On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford repeatedly underlined that the launch of HealthCare.gov has been a fiasco. After Norah O'Donnell noted the "rough start to ObamaCare", Crawford blunted stated that "'rough start' could be the understatement of the year. It has been a complete disaster." She pointed out that "we can't even find anyone who's enrolled. The Miami Herald is now calling them urban legends."
The correspondent later spotlighted how "the failures [of ObamaCare] are well documented, but the success stories are not." She also asserted that "the backlash, the criticism, the complete failure of this rollout" would be more apparent if the partial government shutdown hadn't happened. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Amidst all the blather about Republicans going over the cliff and taking the world with them, a tantalizing bit of truth broke through on today's Morning Joe. Doomsaying notwithstanding, the GOP is actually positioned to do OK in 2014.
Making the comment particularly surprising was its source: none other than Barack Obama's former senior adviser himself—David Axelrod. View the video after 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.
CNN anchor Don Lemon once again ripped into Republicans on Tuesday's Tom Joyner Morning Show. Lemon claims that he is non-partisan, but given his repeatedtirades against the GOP and the Tea Party, one has to wonder about that.
The GOP is "dominated by aging white Americans and some very vocal bigots," Lemon insisted, and "no longer represents the changing demographics of this country." He said the party is "blinded by the Obama hate trees,""in a death spiral," and needs to lay off the "haterade."
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, after beginning a segment about a conservative rally in D.C. by displaying a Confederate Flag in the background, host Chris Hayes asked if connecting the Confederate Flag to the Tea Party was "fair" based on just one instance of its display.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams continued to blame Republicans for the government shutdown, asserting that the budget impasse "traces its history back to a determined core of GOP House members who are vehemently against ObamaCare and were willing to shut down the government because of it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, he took it a step further by hinting at a way to get rid of such troublesome members of Congress holding up President Obama's agenda: "These members happen to be from very conservative districts where they won by big margins, and their jobs are secure more or less. And in both parties there are congressional districts that are set up by the states to keep the parties in power. But some believe if the system stays this way, our politics will kind of stay this way."
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll produced a finding that must have delighted the entire NBC staff. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans blame congressional Republicans for the current government shutdown, while 31 percent blame President Obama. For the record, 13 percent said both were equally to blame. The pollsters did not allow respondents to blame Democrats in Congress.
This may have been one finding from a survey of only 800 adults in a nation of more than 300 million people, but MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt and her correspondents were so thrilled with the result that they repeated it nine times over three hours of Weekends with Alex Witt on Saturday. [See video below the break.]
Touting the results of an NBC News/Esquire magazine survey on Tuesday's NBC Today of the supposed political center in America, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaimed: "Interesting note, we asked the middle who they trust, guys, the most. And the answer is President Obama, Oprah Winfrey. The most trusted people according to those who fall in the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In response to the finding, co-host Matt Lauer turned to his fellow co-hosts and remarked: "Sorry about that, guys." Savannah Guthrie replied: "Oh, what, you thought we were in the running?" That prompted laughter from the group of journalists. Weatherman Al Roker added: "Yeah, I didn't think that was coming up." He then joked that Obama could run for a third term with Oprah as his running mate: "There's the ticket for 2016."
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.]
Monday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly ginned up the ideological struggle inside the Republican Party as it covered the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chip Reid spun the face-off inside the House Republican caucus as being between "staunch" Tea Party-aligned representatives inside the House and "mainstream" Republicans.
Reid later played up how House Speaker John Boehner could "face a dilemma" if the Senate came up with a compromise to end the shutdown, and that Boehner "can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or...he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Although Democrats stymied a bipartisan debt ceiling deal over the weekend, CNN's chief political analyst focused on poor polling for the Republicans in Congress on Monday, and wondered if it couldn't be like "Katrina" for the party in the long-run.
"I think public opinion, this has been a disaster for the Republican party, unmitigated. Everybody admits it. And the question is whether this is going to be short-term damage or long-term damage, a la Katrina for George W. Bush," Borger stated on Monday afternoon, concerning the current standoff over the shutdown and debt ceiling.
At the top of her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell wrung her hands over "angry Tea Party protesters" who gathered in Washington over the weekend to denounce the Obama administration's politicization of the government shutdown being "whipped up" Sarah Palin and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the program, she contemptuously remarked to The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "I'm really struck by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin over the weekend at these protests saying that it's, you know, terrible to be taking advantage of veterans....who was it who started playing politics with this thing in the first place?"
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 11, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called the Tea Party Republican faction a "very small minority" and accused them of causing "economic destruction."
After host Al Sharpton noted polling finding that Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is substantially more popular with Tea Party Republicans than other groups, Milbank responded:
CNN anchor Don Lemon shouted down a conservative guest after pushing him to admit he should be "embarrassed" over certain protesters at Sunday's Million Vet March.
CNN played a video of controversial protesters at Sunday's Million Vet March telling President Obama to "leave town" and "put the Koran down." Lemon tried to link this to the GOP as a whole. [Video below the break.]
In an interview with Republican Senator Bob Corker on Monday's NBC Today – after Democrats sabotaged a bipartisan Senate deal to raise the nation's debt limit over the weekend – co-host Savannah Guthrie was still determined to place all blame for the budget impasse on the GOP: "As you well know, the polls have been absolutely devastating to Republicans. Do you think that Republican Party deserves credit or blame, however you want to put it, for this shutdown and now this looming crisis with the debt ceiling?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Corker responded: "...in fairness, the other side of the aisle seeing what they thought was weakness, also moved to a place that was an overreach....I don't really focus on who gets blame, I was elected to try to solve problems and I think we're on the verge of possibly doing that today."
Did you really have to be a pluperfect political prognosticator to have foreseen that none of Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann or Donald Trump was going to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee?
Yet on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough—by way of establishing his fortune-telling street cred—boasted of having made those predictions, before proceeding to claim that: 1. Ted Cruz will not be the 2016 Republican nominee; and 2. there's a "very real chance" that Cruz will break from the GOP and run as an independent. View the video after the jump.
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.
Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein of ABC News teamed up recently for an online interview with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Posted to the ABC News/Yahoo! News “Power Players” blog, the interview consisted mostly of Karl and Klein trying to get Jindal to criticize his fellow Republicans, particularly those in Congress.
Karl got right down to the GOP-infighting business with his first question: [Watch the video and read the accompanying article here.]
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in tagging Tea Party Republicans as "crazies" as O'Donnell fretted over whether conservative activists Charles and David Koch would be able to convince Tea Party Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling issue.
[***UPDATED*** October 11, 11:15 ET, More analysis and full transcript added]
In an interview with Senator John McCain for The Daily Beast's annual Hero Summit on Thursday, the blog's editor-in-chief Tina Brown launched into an unhinged rant blaming conservatives for the government shutdown: "The story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how do we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul's bitch?...Why aren't the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We're always saying why don't, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
British historian Niall Ferguson brought a breath of fresh air to the set of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, effortlessly cutting through the show’s typical left-wing spin.
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were engaged in their new favorite pastime – slamming Ted Cruz and other GOP “extremists” – when Ferguson jumped in and suggested that President Obama may also be culpable in the current budget impasse: [See video below.]
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) slammed the "false narrative" of the media that Republicans are to blame for the shutdown. Her broadside came on Thursday's New Day.
She insisted, "remember that the mainstream media really has given a false narrative. Over and over and over again, the mainstream media has blamed the Republicans for this, and yet the only party that has put offer after offer after offer on the table has been the Republicans." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Wrapping up a report on the government shutdown for Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander eagerly promoted negative political fallout for Republicans: "Both parties are taking a hit in their approval ratings as a result these days. But the damage to the Republican brand appears to be proving to be much worse. A new Gallup poll...shows only 28% of Americans say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party, that's the lowest number since they began asking that question twenty-one years ago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What Alexander didn't bother to mention was an Associated Press poll that showed President Obama's approval rating having dropped to 37%, with disapproval at 53%. Following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer made a feeble attempt to provide balance to the slanted coverage: "No picnic in that [Gallup] poll for the Democratic Party either, but the Republicans seem to be taking the bigger hit at the moment." Again, no mention of Obama's low approval rating.
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Tuesday's Crossfire (HT commenter Gary Hall), liberal Democratic guest Bill Burton tried to impress the show's hostesses and guest David Limbaugh when he said of President Obama: "More people have jobs than they did when he took office."
Wow. That's about the most unimpressive statement I've heard in years, and it would be beyond pathetic but for the performance of one state. Let's look at the facts:
Appearing on the Tuesday, October 8, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Joy Reid asserted that Republicans are "taking hostages" and have "shot a hostage" as they "went ahead and shut the government down." She began her over the top metaphor:
The Daily Beast is ramping up the attacks on conservatives who don’t believe a catastrophe would result if the United States reaches its debt limit. On Monday, the Beast churned out a story ripping debt-ceiling “denialists,” and on Tuesday, another article slammed debt-ceiling “truthers.”
Patricia Murphy’s Monday article, titled “The GOP’s Top 10 Debt Ceiling Denialists,” was a sort of opinion/straight news hybrid infused with more than a hint of derision. Murphy essentially mocked the “denialists” in her opening paragraph: