It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?
In May 2009, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, announced that it would be "launching an index that will provide monthly, multi-format updates on the economic stress of the United States down to the county level." Not a bad idea, especially if you were concerned that evidence of an economic recovery under Barack Obama would not otherwise be convincing.
The AP likely believed that since an overwhelming percentage of U.S. counties lean conservative (remember those Bush v. Gore county maps?), a large majority of U.S. counties would likely recover in time for the 2010 congressional elections, or in the worst-case scenario, the 2012 presidential election — even if the nation as a whole did not. A statement that "most counties in the U.S. have recovered from the recession" would have been quite useful in defending congressional Democrats and Barack Obama's incumbency. But a recently released report from the National Association of Counties (NACo), which was covered poorly by the Wall Street Journal and virtually ignored by almost everyone else, shows that it hasn't happened.
A search at the national web site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, on the name of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker (not in quotes) returns only two recent relevant items. One relates to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, where Walker is described as saying, in AP's words, "that (last week) he didn't know enough about the situation to comment ... (and) has remained silent in the days since details emerged." The other relates to Walker's brief jury duty stint last week.
Giving items relating to Walker national attention makes sense, given that his name frequently comes up as a possible GOP 2016 presidential contender. But if the two items just mentioned merit national coverage, why doesn't the fact that an out-of-control Democratic Wisconsin prosecutor attempting to dig up "coordination" between interested outside parties and Walker's 2012 campaign to turn back a recall effort just had his hat handed to him in court? On Friday evening, a Wall Street Journal editorial had the news (bolds are mine throughout this post; the link to a previous WSJ editorial was added by me):
I agree with MSNBC. I find it hard to believe that Gov. Chris Christie knew nothing about his staff's plotting a massive traffic jam on the ramp to the George Washington Bridge for political retribution.
On the other hand, I also find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know his own IRS was auditing his political enemies. And I find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know you wouldn't be able to keep your doctor under Obamacare. But most of all, I find it hard to believe that MSNBC host Al Sharpton didn't know Tawana Brawley was lying when she claimed to have been gang-raped by rogue cops on the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., police force.
Before anyone seeks to level a criticism for picking on someone's mistake, let's imagine what the press, which is so desperate to pin anything on Ted Cruz that one of its members recently tried to hold him responsible for others' comments on his Facebook page, would do to him if he made the error recently elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker made two days ago on Twitter — and has yet to correct.
MSNBC's Touré Neblett, who recently condoned consumers lying to corporations like Amazon to get discounts to which they aren't entitled, really needs to stay away from Twitter — or have someone screen his tweets.
On Tuesday, he tweeted (HT Twitchy) that "Many in poverty are working poor w two jobs. So 'jobs' is an ineffective anti poverty program." Note that he didn't indicate that "jobs" might not be the whole answer, which in some instances may be the case. He instead asserted that the idea of creating jobs and encouraging poor people to get them is "ineffective" as a way to get them out of poverty.
Milestones in one's life should serve as an impetus for a person to reflect on the past and on the future. Totenberg turned 70 yesterday. Another such milestone occurred at the end of 2013 in the life of NPR's high-profile Legal Affairs/Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg. Totenberg concluded her 19-year run as a weekly no-holds-barred pundit, pontificating on about every topic under the sun -- not just on her journalistic beat.
Most notoriously, she said in 1995 that a fitting punishment for a quite controversial remark by Republican US Senator Jesse Helms made about AIDS funding would be that he or his grandchildren contract AIDS: "I think he ought to be worried about the -- about what's going on in the good Lord's mind because if there's retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion or one of his grandchildren will get it."
We've seen it play out in several areas, one of which is climate science. Any researcher who questions the supposedly "settled science" of global warming is a hack who will produce whatever industry wants if they have ever accepted a dime from an energy company, while those who depend on government grants to sustain their livelihood — grants which heavily depend on toeing the politically correct line that human-caused warming is one of the greatest evils of our time — are as pure as the driven snow.
In an item about head injuries and football, USA Today's Dan Wolken went to the same, uh, playbook with neuroscientist Sandra Chapman, who contends that "concussions don't pose a significant long-term health risk." It almost seemed as if Wolken believes that those who have sued the NFL and obtained a tentative $675 million settlement — an amount which a judge believes is likely inadequate — have "settled science" on their side (HT Rush Limbaugh; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Select the scandal(s) that affects the most people and has long-term implications for the country in a time of war, a country with a struggling economy that last month produced the weakest job growth in decades. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 92 million Americans are no longer in the labor force.)
Let's see. We know, to name just a few of many impositions, that much of the enrollee information that HealthCare.gov and other exchanges have communicated to insurers has been erroneous, that insurers have had to deal with signing up hundreds of thousands of policyholders they originally cancelled, that deadlines for premium payments have been serially revised, and that there is no computerized subsidy payment system in place.
Yet Chad Terhune at the Los Angeles Times is irresponsibly steering gullible readers into believing that insurers are responsible for the Obamacare-related chaos and poor customer service, when it's a virtual miracle that anyone is being served at all (HT Patterico; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
With a "personal friend" like Mika Brzezinski, Chris Christie doesn't need enemies. Yesterday and again today, the Morning Joe co-host insisted that the media's focus needed to be exclusively on Christie and the bridge matter, and that any discussion of President Obama's involvement with the IRS, Benghazi and other scandals was a "distraction."
Today, relying on her personal relationship with Christie, Mika took things a giant step further, declaring "we know Chris Christie and we know he would have known." Mika was in effect claiming that Christie lied when he said at his marathon press conference that he had only very recently learned that his aides had ordered the bridge closures. View the video after the jump.
CNN’s Jake Tapper would have done well to read “Lone Survivor,” rather than just seeing the new movie, before interviewing former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell last week. If he had, Tapper might have been more careful than to describe the deaths of Luttrell’s SEAL comrades in Afghanistan as “senseless.” And he would have been wary of Luttrell’s contempt for the liberal media.
The film “Lone Survivor, which ” took in $38.5 million at the box office its opening weekend is based on a 2010 book by Luttrell that tells the tragic story of a 2005 operation in which the three other members of Luttrell’s SEAL team, along with 17 other special ops warriors, were killed. The story turned on the team’s agonized decision to turn lose some Afghan goat herders who had stumbled onto its concealed position. As the SEALs had feared, the freed civilians went straight to the Taliban, precipitating the battle.
A few hours ago, the folks at Twitchy.com caught the following headline at Reuters at a story about Pope Francis: "Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion 'horrific.'" At roughly 11:45 Eastern Time, the headline at Philip Pullella's story carried at Yahoo News ventured even further into the unreal: "Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific.'"
Phil, the Pope is Catholic. Abortion is and always will be a grave, i.e., mortal sin in the Catholic Church. Alleged "conservative" influence is utterly irrelevant. As would be expected, Pullella's content isn't any less ignorant (bolds are mine throughout this post):
We got ourselves a good Republican scandal here, and we're sticking with it. No distractions about President Obama and his culpability in the IRS and Benghazi matters. Capiche?
That was Mika Brezinski's message on Morning Joe today. When Mark Halperin mentioned that President Obama has never subjected himself to the kind of intense media grilling on Benghazi and the IRS that Chris Christie underwent on the bridge scandal during his 109-minute press conference, Mika laid down the law. Bringing up Benghazi and the IRS is "flailing for some sort of distraction. It's Chris Christie. It's New Jersey. Stick to that story," she ordered. The MSM at large will be only to happy to comply. View the video after the jump.
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Bullying by staffers of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has denied knowledge of their actions when they were taken, is a national news obsession. Bullying by staffers of Colorado Senator Mark Udall — which the Senator has acknowledged and is defending — is barely a blip.
The story, first reported in the Colorado blogosphere at Complete Colorado, is that Udall staffers "worked assiduously to revise press accounts that 249,000 Coloradans received health care cancellation notices" by pressuring the state's Department of Insurance to change the definition of "cancellation." There is no dispute that the cancellations as normal people understand the word occurred (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Jonathan Haidt and Chris Wilson at Time.com claim that "your preferences in dogs, Internet browsers, and 10 other items predict your partisan leanings." So a left-leaning mag which is philosophically united with the crowd that insists that we must be equal opportunity friskers of 4 year-old children and 80 year-old grandmothers at airports because "we shouldn't profile" has no trouble profiling people as conservative or liberal based on the answers to 12 inane questions.
Conservative Rush Limbaugh — cat lover, rebellious teen, and Mac user — will certainly be amused at the questions in the survey, the authors' breezy contentions about what their answers supposedly mean, and the other assertions they make.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell refreshingly departed from their usual softball treatment of liberal guests, and pursued New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman about his new biography of Fox News's Roger Ailes. O'Donnell spotlighted how "critics...[are] saying...you're a younger, liberal-leaning journalist."
Both anchors also hounded Sherman for a political accusation in the very title of the bio – The Loudest Voice in the Room: How The Brilliant Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided A Country: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
"Republican lawmakers Thursday blamed the Obama administration for the stunning resurgence of Iraq’s al-Qaeda franchise and called on the White House to take assertive steps to help Baghdad beat back militant uprisings in the country’s west." That's how Ernesto Londono opened his January 10 story "Republicans blame Obama administration for al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq," a front-page-worthy story which Washington Post editors buried on page A10.
By contrast, the Post ran not one but two Chris Christie bridge-scandal stories on the Friday edition's front page. The other stories rounding out the front page centered on efforts to hash out a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan, the Washington Redskins announcing their new head coach, and privacy/data-collection concerns from dashboard computers in new cars.
A frontrunner for the award going to the most obvious media double standard of the week certainly has to be NBC reporter and Meet the Press host David Gregory.
Asking a question virtually no one in the press has asked about President Barack Obama in matters far weightier than Chris Christie's "Bridgegate," Gregory addressed the following tweet to New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker (HT Twitchy):
With Republicans tying themselves in knots over the Democrats' destructive, but superficially appealing, demand that unemployment benefits be extended to two and a half years, I return to my suggestion that Republicans stop playing defense and go on offense.
For every issue that MSNBC loves to prattle on about, gloating that it will cost Republicans this or that demographic, there's an equivalent issue to use against the Democrats. (The difference is: Our proposals would actually be good for the country.)
Lee set about spinning the results of the latest Quinnipiac Poll, which shows President Obama sitting atop a 41 percent approval rating, up from a low of 38 percent in December, but still a net negative approval rating. Lee used the slight uptick in approval as a springboard to forecast that the president's economically liberal spending agenda could change his and his party's fortunes (emphasis mine):
In the competition for most obvious Obama administration apparatchik at the Los Angeles Times (i.e., the biggest tool in the toolbox), Doyle McManus has to be considered a front-runner.
As I noted on Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), McManus, in a Sunday column, contended that "President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood." He even petulantly asked, "Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?" McManus was apparently so unconcerned about being seen as inconsistent that he didn't bother telling readers that he held exactly opposite positions on at least two Obama administration "scandals" — that's what he called them – just eight months ago (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall).
John Seigenthaler, the former NBC news anchor who now reads the news on Al Jazeera America, showed up on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report Tuesday night to undergo a faux-grilling from Stephen Colbert about his new employer. While explaining how he came to work at Al Jazeera, Seigenthaler remarked, “They offered me the chance to anchor a newscast that focused on serious news. In-depth journalism, unbiased reports.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Colbert, in character as usual, feigned skepticism, demanding:
Former Bush and Obama Secretary of Defense Robert Gates generally speaks warmly of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his forthcoming memoir. But there is one passage in which he expresses his dismay at Clinton admitting that the reason she opposed President Bush's troop surge in Iraq was strictly political rather than based on a genuine disagreement with the policy.
But fear not, Hillary boosters, for the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has your back, spinning away the admission in his 12-paragraph page A5 story in Wednesday's paper (h/t WMAL's Chris Plante, who addressed this on his January 8 radio program;emphasis mine):
I kept looking for any sign that Ta-Nehisi Coates, described as "a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues," was kidding in his Monday afternoon column about Melissa Harris-Perry when he called her "The Smartest Nerd in the Room." He wasn't.
When last seen here at NewsBusters, Coates was pretending that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has consistently widened during the past 20 years, when the reality is that almost all of the widening has occurred during the past five years for which data is available. That delusion is nothing compared to his assessment of Harris-Perry, excerpted after the jump (bold is mine):
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
Shortly before the new year, a number of religious organizations were given protection from the HHS abortion and contraception mandate. While social conservatives and defenders of the First Amendment cheered, numerous prominent media organizations manipulated basic scientific facts to deny that the mandate - required by federal law - forces people to fund abortion-inducing drugs.
The New York Times has done this as has NBC News. While Pew Research did not deny that the mandate requires abortion funding, its weaselly assessment of the debate surrounding the mandate was almost as bad. To wit, Pew stated that many with religious beliefs "oppose abortion and believe that using emergency contraception like the morning-after pill is akin to abortion" (emphasis added).
No, NPR didn't accidentally air the paranormal-themed radio show Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (heir to Art Bell's show) on Sunday morning. Instead, it was a credulous interview of psychiatrist Jim Tucker by NPR host Rachel Martin about the supposed science of reincarnation.
And given NPR's classification of the piece as a science piece, their vaunted Science Desk dutifully tweeted "Searching for Science Behind Reincarnation."