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.
Charlie Crist will formally announce his Florida 2014 gubernatorial candidacy on Monday. He served as Republican Governor of the Sunshine State from 2007 to 2011. He is now running as a Democrat. In 2010, he fell from being a prohibitive front-runner in that year's U.S. Senate race to a virtual afterthought after Marco Rubio's ascendance.
In the course of a fawning writeup about Crist's candidacy, the Associated Press, in a story carried at the Politico, made the following historically questionable claim about Crist:
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
Charlie Rose twice couldn't bring himself to clearly state that President Obama made a false promise when he repeatedly claimed that "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it". On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Rose underlined that "more than two million Americans are losing their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare. Jan Crawford uncovers new information on what could be a broken promise."
Two days later, the morning show anchor spun that "not all the promises [about ObamaCare] are turning out to be true, and he's [the President] had to modify some of them." Co-host Norah O'Donnell also followed Rose's lead: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):
Yesterday, I reported that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe guests refused to come out and explicitly state that President Obama lied when he repeatedly insisted that those who like their health insurance can keep it under ObamaCare. Well, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday night, Scarborough finally allowed the L-word to escape his lips.
The conservative radio host played a clip of The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page saying Obama “probably” lied about his health care law. He then asked Scarborough, “Are you surprised that people like Clarence Page are admitting the president just out-and-out lied?” [Listen to the audio here.]
You can give MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew credit for this much: they spent almost half an hour on Tuesday’s show discussing the NBC News report that President Obama knew that millions of Americans would lose their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare. Host Joe Scarborough seemed appropriately outraged that the president knew about this even as he repeatedly insisted that those who liked their health insurance could keep it.
Curiously, however, neither Scarborough nor any of his guests ever accused the president of “lying.” They never called him a “liar,” said he “lied,” or used any form of the infinitive “to lie.” This gave the impression that they remain cowed by the Obama administration. This is MSNBC, after all. The former Republican congressman from Florida may gnaw on the hand that feeds him, but Scarborough knows not to clamp down and break skin. [See video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday's CBS This Morning repeatedly played up how "more than two million Americans are losing their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare". Jan Crawford outlined that "this is just the tip of the iceberg. And the people who are opening these letters are shocked to learn they can't keep their current policies, despite the President's assurances to the contrary."
Crawford underlined that "the White House is on the defensive, trying to explain how, when the President repeatedly" used his now-infamous "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it" promise, "he really didn't mean it." She didn't disclose, however, that her featured "industry expert" is an alumnus of the Clinton administration. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
She had four paragraphs to work with, yet Time magazine's Madison Gray found no space to note disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s political affiliation.
The Illinois Democrat is in the news again today as he entered prison Tuesday morning to begin serving his 2 1/2-year long sentence. Here's how Gray reported it for the "Nation" section of his magazine's website:
On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now."
Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):
Green energy is supposedly the future. Why, solar energy will break out and become a major energy source any year now, or any decade now. Or maybe never. It has been the subject of national attention ever since President Obama made it a cornerstone of his 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, what Obama claims is in energy policy has worked out to be more a of a growth-constraining, government money-wasting endeavor than anything else.
The Denver Post carried the original story on Thursday of how the federal government's first attempt at a solar auction went. The headline was accurate: "1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids." That's right. Zero. Post reporter Mark Jaffe's first sentence was charitable but acceptable: "The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado." Too bad that two establishment press outlets which were in a position to communicate this news to the nation failed to adequately do so.
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.
At the Associated Press Friday morning, economics writer Christopher Rugaber's story had a predictably sunny and incomplete headline ("LONG-LASTING US FACTORY GOODS ORDERS RISE 3.7 PCT.") followed by an opening paragraph which told readers that "orders for most other goods fell" and which speculated without basis that the substantively bad news was "a possible sign of concern about the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1."
That's a great reporting strategy if your goal is to keep busy news consumers inadequately informed. Those who only read the headline will believe that this economic element was unequivocally positive. Those who only get through the first paragraph will see the bad news and blame congressional Republicans, on whom the establishment media has successfully pinned the blame for the 17 percent shutdown — even though it objectively doesn't belong there. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In among the more pathetic uses of the passive voice I've seen employed to protect guilty parties, a short, unbylined personal finance-related item at ABC's web site today by the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, identifies "5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HEALTH CARE SHOPPING."
The writeup doesn't mention the fact that shopping for plans in the first place is difficult (actually, closer to impossible, given HealthCare.gov's implosion), and doesn't bring up Obamacare or its more formal name, the "Affordable Care Act," at all. As is the case with arguments favoring gun control, AP blames an inanimate object to shield the real perpetrators of the challenges consumers face. In this case, it's "insurance plans" which are to blame, thus implicating implicitly evil insurance companies and avoiding any mention of Obamacare/ACA, the real cause (produced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) —
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.
Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:
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.
Obama donor Gayle King and Charlie Rose strongly hinted that conservatives/Republicans needed psychiatric help during a segment with Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. King asked the licensed psychiatrist, "You talk in your book about your medical training in psychiatry and about...how powerful denial can be. Do you think that the GOP – Tea Party Republicans are in denial?"
King's question prompted laughter from Rose and co-anchor Norah O'Donnell. The PBS host then rephrased his colleague's question in a more explicit way: "But do you think the party needs some psychiatry?" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, the New York Times' Peter Baker didn't reveal anything shocking about George W. Bush's opinion about the liberal paper. Charlie Rose wondered about one detail concerning Baker's new book on Bush and Dick Cheney: "Why wouldn't President Bush talk to you?" He replied, "President Bush didn't believe that a book written by a New York Times reporter could be fair. He felt that the paper had not been balanced in his time in office." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The journalist also dispelled the common liberal view about former Vice President Cheney's influence inside the Bush White House. Norah O'Donnell brought up how "there was this perception, of course, that Cheney was the one who was really pulling the levers of power." Baker bluntly retorted, "The picture that we have of this presidency and vice presidency is too cartoonish. It's too stick-figure – two-dimensional. It's a much more complicated story."
Earlier today, as seen here in a clone post elsewhere, the Politico reported, as if it is an undisputed fact, that "Republican opponents of the law (Obamacare) are preparing for their own victory lap." That alleged "victory lap" will be the "first hearing to spotlight the faulty Obamacare website."
Apparently that intemperance was a bit much even for the clearly left-leaning Politico. The original story, entitled "Obama to tackle Affordable Care Act glitches head-on," seems to have disappeared from Politico's web site, replaced by "Obama on ACA website: 'No excuse for these problems'" written by Jason Millman and Reid Epstein. A Google search on the quoted text in the previous paragraph leads to this newer item. Excerpts from the new story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Just behind the "war on women" and charges of racism, MSNBC's third favorite bogeyman is the specter of "voter suppression." The network was obsessed with that meme in 2012 and will doubtless pound the pulpit on it in the congressional midterms, but it's been relatively quiet about it in 2013. That changed today when MSNBC Live anchor Thomas Roberts brought on Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez of The Advancement Project to forward the complaints of Virginia Democrats against a state voter registry clean-up that has removed about 38,000 from the state's rolls. Liberal Democrats in the Old Dominion took the state to court for daring to kick off the voter registry folks who had registered to vote in other states after having registered in Virginia. Federal judge Claude Hilton turned down their request to reverse the move.
John Dickerson could not have been more blunt on Monday's CBS This Morning about the political damage HealthCare.gov's well-established technical difficulties is already causing President Obama: "It's been far worse than a glitch. It's been a total fiasco, as Senator McCain said. And the problem here is that the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral."
The liberal political director, who is usually an Obama apologist, also surprisingly acknowledged that conservatives were right in their longstanding criticisms of ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)
Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."
In a Sunday morning report which tries to put the best possible face on a project which appears to be on track to make the $22 billion "Big Dig" in Massachusetts look like a petty cash disbursement, Juliet Williams at the Associated Press claimed that the $68 billion involved thus far "would span the state." No it wouldn't, unless all of the formerly Golden State north of the San Francisco Bay Area — roughly one-fourth of the state's land mass — were to secede.
Williams also wrote: "Voters in 2008 approved $10 billion in bonds to start construction on an 800-mile rail line to ferry passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes." Nope. It's an 800-mile rail "network" (quoting from the state's ballot measure guide) which was supposed to include San Diego to the south (see the top left at Page 6 at the link), and apparently now does not. In other text seen below, she cited that 2008 proposition, which carried by a margin of 52.7% to 47.3%, as evidence that voters "overhelmingly approved" the project.
Who's going to break the news to MSNBC's Chris Matthews? Apparently, a study by Yale University -- you know, that great New Haven bastion of conservatism -- finds that folks who self-identify with the Tea Party are more literate when it comes to scientific matters than non-Tea Partiers.
If and when this knowledge causes the Hardball host's head to explode, I hope the suits at MSNBC will be kind enough to donate Chris's cranium to science. Former NewsBuster Matt Vespa has more at our sister site CNSNews.com. Here's an excerpt:
A Nebraska judge standing in the way of a 16-year-old obtaining an elective abortion is a "shame" worthy of national scorn, according to Fox News and Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn, in her October 17 Women of the World blog entry, "Nebraska Abortion Shame."
Daily Beast editors highlighted Kohn's rant, placing it in the number 7 slot in the lightbox this morning. "A 16-year-old foster teen asked for an abortion-- only to have her request denied by a radical judge," complained a teaser caption on the Beast's front page, adding that Kohn explains "why America should be outraged by the case." Kohn began:
Norah "we shouldn't editorialize" O'Donnell boosted President Obama mere seconds after the liberal politician finished his Thursday presser about the end of the partial government shutdown. The CBS anchor claimed that Obama was trying to "be, sort of, the grown-up in the room, and to look forward and say, here are the three ways we can now work together. "
O'Donnell later asserted that the President had gone back to his semblance of a bipartisanism in his lecture-like address: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.
Piers Morgan still can't basic details about the gun rights debate right, even after his protracted involvement in the controversy, as he revealed on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Morgan incorrectly claimed that the First Amendment – not the Second Amendment – protected the right to keep and bear arms: "I have no problem...with a family exercising their First Amendment (sic) right to defend their families with a handgun at home."
The CNN host also praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his prominent vocal and monetary support of gun control, and took President Obama to task for his apparent lack of action on the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]