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.
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.
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) —
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.
When it comes to liberals standing up to indefensible rhetoric from others on the Left, the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie illustrates how NOT to do it.
Oh, sure, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) was wrong to compare the Tea Party with the KKK but "it would be needless political correctness to dismiss the Tea Party as completely unrelated to the Klan, or at least, the reactionary currents that gave it life," Bouie insisted in his October 23 piece, "Grayson's Folly: What the Tea Party and the KKK Have in Common." Bouie did his best armchair psychiatrist impression in diagnosing the supposed xenophobic and reactionary neuroses of American conservatives (emphasis mine):
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).
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.
Explaining the success of her new highly-rated show on Fox News, and the popularity of the network in general, The Kelly File anchor Megyn Kelly told Access Hollywood: "It's a different slice of television than you'd get at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., or that you get from my competitors at 9 p.m. on the other channels....we here at Fox News don't get paid to pick up The New York Times and put it on TV. So it's not gonna look and feel and sound like that offering would." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after 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.
Moments earlier, President Obama wrapped up a petulant, whiney Rose Garden harangue in which he defended ObamaCare while insisting no one was more frustrated by the botched roll-out than he was.
Earlier this morning, Time magazine took it upon itself to counsel that the chief executive "has to get mad" about the failures of the ObamaCare web portal. "Political reality, unlike actual reality, is malleable stuff," writer Michael Scherer offered, adding:
Former Barack Obama campaign manager and current MSNBC senior political analyst David Axelrod today immaturely taunted those who disagree with him on Obamacare by tweeting the following question: "Isn't it ironic that the most ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act are now complaining that people can't sign up fast enough?"
At first blush, it would appear that Axelrod's tweet might be out of bounds even at MSNBC. Based on the splash which greets those who enter "msnbc.com" in their browser's address bar, you would be wrong:
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.
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:
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:
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):
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.]
The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
Apparently desperate to claim that 17 percent government shutdown is causing pain, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, decided that the Empire State Manufacturing Index's decline from brisk expansion to modest expansion was "a sign that the partial government shutdown may be weighing on the economy." Rugaber wrote what he did despite the actual report's emphasis that both business and labor market conditions "held steady," and its accompanying observation that manufacturers' borrowing costs have increased.
Though the headline at the AP's national site is a neutral "NY FACTORY ACTIVITY GROWS MORE SLOWLY IN OCTOBER," the one accompanying the story at some outlets (e.g., here and here — "Survey shows NY factory activity grows more slowly in October, signaling shutdown impact") is not. The four-paragraph story, presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, follows the jump:
Nicolle Wallace is the perfect MSNBC kind of Republican: the kind who isn't sure if she opposes Obamacare.
On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was seeking to make the point that while Republicans are divided over tactics, they are ideologically united in opposition to Obamacare. To demonstrate his thesis, Scarborough asked Wallace whether she supports Obamacare, taking it for granted that she would express her opposition. Amazingly, Wallace responded that she "wasn't sure anymore," then quoted her [former Bush aide] husband who had wondered "what do we hate about it?" She did then catch heself and admitted to not supporting Obamacare on the grounds that the government is not a competent deliverer of healthcare. Too late: Wallace had already betrayed her RINO roots. View the video after the jump.