Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
Does Piers Morgan even try to show integrity anymore? The CNN host goaded the chair of the DNC into bashing Republicans on his Monday night show and plugged her new book without asking her one tough question about her own party.
Morgan's first question to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was this pathetic softball: "What is going on with the GOP right now?" Schultz laid into her political opponents. "They have the opportunity to do the right thing and not shut the government down and hold the economy hostage with the Affordable Care Act as ransom. And instead they went with the Tea Party," she ranted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
In a keister-covering dispatch at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, which, based on its headline, is supposed to be a big-picture look at where recovery efforts from last year's Superstorm Sandy stand ("NORMALCY ELUDES MANY A YEAR AFTER SANDY HIT NJ"), reporter Wayne Parry spent the vast majority of his 900-plus words on problems residents are having with insurance companies.
It doesn't take a great deal of effort to determine that problems originating with the federal government and other government entities are far larger in scope.
That's an amazingly low number, considering Ms. Packham's aggressive attempts to gain visibility in her job as a lead Obamacare navigator in Florida, and the utterly ridiculous assertion she made earlier this week about the impact of credit scores on healthcare premiums — an assertion she has retracted without anything resembling an acceptable explanation (HT Conservative Intel; video at link; bolds are mine):
This post follows up on Noel Sheppard's item this morning on the progress of ObamaCare enrollment in Iowa, wherein we learn that there have been a "Hardy Handful" of five sign-ups thus far, with no identified press coverage outside of the Hawkeye State.
A search on "Iowa insurance" (not in quotes) at the national web site of the Associated Press done at 1:30 p.m. returned nothing recent. AP has covered the story, but has from all appearances limited its exposure to a five-paragrapher at its Iowa feed. The Iowa story's headline is definitely from the "Let's deceive readers and hope they don't read the story" branch of media brinkmanship (presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
The big talk in conservative radio on Thursday is Barack Obama’s 37 percent approval rating in the latest AP poll. Hosts are also making fun of how AP announced this number: buried in paragraph eight of a story headlined “Poll: No Heroes In Shutdown, GOP Gets Most Blame.”
Guess what? Brent Baker reported when an AP poll found President Bush's approval rating hit a new low of 37 percent on March 10, 2006, NBC's Brian Williams led the newscast with it. When an NBC News poll found the same number on March 15, Williams led the program with it again, turning to Tim Russert to say, "let's start with that all-important benchmark for presidents, the approval rating." Now, the networks are trying to avoid this Obama number.
Well if a celebrity is for it, then it must be a good idea. The Obama administration launched a new social media campaign last week using controversial celebrities as spokespeople for the Affordable Care Act. Counting the celebrities’ Twitter followers alone, that gives the administration access to more than 67 million people to push the president’s mandatory healthcare program.
Singer Lady Gaga, comedians Sarah Silverman and John Hodgman, “Revenge” actors Nick Wechsler and Emily VanCamp, and “Parks and Rec” star Amy Poehler, are just a few celebrities who tweeted out or Instagrammed pictures of themselves holding signs with the hashtag “#GetCovered” as part of Obama’s social media campaign to get young people to sign up for his healthcare plan.
Poor Carl Bernstein: he's suffering a bad bout of MSM nostalgia. He longs for the good old media days when the news was dominated by the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the then three broadcast networks. They could slam Republicans with impunity, without any conservative media counterweight.
In covering the shutdown, today's media culture, kvetches Carl, is just too darn fair and balanced in its treatment of those lying, McCarthyite Republicans. That's why President Obama and the congressional Dems' poll numbers are surprisingly bad. Such was Carl's complaint on today's Morning Joe. View the video after the jump.
(UPDATE, 11:40 a.m.: AmberAlert.gov is working again.)
In yet another news story which has bubbled up through social media and the blogosphere and which will test the establishment press's willingness to ignore obvious news, the Obama adminstration's Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder has taken AmberAlert.gov offline.
To the extent that it interrupts what DOJ has identified as one of the three components of its national AMBER strategy for "a Coordinated AMBER Network," the move could make locating and saving missing and exploited children more difficult. Meanwhile, the 83% of the government which isn't shut down includes the following:
Early Friday afternoon, USA Today's Tim Mullaney excused HealthCare.gov's "glitches," confidently predicted that "they'll get fixed" (in about two months!) and pronounced the enterprise "an out-of-the-box success for consumers shopping for health insurance" which will "sell tons of insurance," even though he had to go to a canned calculator found elsewhere to do much of his work. As to "selling tons of insurance": Well of course it will, if allowed to continue. Thanks to a Supreme Court majority led by John Roberts, it's a legal requirement to do so under penalty of law.
Mullaney also contended that HealthCare.gov's virtual failure to sign up "consumers" — a situation that certainly was not remotely remedied when he submitted his column — was little different from what many private-sector companies have experienced and overcome. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
(UPDATE: See Chad's response to Washington Post's Sarah Kliff at the end of this post.) If what Reason's Peter Suderman is reporting is correct — and he certainly appears to have done the kind of digging you would expect conscientious journalists to do — the establishment press's lionization of Chad Henderson the Fantabulous Obamacare Enrollee is about to fall apart.
Suderman spoke at length with Chad Henderson's father, Bill Henderson, and uncovered a litany of contradictions, inconsistencies, and what should have been red flags to journalists who apparently decided that the story was too good to check (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Bill Press shouldn't hold his breath waiting to be named marshal in any upcoming gay pride parades.
The ex-"Crossfire" host and his radio show producer took time from their daily adoration of cradle-to-grave government dependency to malign the husband of GOP congresswoman Michele Bachmann in a manner that would lead to harassment, torched effigies and threats of violence if any conservative did likewise.(Audio after the jump)
Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.
Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]
Politico's Dylan Byers is determined to tell us that we didn't see and hear what we really saw and heard, and that Matt Drudge is a filthy liar (Update, 8:20 a.m., Oct. 3: as well as Real Clear Politics —"Reid To CNN's Dana Bash: 'Why Would We Want To' Help One Kid With Cancer?") for relaying what CNN's Dana Bash saw and heard — and reported.
Today, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whined about House Republicans “obsessed with this Obamacare thing” and asserted that "they have no right to pick and choose” which programs to fund and not fund (actually, the Constitution gives them that right, Harry), card-carrying liberal Bash asked him: “But if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?” Instead of turning the tables and saying, “I’ll be glad to do that when I get a clean bill,” he appeared to be on the verge of going into expletive mode, but then answered with a question of his own which should haunt him from here to eternity:
Republicans seem to "prefer [reopening] war memorials to" resuming cancer treatments for "living children." That's the grotesque, hyperpartisan spin that MSNBC's Martin Bashir weaved on his October 2 program, reacting to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's offer to have the RNC pay for five security guards to man the World War II Memorial which the National Park Service, in concert with the Obama White House, has ordered closed during the shutdown.
Bashir made that remark shortly into his Wednesday program before introducing his all-liberal panel of guests. Bashir, of course, failed to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's callous rejection of the notion of passing a funding bill that would re-open the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with it clinical trials to treat cancer-stricken children. The relevant transcript follows the page break. [MP3 audio available here; Video follows page break]:
Brett Zongker, the reporter the Associated Press assigned to cover the World War II Memorial story yesterday in Washington, apparently felt compelled to try to find someone who would exclusively blame Congress for the memorial's closure. He failed, but pretended that he succeeded.
For those unfamiliar with the story, in an overrecation to the partial government shutdown, the White House, specifically, the Office of Management and Budget, ordered the open air WWII Memorial barricaded. Anyone attempting to shift the blame elsewhere, e.g., Harry Reid, isn't telling the truth. With the help of several Republican congressmen, a veterans' group there on a long-planned visit breached the "Barry-cades" and openes the memorial. Zongker's report took seven paragraphs to recognize that the congresspersons involved are Republicans, and, as noted earlier, blew his concluding attempt to assign blame (bolds are mine):
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
Isn't this rich? The New York Times, in a Sunday story placed on the front page of Monday's print edition, took shots at another news organization for leaking sensitive intelligence. The Old Grey Lady must think we all have short memories.
Unfortunately, Dylan Byers at the Politico does have a short memory — either that, or he's protecting the sacred Times and its history-challenged reporters Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt. Here's how Byers lays out the situation (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Pundits and politicians are normally so slick that they can weasel their way out of even the most glaring of contradictions. "Depends on what the meaning of is, is," anyone? So it's particularly delicious, to use Noel Sheppard's trademark phrase, to see a talking head left absolutely cornered, babbling without response, when caught in the hypocrisy of a double-standard.
On today's Morning Joe, former Obama car czar Steve Rattner passed along the Obama admin line that negotiating with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling "is like negotiating with terrorists." With catlike quickness, Joe Scarborough pounced: "so you're saying Barack Obama was a terrorist in 2006 when he said he refused to raise the debt ceiling?" The cornered Rattner had no comeback, actually asking Mika Brzezinski of all people to "help me out here," then resorting to the lame "it's complicated" line. View the amusing video after the jump.
Back in June, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis became a national darling of the left when she filibustered in opposition to legislation, ultimately passed in July, which bans most abortions in the Lone Star State after 20 weeks of pregnancy and "requires doctors performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic."
The arch-liberal Huffington Post was among those losing all perspective over the alleged wonders of Wendy Davis. An astute tweet carried at Twitchy.com (original tweet here) notes that at one point it headlined Davis's stalling tactics as "THE FILIBUSTER HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD." Now let's compare how HuffPo is treating Texas Senator Ted Cruz's filibuster:
On Friday, Allan Brauer, the Sacramento County Democratic Party's communications director directed the following tweet (HT Twitchy) at Amanda Carpenter, a speechwriter for Texas Senator Ted Cruz: "May your children all die from debilitating, painful and incurable diseases."
Brauer's action got the attention of Leslie Larson at the New York Daily News and myriad national web sites across the ideological spectrum, including Mediaite, PJ Media, and The Blaze. But at the Associated Press, it's a California-only story worthy of only five paragraphs (reproduced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
The Associated Press, in story carried at Channel 6 in Lawrence, reported (HT Twitchy) that a Kansas University professor has been "placed on administrative leave" after he issued the following tweet concerning Monday's Navy Yard murders: "The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you." A NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd yesterday, since updated to note his placement on leave, noted that Guth is an avid gun-grabbing advocate and that his Twitter account links to KU.
The AP apparently wants those who peruse its national site to skip their story on Guth. The item's headline belongs in the "this is boring, don't waste your time" wing of the Journalism Hall of Shame:
Back in 2010, when ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was convicted on money laundering charges related to campaign fundraising, all three network morning and evening news shows made sure to tell their viewers. But last night and this morning, after an appeals court overturned that verdict and completely acquitted DeLay of those charges, none of the broadcast networks bothered to even mentioned the former Republican leader’s exoneration.
On their November 24, 2010 evening newscasts, all three networks made gave time to the late-breaking news, accompanied by photos of DeLay with various captions: “Guilty Verdict” on ABC; “Convicted” on CBS; “Guilty” on NBC. The next morning (Thanksgiving Day), all three networks revisited the story again, and ABC carved out even more time for a full report on World News that night.
Imagine that George W. Bush had decided to proceed with a harsh, partisan speech attacking Democrats for "hurting people," despite a scene of mass murder unfolding just 3.5 miles away. On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough imagined just such a scenario, and came to the inescapable conclusion: his own MSNBC network and the MSM at large would be "killing" W for his insensitivity and poor judgment.
Panelist John Heilemann of New York magazine grudgingly agreed that Scarborough's assessement was "kinda fair." But Mika Brzezinski empathized with our poor president: he was in a "horrible position." View the video after the jump.
If President Barack Obama is losing Al Hunt, there is definitely trouble in Lefty-land.
But let's not go too far. In the midst of leveling criticisms at Obama as "bordering on incompetence," the former host of CNN's Capital Gang and executive editor at Bloomberg News, who is now a Bloomberg View columnist and host of a Bloomberg TV's Political Capital Sunday news show, cited three examples of supposedly indisputable George W. Bush administration incompetence, none of which fits the description.
Thanks, Dylan Byers. You've done those who recognize liberal establishment press bias as an irrefutable reality a big favor.
The Politico media reporter's lengthy excerpt from a longer column — I'd call it a "tease," but it's 14 paragraphs — is entitled "Obama Loses the Media." That means Obama has had 'em in his pocket until now. The rumors of permanent loss are likely exaggerated. Several paragraphs from from the lengthy excerpt and the column itself follow the jump.
Cross-posted from RedState| Poor Greg Sargent. If it isn’t enough that the DNC has its hand up his posterior controlling him muppet style, he’s all sore over this post of mine pointing out the collaborative nexus between Democrats, liberal groups, and the supposed objective media.
Two Colorado senators have been recalled, and either already are not serving their former constituents or won't be shortly. Yet according to today's Democratic Party talking points, their recalls, the first-ever in state history spurred by the ousted senators' support of gun-control measures passed earlier this year, are only "symbolic" — despite all the money that poured in from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control group to save them.
I have found no visible press pushback against this nonsensical claim. How many press members would remain silent if, say, a conservative or Republican special election loser in a congressional race said that his or her loss was "symbolic" because it didn't change who controls the House? (Answer: Zero.) Three reports containing the Dem meme follow the jump.
As the Virginia governor's race heats up in the Washington Post's backyard, the liberal broadsheet is doing its best to skew coverage in a favorable manner for liberal Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former DNC chief and longtime friend of the Clintons.
An excellent contrast that illustrate's the paper's bias is how it has handled the back-to-back defections of Republican strategist Boyd Marcus and Democratic activist David "Mudcat" Saunders. The former is backing McAuliffe and the latter is endorsing Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Post devoted stories to both men's decisions to buck the party line, but staff writer Laura Vozzella had a considerably longer piece on the front page of Metro which painted Marcus's move as a harbinger of a deeper GOP party split. [RELATED: check out my colleague Rich Noyes's study on Virginia newspapers slanting towards McAuliffe]