Wednesday morning's Supreme Court hearing on ObamaCare as a "trainwreck" for the Obama administration and added "it may also be a plane wreck" – but prime-time hosts Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan made only one brief mention between them of the bill's rough morning in court, during Wednesday night's prime-time coverage.
In fact, during Tuesday and Wednesday night's newscasts, Morgan and Cooper made only two brief mentions of the hearings -- while the rest of CNN's afternoon coverage on those days heavily discussed the Court's hearings on ObamaCare.
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR's pro-ObamaCare shill Julie Rovner predictably lined up backers of the contested law. Rover again cited the Kaiser Family Foundation and failed to mention their liberal leanings. She also turned to a former Clinton administration official, without identifying her as such, and played five total clips from liberals, versus only two from a conservative.
The correspondent hyped the "the potential impact on the relationship between the federal government and the states" if the Supreme Court struck down the controversial legislation, and that "virtually any program in which the federal government gives money to the states with conditions attached" could be at risk.
Did CNN's Jeffrey Toobin just hint at his liberal bias? Toobin told Politico "I'm not exactly famous for my hatred of the Obama administration," and added that "If you're [sic] read my books, you know – I don't have a primetime spot on Fox News."
CNN's senior legal analyst had made headlines for his dire analysis of ObamaCare's chances in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He was explaining to Politico's Dylan Byers that his criticism of the Obama administration's defense of the bill was probably all the more noteworthy because he himself is not a big critic of Obama.
In a piece of propaganda that would make Cuba's Castro regime proud, on her Tuesday MSNBC program, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell cheered the communist state's "highly regarded" health care system, "and especially one of Fidel Castro's signature projects, which is training doctors, doctors who then provide free medical care throughout Latin America."
Mitchell proclaimed: "As the U.S. debates health care....We went back to the Latin American medical school here to talk to American medical students about what they're learning about medicine, about Cuba, and about themselves." That soon became disturbingly apparent as student Cynthia Aguilera gushed: "...after graduating with no debt, no worries about paying off loans and having to get a high-paying job, we can return to our communities [in the U.S.] and work in them and try to uplift them the same way that Cuba uplifted us."
Barack Obama's health care law ran into a legal buzz saw at the Supreme Court, Tuesday. So, how did the network morning shows on Wednesday cover the "historic" case? They mostly ignored it. Over two hours, ABC's Good Morning America allowed just two minutes.
Reporter Jon Karl hyped an Obamacare loss as win-win for the President. He insisted it would be a "rallying cry for liberals" and that "it would also take away an issue for Republicans." There's no down side to having one's biggest legislative accomplishment eviscerated? [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Something tells me this isn't an argument that Supreme Court justices will hear this week.
Unhinged MSNBC circus clown Ed Schultz continues to unintentionally help conservatives, making a claim to a caller on his radio show Monday that was inane even by the epic standards for inanity established by Schultz. (audio clip after page break)
Earlier this week NBC News did a segment questioning whether or not former Vice President Dick Cheney deserved his recent heart transplant. Others in the media, including Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, have jumped on the chance to poke a jab or two at the former Vice President and his surgery.
A heart transplant is a serious subject, affecting over 5,000 patients who receive transplants worldwide each year. It's certainly not a laughing matter to patients who receive them or their friends and loved ones. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Charlie Rose boosted New York Times's staff "conservative" David Brooks for his endorsement of the individual mandate on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, but Senator Tom Coburn was having none of it. Rose quoted from Brooks, whom he labeled a "a Hamiltonian, and someone...you share views with." Coburn slapped down the pro-ObamaCare argument: "We just don't have the authority to tell people to do that" [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
The Oklahoma Republican continued, in part, that "Brooks...[is] a Hamiltonian. I'm not. I'm a Madisonian, and that says, as government grows, freedom diminishes, and what we've seen is our freedom diminished." The anchor followed up by spotlighting ObamaCare benefits: "So, therefore, you don't...support the requirement for pre-existing conditions, nor the fact that children, up until the age of 26, will come under their parents' plan?"
For the second day in a row, CNN appealed to emotion and aired the story of an innocent chid that made the case for ObamaCare. On Tuesday morning they featured a heartrending account of an epileptic three year-old girl who will soon reach her lifetime benefit limits on health insurance – if the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare.
CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen made the Court's decision as personal as possible, even though the Court is simply determining the constitutionality of the bill. "These nine Supreme Court justices will forever affect the life of 3-year-old Violet McManus," she gravely began. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
[UPDATED with transcript and audio.] Because the left so utterly dominates America's biggest media outlets, part of being a liberal journalist oftentimes involves being utterly ignorant of conservative viewpoints. Since so many journalists, as former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg has said repeatedly, don't really know people who are center-right, they generally tend to have very truncated views of what conservatives think, in part because they have no interest in seeking them out.
That's true not just in political journalism but also legal journalism as well and nowhere has this become more apparent than in the confident predictions that the Supreme Court will uphold Obamacare's "individual mandate" requirement to purchase health insurance. CNN's Jeff Toobin was one such confident liberal who believed the court would rule in its favor. After actually hearing the judges today, though, Toobin has reversed his opinion, calling the Obama position a "train wreck." Video below the fold. [MP3 audio here.]
Apparently most reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Propagandists, lost the memo that Reuters got ("Obama Campaign: Obamacare Not a Bad Word After All"). Either that, or they haven't been paying attention their Obama For America emails.
OFA and President Obama himself both say it's now okay to call the fraudulently named Affordable Care Act which became law in March 2010 "ObamaCare"; the only matter in dispute is whether one should capitalize the "c." Jeff Mason at Reuters, which was already a bit late with its own report, tried to explain it all Monday evening, but "somehow" forgot what may be the most obvious motivation, namely that the "affordable" part of the original bill's title has been proven to be anything but:
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow spun the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare as being a judgment of how partisan the high court has become: "...this may as much be a referendum on the Supreme Court and whether or not the Roberts court is so conservatively politicized that it will make a decision to hurt the President, rather than sticking closely to precedent here."
Maddow touted a recent Bloomberg poll, "that 75% of people think that the Supreme Court will decide based on their political beliefs, not on the law." She conveniently left out the results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll that showed only 36% of Americans approve of ObamaCare, while 47% disapprove. A recent Rasmussen poll showed 56% favoring repeal of the law.