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.
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.
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:
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):
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:
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:
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):
Tea Party conservative Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) are nothing more than a racist "clavern of sociopaths" who are eager to saddle the country's first black president with a default on the nation's debt. That was the latest foaming-at-the-mouth bile from ultra-liberal Daily Beast's contributor Michael Tomasky this morning.
"Clavern," of course, is not a real word, but "klavern" is the term the KKK uses to refer to one of its local chapters. Of course, Tomasky would have to conduct a seance to talk to the last member of the U.S. Senate who knew what a klavern was from person experience -- former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) -- and the only black member of the U.S. Senate is conservative Republican Tim Scott (S.C.) -- a staunch opponent of ObamaCare -- but those inconvenient facts don't fit Tomasky's simplistic boil-everything-down-to-Republican-racism narrative (emphasis mine)
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.
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
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.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison yesterday. As has been the case for nearly six years as his scandals and prosecution have unfolded (seen here in dozens of NewsBusters posts), press coverage has usually avoided the inconvenient fact that Kilpatrick is a Democrat, and almost completely ignored Barack Obama's hearty endorsement of him during the early stages of his 2008 presidential campaign. A YouTube video from a May 2007 speech at the Detroit Economic Club shows Obama thanking Kilpatrick for "doing an outstanding job of gathering together the leadership at every level of Detroit, to bring about the kind of renaissance that all of us anticipate for this great city."
News outlets failing to note Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation yesterday included the New York Times, CBS in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press in an item carried at USA Today, and Mike Tobin at Fox News. The Associated Press outdid itself in this regard, as will be explained after the jump.
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn't ask for Obamacare, they don't want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren't accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work -- or firing them -- to avoid the law's mandates.
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:
While a great deal of attention has deservedly been given to Kathleen Sebelius's refusal to directly answer comedian Jon Stewart's question about why Obamacare's individual mandate was not been deferred until 2015 like the employer mandate was, at least one of her other comments about the wonders of the government-controlled "marketplace" has been ignored, and shouldn't be.
Her supposedly expert observation, staring at about the 4:35 mark of the video found here (HT Hot Air): "People who have been waiting for a long time finally have a market to choose from." ... "You can also then figure out if your doctor's in the plan that you want, if the network of hospitals is in the plan you want, what kind of drugs you take, is that in the plan you want. You've never been able to do that before." She took it further, saying that if you tried to shop around for insurance companies, "You would never know what's there. You might deal with one agent, one broker. ..." Stewart asked, "So this is the first mall?" Sebelius answered, "You bet." What horse manure.
Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let's look at some examples.
Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on record as saying, "We shouldn't abandon the public schools."
Poor Carl Bernstein: he's suffering a bad bout of MSM nostalgia. He longs for the good old media days when the news was dominated by the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the then three broadcast networks. They could slam Republicans with impunity, without any conservative media counterweight.
In covering the shutdown, today's media culture, kvetches Carl, is just too darn fair and balanced in its treatment of those lying, McCarthyite Republicans. That's why President Obama and the congressional Dems' poll numbers are surprisingly bad. Such was Carl's complaint on today's Morning Joe. View the video after the jump.
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney's answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won't have to wait to see how the nation's healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let's get the Blaze's rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):
In a story published early this morning by Manu Raju at the Politico which is primarily about Senate Majority Harry Reid's plans to aggressively pursue reelection in 2016, the Nevada senator took shots at the establishment press for "trying so hard to be fair that you are unfair."
Proving Reid wrong in real time, Raju failed to mention Reid's response last week to a question by Dana Bash at CNN — which by the way, as Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted earlier today, has been pounding Republicans ever since as if to compensate. Bash asked Reid if it would be worth it to continue to fund clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health if doing so could help one child with cancer. His answer, on tape: "Why would we want to do that?" Excerpts from the Raju's report follow the jump (HT Ed Driscoll; bolds are mine):
(UPDATE, 11:40 a.m.: AmberAlert.gov is working again.)
In yet another news story which has bubbled up through social media and the blogosphere and which will test the establishment press's willingness to ignore obvious news, the Obama adminstration's Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder has taken AmberAlert.gov offline.
To the extent that it interrupts what DOJ has identified as one of the three components of its national AMBER strategy for "a Coordinated AMBER Network," the move could make locating and saving missing and exploited children more difficult. Meanwhile, the 83% of the government which isn't shut down includes the following: