Readers here may remember during the presidency of George W. Bush how he reacted to a constituent's written concerns about how "I watched you make fun of moonbats" opposed to the Iraq war who were being "targeted and ridiculed." In a handwritten letter on White House stationery, Bush told the person that “I do have to challenge you, though, on the notion that any citizen that disagrees with me has been 'targeted and ridiculed' or that I have 'made fun' of 'moonbats.'"
Any reader who does recall this has a bad memory, because it didn't happen. But as the New York Post's Emily Smith reported on Wednesday, President Obama allegedly penned a worse response to a Texas teacher who expressed concern about how "any citizen that disagrees with your administration is targeted and ridiculed," and that "I watched you make fun of tea baggers." Obama handwrote the word "tea-baggers" in his response:
A number of liberals and liberal outfits have taken notice of the "knockout game" trend. Their mission is to downplay or debunk it.
In a November 22 item published in its November 23 print edition on Page A19, Cara Buckley at the New York Times, below a picture of a Guardian Angels member posting a warning in Brooklyn, cited "police officials in several cities" claiming that it "amounted to little more than an urban myth," and noted that Gotham officials were questioning "whether in fact it existed." Excerpts and other ostrich-like responses from others are after the jump.
The Conservative Campaign Committee says on its "About" page that it is "a traditional Political Action Committee that works with grassroots conservatives across the country to make our movement more effective, hold Barack Obama and the liberals in Washington accountable and support important campaigns and outstanding conservative candidates for federal office." CCC clearly states that its ads and other efforts are "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Yet MSNBC's Ed Schultz has taken to Twitter to shriek (HT Twitchy) that "Ted Cruz is targeting Thanksgiving" because CCC is running TV ads during Thanksgiving thanking the Texas senator for "doing everything he could to stop Obamacare before it hurt the American people." Meanwhile, Organizing for Action, whose only mission is to promote the President's agenda and whose charter member list came over from Obama's 2012 campaign, is directly targeting Americans' Thanksgiving gatherings by coaching its members on how to talk up the wonders of Obamacare. Obama himself spoke directly to members to encourage them "to talk about the ACA at holiday parties."
In response to several outlets contending with basis that the Associated Press sat on its knowledge that the United States and Iran were conducting secret diplomatic discussions, the AP's Paul Colford has published a "Back Story" item defending its conduct, claiming that it could not "confirm, to its standards, what had happened." My related NewsBusters post is here.
Breitbart had a related item earlier today. In it, Larry O'Connor posted a tweet from a specific person at another news organization indicating that "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." Barring a better explanation from AP than what readers will see after the jump, the tweet by Laura Rozen at the Washington-based, Middle East-focused Al-Monitor presumptively refutes AP's claim that it didn't have enough information to justify publishing a story (if they didn't, why would the government bother to ask them to not publish?). Colford did not address Rozen's relayed claim, even though his item more than likely went up several hours after O'Connor's Breitbart post and roughly 48 hours after Rozen's tweet (depending on its time zone). Colford's full AP post follows the jump (links and italics are in original):
My previous post (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) dealt with Pace's blind acceptance of unsupported assertions about the reason for the Obama administration's delay of 2015 Obamacare enrollment until November 15, 2014 and her willingness to parrot long-discredited talking points about why the HealthCare.gov website initially crashed. Before that, she bragged about how her organization, which didn't exactly have a track record of sitting on news about secret Bush administration efforts, sat on what it knew about the existence of secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iran (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Anyone out there who still doesn't believe or won't admit that the establishment press is hopelessly biased in favor of the left, particularly the Obama administration, needs to have the establishment press's virtual failure to cover the Jessica Sanford story rubbed in their faces.
Ms. Sanford is the unfortunate victim of deception by Washington state's Obamacare exchange. When it was thought that she would get a significant Obamacare subsidy and a net monthly premium of $169, President Obama touted her story based on a letter she wrote to him in a Rose Garden speech. Ms. Sanford has since learned that the state exchange seriously erred, and that she will get no subsidy at all. Because she can't afford to pay the monthly premium, which now appears to be in the neighborhood of $600 a month (her original premium was said to be $169, and her original subsidy was reported as $452), she will go without health insurance coverage next year and pay the Affordable Care Act's mandated fine.
"Look, folks, we love the filibuster when Democrats use it against Republicans, but really hate it when Republicans use it against Democrats."
If the New York Times editorial board were completely honest, that's exactly what they'd admit in print to their readers. Instead the Gray Lady keeps shifting her point of view on the parliamentary maneuver depending on whose ox is gored. On January 1, 1995, the Times gave the incoming Republican majority a new year's resolution: substantially trim back the filibuster to fall in line with the proposal of liberal Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin (emphases mine):
In a mild surprise, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, hasn't totally ignored John Crudele's Monday evening blockbuster story at the New York Post about how fabricated Census Bureau information fed a pretty clearly cooked September 2012 Employment Situation report. But the wire service's Sam Hananel ruined the surprise by spending five terse paragraphs making sure that relatively disengaged readers would learn as little as possible.
Most crucially, Hananel never told readers that the alleged manipulation may have been the main reason why the reported September 2012 unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. At the time, former GE CEO Jack Welch was among those who strongly questioned the rate drop.
I don't want to go overboard here, but most of the print establishment press deserves a bit of grudging credit in the Arne Duncan "white suburban moms" controvery.
Most of them aren't characterizing the gutless attempt by Barack Obama's education secretary to back away from his spiteful, condescending, bigoted comment Friday as an apology — because it wasn't. In a Monday post at the Department of Educations's Homeroom blog (how courageous — not), Duncan only admitted that "I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret," and that "I singled out one group of parents when my aim was to say that we need to communicate better to all groups," while repeating many of the tired lies which have accompanied Common Core's imposition from its inception. There was no admission of wrongdoing, and nothing resembling an "I'm sorry." Predictably, Stephanie Simon at the Politico was among those who considered Duncan's dumbness an apology (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Well, that settles it. Sunday on ABC's "This Week" (video here) New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand admitted that "We all knew" that Obamacare's core guarantee — "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" — was false. That's "we" as in "all of us Democrats."
There's no wiggle room in what Gillibrand said, as will be demonstrated after the jump. Also note how guest host Martha Raddatz, with her use of "we," admitted to viewers that she's on the same team with Washington's Democrats two and possibly three different times (HT Truth Revolt via Ed Driscoll).
Will yet another example of rhetorical intemperance by an Obama administration official get a free pass? So far it mostly has.
A Washington Post item by Valerie Strauss at its "Answer Sheet" blog quotes a dispatch from Libbly Nelson at the Politico, but does not link to it. I couldn't find a related original story by Nelson at her Politico archive or in a Politico search on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's name (not in quotes). Here is what the Post says Nelson wrote (HT The Blaze; bolds are mine):
The student health care plan offered by Bowie State University, Maryland's oldest historically black college, is an example of one of those "substandard" plans President Obama, the Affordable Care Act's architects, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have been determined to extinguish.
Well, they've gotten their way. Rather than continue a plan whose costs would have gone from $54 to $900 per semester, an increase of over 1500 percent, the university has dropped the plan. Many students are angry, and have criticized the President directly, as seen in a video at CampusReform.org. News coverage of this calamity has been sparse, to say the least. Excerpts from a report at Washington TV station WUSA follow the jump (bolds are mine):
A commenter at my post yesterday ("TomsonaNonGrata") about how a pair of New York Times reporters characterized President Barack Obama's false guarantee to Americans that "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" as an "incorrect promise" — because they couldn't work up the nerve to call it a lie — noted that "All these people (in the press) that were so quick to call Bush a liar about WMD, when he was basing his decision on the intelligence available at the time, now can't bring themselves to call Obama a liar, when he specifically knew policies could/would be cancelled, and kept saying otherwise."
Point well-taken, especially given what the intrepid tweet trackers at Twitchy relayed from Washington Examiner columnist Charlie Spiering. Spiering fouund a Times editorial from 2008 which commented on the George W. Bush and weapons of mass destruction:
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):
This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
I think we have the winner in the "If a Republican or conservative had said it" media bias category this year, if not this decade.
In the book "Double Down" by liberal journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (reviewed by Peter Hamby at the Washington Post on Friday), President Barack Obama, while discussing drone strikes in 2012, reportedly told aides that he's "really good at killing people." This would have been headline news three seconds after Hamby's review, and Hamby would have headlined it himself instead of casually mentioning it in Paragraph 11. A Google News search on an obvious search string ("really good at Killing people" obama; sorted by date) at 6:45 p.m. returns only 11 items, none of which are establishment press outlets. Michael Kelley at Business Insider, which did not show up among the search items returned, had some interesting thoughts on Obama's alleged remark Saturday evening (bolds are mine throughout this post; Update: important links relating to CIA practices which can only be considered barbaric are in the original):
Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.
As HealthCare.gov's disaster has dragged on and grown in scope, it was entirely predictable that doctrinaire leftists in the fever swamps would begin concocting reasons why its epic failure thus far has been the fault of obstructionist conservatives and Republicans.
What perhaps was less expected, but based on history should not have been, is that supposedly responsible Democrats in elected positions have also joined the ranks of "Obamacare Truthers" by promulgating outlandish theories and engaging in intense blame-shifting, both with extraordinary gusto. Perhaps the worst — or, given its absurdity, the most entertaining — is the one tweeted and quietly deleted (HT Twitchy) by Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey (population 126,000):
Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.
Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.
In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).
In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).
During the 2011-2012 controversy over Wisconsin's Act 10, the establishment press, led by the Associated Press, clearly took sides against Badger State Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature. No one was more blatantly biased than the AP's Scott Bauer, who repeatedly insisted in 2011 and 2012 that the law "strip(s) most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." It does not. While Act 10 sharply limits the scope of what can be negotiated, it does not eliminate unions' right to exist, or to negotiate.
Walker will be releasing a new book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," in November. Given the sustained national attention Act 10 received, the utlimately failed recall movement it inspired, and Walker's possible interest in seeking the nation's presidency in 2016, it's reasonable to believe that the AP would have wanted to carry Bauer's Monday morning review of the book as a national story. But thus far, it has not. I believe it's because Bauer comes across as a fundamentally dishonest and embarrassingly partisan sore loser.
Fox News has coverage today of the guilty plea of Jeffrey Garcia, a former congressional chief of staff who "pled guilty Monday to one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges after admitting he illegally requested hundreds of absentee ballots while he was running the campaign for Rep. Joe Garcia, who he is not related to."
The Fox story indicates that the Associated Press contributed to its report. That's odd, because a search on "Garcia absentee" (not in quotes) at the AP's national site done at 11:30 a.m. ET came up empty. That's because AP has from all appearances treated Garcia's plea and sentencing as a Florida story unworthy of national notice, despite the fact that the gaming the electoral system and allegations of voter suppression have been a national discussion topic for years. The one unbylined AP story I did find was also ridiculously sympathetic to Jeffrey:
At this point, really, what difference does having an election make? Watching Sunday's Good Morning America, you get the feeling that the liberal media have already anointed our country’s next president. On the October 20 edition of the program, ABC’s Martha Raddatz declared that Hillary Clinton was “on fire” while campaigning for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Saturday.
Co-anchor Dan Harris kicked off the Hillary watch by pretending that Mrs. Clinton was making a comeback: “[A] lot of people talking this morning about the return of Hillary Clinton, attending her first political rally in four years on Saturday.” [See video below the break.]
The White House is apparently so desperate to pump anything positive about the disaster known as HealthCare.gov that it took a reporter's ability to "set up an account" as proof that the web site is working fine for some users.
Uh, no. Early Thursday afternoon, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker (also the guy who may have been in the best position to prove that Barack Obama was lying when he said in 2008 that he never read the church bulletins at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, and passed), tweeted the following: "I just tested http://healthcare.gov for the first time and I was able to set up an account with no trouble." Well, setting up an account is a step, but is hardly the end of a HealthCare.gov user's journey. As seen at Twitchy, that didn't stop White House press secretary Jay Carney and senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness from retweeting Lizza's tweet — except Lizza wasn't done, and got stopped dead in his tracks when he tried to move on:
The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."
Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):
Viewers of Fox News Channel's popular weeknight Hannity program got an unwelcome surprise during the Tuesday edition of the show, when liberal contributor Jehmu Greene tried to be funny by asking: “If [GOP Texas senator] Ted Cruz and [House majority leader] John Boehner were both on a sinking ship, who would be saved?” Her shocking answer: “America.”
As you might expect, it didn't take long for posters on Twitter to come out swinging.