On her 1 p.m. ET MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell whined about Senate Republicans blocking some of the President's recent nominees and worried about the impact of Obama's sagging poll numbers: "...in terms of presidential power, polls affect votes....this is diminishing the President's clout, when he can't frighten – you know, have enough political weight to frighten everybody into line to try to peel off some Republican votes." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Noting that one of the nominees was sitting Congressman Mel Watt, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray warned: "You know, this something where we've often seen filibusters, we've seen nominations being blocked, but this is getting into very rare territory here."
The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky on Tuesday drew a faulty comparison between the rollout of ObamaCare and the 2005 implementation of President George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D program. The thesis of Tomasky’s article, titled, “Enough Already on HealthCare.gov. Don’t You Remember Medicare Part D?”, was that Republicans should try to help ObamaCare succeed just as Democrats, many of whom had voted against Medicare Part D, tried to help that law succeed after it was passed in 2005.
While NBC political director Chuck Todd appeared on Thursday's Today to report on President Obama's approval rating hitting a "record low" in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll following the failed ObamaCare rollout, he made sure to wrap up the segment by touting disaster for the GOP: "Things are so bad for them....Once again in our poll, the Republican Party had a new low in their personal rating, their brand rating. They had another low in their approval rating on Capitol Hill....As bad as things are for the President, they're still worse for the Republicans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Todd to tear down them down: "...see how Republicans are faring in this latest poll. They're the ones who shut down the government." Todd agreed with that assertion: "They are."
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.
"Bye Bye Birdie" is an old musical that survives in high school productions and in some people's memory bank. It debuted on Broadway in 1960 and was made into a film in 1963. One of the songs from the show might serve as an inspiration, if not a theme, for Republicans in the winter of their discontent over President Obama and congressional Democrats: "Put on a Happy Face."
A problem Republicans have had since the "glory days" of Ronald Reagan is that too many have forgotten how to be positive and affirming. Nobody likes to be around a sourpuss.
While discussing the numerous ObamaCare failures on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd felt it necessary to gratuitously bash Republicans: "And suddenly you have the picture of two parties, a Democratic Party led by the President that apparently doesn't know how to govern, has a competency issue when it comes to this health care website, juxtaposed next to a Republican Party who apparently has no interest in governing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd didn't bother to explain or justify his slam on the GOP, he simply stated it as if it were a fact.
John Dickerson didn't mince words about the "bad launch" of ObamaCare in his Tuesday item for Slate.com. The CBS News political director invoked one of deceased tyrant Kim Jong il's most infamous saber-rattling tactics: "Healthcare.gov launched with the fanfare and success of a North Korean missile."
Dickerson also rephrased his recent contention that "the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare. He stated that "when the website doesn't work and the promises of 2009 and 2010 are revised, questions of credibility infect everything the administration says. This can lead to a death spiral as administration officials make bold assertions to distract from the current challenges."
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):
During an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized the opportunity to tout Christie slamming fellow Republicans over federal relief efforts: "You said, quote, 'There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.' You said, 'They used the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board, placed politics above the oaths to our citizens.' Some of the other terms, 'callous indifference,' 'selfishness,' 'duplicity.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then used Christie's past criticism to scold the House GOP over the government shutdown: "You just made the rounds in Congress during the government shutdown. After a year, do you think that same group has learned lessons or is it the status quo?"
Two snares stand in the way of conservatives' fervent desire to dismantle Obamacare: 1) a possible perception that its problems are limited to the technical issues with the rollout and 2) the GOP's potentially suicidal impulse to bail Obama out.
Though the problems with the rollout are far more than website "glitches," they can and will be fixed. But once fixed, substantive problems will remain that will only be corrected if Obamacare is undone.
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):
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):
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 an interview with Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on Wednesday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in host and NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker desperately attempted to blame Republicans for the disastrous ObamaCare website rollout: "Congress repeatedly refused to authorize requests by the Obama administration for additional funding for the rollout of the health care law. Administration officials say that funding potentially could have made a difference. So does Congress, do your colleagues bear any responsibility for this rocky rollout for refusing that funding?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Blackburn easily dismissed the absurd notion with a fact check: "I would remind you that most website developers say an aggregator website, such as what healthcare.gov is, could be built easily for a half a million dollars. They have spent a half a billion dollars."
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).
Some media figures just can’t let go of the idea that opposition to ObamaCare is fueled by hatred of the president himself. On Wednesday’s The Cycle, co-host Toure engaged in some Matthewsian ranting against opponents of the health care law.
Near the end of a roundtable discussion about the failures of Healthcare.gov, Toure redirected everyone’s attention to what he saw as the major issue: [See video below the break.]
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe asserted that Republicans "have not tried to find any compassion" since last year's election as he reacted to comments from Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage on the number of his state's residents who are not working. Wolffe:
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.
Apparently PBS has decided to make like MSNBC and spend more time dissecting the Republican Party’s problems real, imagined, and/or overblown. On Monday’s PBSNewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff announced that the program would begin “a series of conversations about where the Republican Party goes from here.” The first installment, a discussion with former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), amounted to a lot of hand-wringing over the Tea Party.
Throughout the interview, Lott tried to keep the focus on positive steps Republicans can take, but Woodruff kept calling his attention back to the alleged problem of the Tea Party. The anchor reminded Lott that “you have factions in your party, I mean, all the way from the Tea Party to folks who sympathize with the Tea Party all the way to some moderates.” Interesting how she split the Tea Party into two groups while putting “some moderates” in one group. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
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):
Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank compared the Republican Party to a "sea monster" as he related that "various heads" who are speaking out.
Host Al Sharpton began by fretting over whether Tea Party members have "learned anything." Sharpton:
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.]
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 18, PoliticsNation show, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry characterized the government shutdown as Republicans "effectively impeaching" President Obama as she fretted that the GOP will create "crisis after crisis" so that Obama "never will have an opportunity to actually enact a second policy agenda."
Host Al Sharpton complained about Republicans talking about thwarting President Obama's agenda: