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.”
After Vice President Joe Biden admitted on Wednesday that the goal of getting 7 million people signed up for ObamaCare by March 31 would not happen, only Thursday's CBS This Morning made any mention of it, and then only giving the news a mere 29 seconds. Neither NBC nor ABC bothered to cover the acknowledgment of failure. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose reported: "This morning the Obama administration is lowering expectations for the Affordable Care Act. In Minneapolis, Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday the goal of signing up 7 million Americans will likely fall short....Biden blames the troubled rollout of the health care website." The headline on screen read: "Short of Goal; Biden: Health Care Sign-Ups May Not Meet Target."
In the last couple of weeks ObamaCare has been dealt two serious setbacks: yet another delay in the employer mandate, and a devastating CBO report that claimed it will cost the equivalent of two million jobs. However, the reaction of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network reporters to these latest ObamaCare failures has been to blow them off as just a little “hiccup.”
When the White House announced another delay in the enforcement of the employer mandate to buy health insurance, the networks couldn’t even cover the story for a full day. The first reports arrived on the February 10 evening news, with the final stories filed on the February 11 morning shows. In total the Big Three networks spent just 4 minutes and 26 seconds on the delay. ABC spent the least amount of time on the mandate extension (41 seconds) followed by NBC (53 seconds) with CBS (2 minutes, 53 seconds) devoting the most time to the topic. (videos after the jump)
You know this is the story the liberal media is dying to tell: Obamacare--The Triumphant Comeback! So like the dove returning to the Ark, there was the BBC's Katty Kay, guest-hosting today for Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe, first to proclaim the good news.
Based on the latest enrollment numbers, Kay enthused "amazing how quickly we are starting to see the Obamacare story change its tone." Really? Tell us, Katty: of the people who have enrolled in Obamacare, how many have actually paid their premiums? And what percentage were healthy young people, needed to avoid an actuarial disaster? Take your time; we'll wait. View the video after the jump.
Following President Obama's joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC to dismiss a question Obama received about the latest ObamaCare mandate delay: "Republicans are trying to paint a picture of, 'There they go again. He's changing the law'....I have a feeling this one is gonna fade a little bit. Health care not itself, but I don't think this employer mandate attack by the right has a lot of legs today." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's commentary was prompted by Andrea Mitchell Reports fill-in host Peter Alexander noting that Obama "had to deal with some of his domestic politics" during the diplomatic event. Todd dutifully parroted the President's spin on the issue: "...they believe that their decision on the employer mandate is much adieu about nothing. They believe this is a small thing. And you heard the President present it in the same terms as 'Hey, we've made exceptions for people on the individual mandate, this is all part of the implementation process.' He's trying to paint a picture of nothing to see here." Apparently Todd is ready to hang that picture above his mantle.
“Where is the mainstream media on this?” Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard pleaded on Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier in reference to President Obama’s latest decision to change the ObamaCare law. “Can you imagine if this were George W. Bush? I mean, we would be talking about a constitutional crisis, front page New York Times splashed above the fold, ‘George W. Bush: Dictator President.’ You’re seeing none of that.”
At 4:57 on Monday afternoon, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner hyped “Breaking news from the Treasury Department. The White House has announced a second delay to part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Details on that are next.” But the next “details” did not come for 12 and a half hours at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning during MSNBC’s Way Too Early broadcast.
In between, MSNBC ran 9 full stories on Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) and the “Bridgegate” scandal surrounding his administration. Rachel Maddow, devoted nearly half of her broadcast, 29 minutes to the Christie scandal. The rest of her primetime colleagues similarly couldn’t be bothered to inform their viewers of the latest ObamaCare delay, despite Wagner’s promise: “details on that are next.”
Between Monday's network evening newscasts and Tuesday's morning shows, NBC, ABC and CBS failed to provide a single full report on President Obama unilaterally issuing another ObamaCare mandate delay for businesses. In addition, only a single sentence on Tuesday's CBS This Morning described the controversial move as the President "rewriting the law."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, Natalie Morales offered a 29-second news brief in which she downplayed the development: "Well, another hiccup this morning on the ObamaCare front." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump] Later in the show, co-host Matt Lauer and weatherman Al Roker found time to air a 2-minute segment they did on unusual outfits at the Sochi Olympic games.
As I noted Monday night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, displayed rare candor when he opened his 8:28 p.m. report on the latest unilateral changes to Obamacare by describing their motivation as "Angling to avoid political peril." I wrote last night that "I’ll be surprised if it (the "political" characterization) survives revisions later this evening." Well, it didn't.
At the AP's national site, the 8:28 p.m. link now goes to Alonso-Zaldivar's 3:27 a.m. rendition (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes). Just in time for review by morning news show producers and editors, the new story scrubs away any hint of political thinking on the part of the administration itself, instead depositing it with Democrats trying to hold the Senate in this November's elections. A national site search on "angling" confirms the old story's non-presence. There is a politics-related quote in the revised piece — but of course, only from a Republican.
The opening of Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar's 8:28 p.m. report on President Obama's latest round of extra-legal, extra-constitutional manuevers relating to the Affordable Care Act — scratch that, it really isn't the Affordable Care Act as written any more; it really is "Obamacare," defined as "whatever Obama and his administration have done to the ACA as originally written" — is a keeper. That's why the report is also here for future reference.
Alonso-Zaldivar's first sentence tells you everything you need to know about the administration's management of Obamacare's implementation. As such, I'll be surprised if it survives revisions later this evening. It isn't about making sure Americans get quality health insurance. It isn't about first-rate care, or efficiency, or any other objective relating to a benefit the American people might see, touch, or feel. See the AP story's headline and first sentence after the jump:
AOL executive Tim Armstrong last week publicly worried about how ObamaCare is impacting his company, but only CBS highlighted this complaint. NBC, instead, focused solely on his "outrageous" comments about how seriously ill babies have impacted AOL's 401k plan. ObamaCare went unmentioned.
In a CNBC interview on Friday, Armstrong explained why the company would cut retirement benefits: "As a CEO and as a management team, we have to decide: Do we pass the $7.1 million of Obamacare cost to our employees? Or do we try to eat as much of that as possible and cut benefits?" On Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose wondered, "Are a lot of CEOs concerned about the cost of Obamacare? " Pollster Frank Lutz appeared and retorted, "Almost every one I deal with." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Leftist protesters trying to portray themselves as mainstream gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina yesterday to protest moves made by the Republican-dominated state government yesterday.
One of protesters' major objections is to a voter-identification law passed last year. That's more than a little ironic, because guess what organizers required march participants to have? That's right: photo identification. Though he waited 13 paragraphs to do so, Gary D. Robertson at the Associated Press, apparently aware that several prominent center-right Internet outlets had already noted the breathtaking hypocrisy (examples here, here, and here), actually told his readers about it; I could not find another establishment press outlet which did. However, Robertson, in classic AP style, cited a Republican critic instead of simply reporting the damning fact (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
President Obama has taken it upon himself to bypass Congress and issues numerous executive orders surrounding ObamaCare and immigration reform despite having questionable constitutional authority to do so. Despite the serious issues with President Obama’s continuous usurping of Congress, both Bob Schieffer and Jonathan Karl mocked GOP skepticism of President Obama on the Sunday shows.
On February 9th, Schieffer and Karl rushed to attack the GOP over immigration reform and for showing skepticism over President Obama’s unwillingness to be an honest broker on immigration reform. On ABC’s This Week, fill-in host Karl declared that, “Can we acknowledge that this excuse that the speaker used, it's the president and Republicans can't trust him. Can we acknowledge that was a pretty lame excuse?”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl, alongside Martha Raddatz, filled in for George Stephanopoulos as host of This Week on Sunday February 9 and used the opportunity to hit Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) from the left on a myriad of issues. As of late, the ABC reporter has been especially tough on the Obama White House, but seemed to relish the opportunity to use Democratic talking points to attack the GOP congressman on Sunday.
Following a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report which found that ObamaCare will discourage 2.5 million Americans from working in order to seek ObamaCare subsidies, Karl pressed Cole that despite the CBO report “being a gift to you guys but did you overplay it?”
Thursday's CNN Newsroom spotlighted how President Obama "called for promoting religious freedom – quote, 'a key part of U.S. foreign policy," at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, but glossed over his administration's controversial birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare, which is being challenged in an ongoing Supreme Court case. The cable network still stood out, however, as none of the Big Three networks aired reports on Obama's speech.
John King zeroed in on the President's "very moving tribute to the Americans held in prison in North Korea and in Iran because of their faith-based beliefs." Instead of mentioning the HHS mandate, anchor Carol Costello played up the Democrat's encounter with a conservative politician as a supposed glimmer of hope for bipartisanship: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In yet another bizarre and extra-constitutional twist in the saga of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a clearly sympathetic Associated Press — that's why I call it the Administration's Press — is reporting that the Obama administration is considering a three-year delay in demanding that health insurance companies drop so-called "substandard" or "junk" individual policies.
But that's not how the AP's Tom Murphy is framing the clearly leaked proposed move. You won't find the word "delay" in his entire story, which is a why a friend of mine who tried to find something about it online and couldn't thought that only Fox News was reporting it. No-no-no. The AP only describes the move as an "extension" which would take the pesky problem of arbitrarily cancelled individual policies off the table until — imagine that — after the 2016 elections (HT American Thinker via Free Republic; bolds are mine):
No matter how bleak things get for ObamaCare, no matter how bad the law looks to the public, you can rest assured that someone at MSNBC will always be ready and willing to make excuses for the law, even speaking of necessary "sacrifices" to be made as a "nation" for the greater good of "universal health care."
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Mark Halperin of Time magazine assumed the role of ObamaCare spinmeister. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Even the liberal hosts of The View seemed to understand just what a PR nightmare the President is facing after a Congressional Budget Office report declared that ObamaCare will likely cost the U.S. 2.3 million jobs. A graphic for the "hot topics" segment on Wednesday screamed, "The end of ObamaCare?' Whoopi Goldberg hyped, "There's a new bombshell, a new congressional report is landing right on top of ObamaCare." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Unsurprisingly, veteran journalist Barbara Walters attempted to defend Obama, citing presidents such as Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter who previously attempted universal health care. Walters sputtered, "This is -- I don't know what -- the mountain that they can't climb and reach the top. Every president has tried." But it was a non-political guest host who dismissed Walters's liberal defense.
Following White House talking points to the letter on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd bemoaned how "Republicans immediately seized on" the Congressional Budget Office report on ObamaCare costing the economy over 2 million jobs "and spun it the way they want to spin it." He fretted that Democrats would have a tough time defending ObamaCare "in the world of sound bites and 30-second TV ads." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin minutes later, Todd complained: "On health care, a lot of your Republican friends are taking it [the CBO report] and calling it – it is an unfair statement to – they should not be saying this is costing 2 million jobs, is that right?"
Give Sam Stein credit for being an honest liberal. Confronted with the CBO's findings about the disastrous job-killing effects of Obamacare, Stein didn't try to spin the unspinnable.
On today's Morning Joe, Donnie Deutsch invited Stein to play a game of Mad Men. Deutsch first sketched out a 30-second ad making the case against Obamacare--that contrary to what President Obama had said, you can't choose your provider and the program costs the country two million jobs. Deutsch then invited Stein to give the 30-second ad in response. Said Stein, much to the amusement of the panel: "The 30-second response is something like: 'Please change the subject to something else.' What do you want me to say?" View the video after the jump.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer pelted Sen. Rand Paul with pro-ObamaCare talking points on Tuesday's The Situation Room, going so far as to list what he thought were the "all the positive features" of the law.
"But you like the fact that people can stay on their parents' health insurance programs until they reach the age of 26. That you don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions any longer. You can change your jobs, still get health insurance. You like all the positive features of the Affordable Care Act?" Blitzer pressed the senator. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Over at the Associated Press's national site, there's a story about how "Some of the largest public labor unions in Illinois filed a long-awaited lawsuit Tuesday challenging the state's new pension reform law."
Given that it involves hundreds of thousands of workers, it's probably fair to say that the news deserves national attention. But how about another story which involves over 800,000 union members who are deeply dissatisfied with Obamacare? Searches at AP on Unite Here and LUINA, the two unions involved, come up empty and with nothingrelevant, respectively.
On January 20, we are told by "goptvclips," Seattle TV Station King 5 aired a short segment on how children "are being denied specialty treatment by insurance providers on the Washington Health Benefits Network." To be clear, the video's conclusion indicates that "Children's went ahead and treated" some but apparently far from all of the affected children, but, obviously "they can't afford to keep doing it that way."
This story and likely many other stories like it are not national news. As will be seen later, it appears to not even be news at the station which originally presented the story. Situations like this should raise concerns that there is a determined effort on the part of the nation's establishment press to ignore bad-news stories relating to Obamacare. One suspects that there are similar stories waiting to be told all over the country. The video as carried at "goptvclips" and a transcript follow the jump.
I suspect that more than a few readers have noticed, with likely little surprise, that there hasn't been a lot of national establishment press attention paid to how Obamacare has been working out in the real world since it officially went into effect on January 1.
Non-existent HealthCare.gov security? Who cares? Patients turned away from emergency rooms voluntarily (because they don't want to risk huge uncovered costs they will have to pay out-of-pocket) or from medical providers involuntarily (because they don't know whether a particular patient is or isn't covered)? You might find coverage of that in the British wing of the Washington press corps, and that's about it. Meanwhile, scenarios such as the one you will see play out in the local TV news report out of Pittsburgh after the jump are happening all over the country, and it's not pretty (direct YouTube; HT Personal Liberty Digest):
NPR's resident ObamaCare booster, Julie Rovner, lionized outgoing liberal Congressman Henry Waxman on Friday's Morning Edition. Rovner trumpeted how "during his 40 years in the House, he focused on passing legislation – lots of legislation – the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Orphan Drug Act, nutrition labels, food safety, and the Affordable Care Act. Waxman played a major role in all of them."
The correspondent left out any conservative/Republican criticism of the California representative, and let a fellow Democratic member of Congress and two liberal talking heads laud the retiring politician, with one heralding him as the Ted Kennedy of the House. She did include two clips from Orrin Hatch, but the Utah Republican senator heaped praise on Rep. Waxman. Rovner also gave the congressman a chance to take a parting shot at the Tea Party-friendly caucus in Congress:
Wade Goodwyn, who hyped Wendy Davis's pro-abortion filibuster as a "ray of light" for Texas Democrats, slanted toward the left in a Tuesday item on NPR.org about the controversy surrounding Marlise Munoz and her unborn baby. Goodwyn asserted that the hospital, which sought to keep Munoz on life support until the baby could be born, was in the wrong: "The hospital's defense of its conduct was a tortured interpretation of the Texas Advance Directives Act."
The journalist, who once worked as a left-wing community organizer, also likened the baby, who was injured when Munoz suffered her life-ending malady, to a mere body part:
We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of "quirks," "oddities" and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.
The word is "tricky." In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren't allowed onto their parents' Obamacare plan, but they also aren't eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: "HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS." Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what's really going on thanks to their replacement headline: "Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans." Content excerpts from Holly Ramer's otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything's possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):
When it comes to reporting on aspects of Obamacare, the press is really good at pretending to speculate about outcomes which have already happened in the real world, and at contradicting Obama administration assertions without telling readers that's what they've just done.
Case in point: Last Tuesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Carla K. Johnson and Tom Murphy told readers that Obamacare "could touch ... people who have insurance through work," and that "The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers" and to "start excluding spouses." The law has already "prompted" all of these things. Excerpts follow the jump.
For the past several months, ABC’s Jonathan Karl has been engaged in an ongoing battle with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News has been one of the few reporters from the “big three” networks who has been consistent in questioning the Obama White House.
Filling in for George Stephanopoulos as moderator of This Week on January 26, Karl continued his tradition of pushing Jay Carney for answers during an exclusive interview with the press secretary. During the interview Karl called out Carney for the lack of access the Obama Administration gives the media, and asked the former Time Magazine reporter turned Obama propagandist whether “Jay Carney would fight with Jay Carney?”