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.
CBS This Morning did its best over two days to put the most positive spin on the rollout of the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. On Saturday, the newscast turned to Bloomberg's Peter Gosselin, who likened the exchanges to "shopping for anything online on Amazon". However, the program failed to point out that Gosselin once worked in the Obama administration, and advised HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on health policy.
Two days later, the morning show turned to CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger, who followed Gosselin's lead in likening the exchanges to a popular website: "This is really like going to shop for a flight on Travelocity." Schlesinger also noted that ObamaCare "has to get young, healthy people in it, or else the math does not work". However, she insisted just moments later that the marketplaces will "work out all right", despite the initial glitches. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Joshua Freed's Friday afternoon report on the week's results in the stock market at the Associated Press spent nine paragraphs telling readers how the current budget battle in Washington and possible government shutdown are causing stocks to retreat.
Though he obviously didn't admit it, Freed's narrative fell apart in later paragraphs as he discussed "mixed economic signals" which aren't mixed at all. They range from "pretty bad" to "really bad." Excerpts, mostly about the "mixed signals," follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If President Barack Obama is losing Al Hunt, there is definitely trouble in Lefty-land.
But let's not go too far. In the midst of leveling criticisms at Obama as "bordering on incompetence," the former host of CNN's Capital Gang and executive editor at Bloomberg News, who is now a Bloomberg View columnist and host of a Bloomberg TV's Political Capital Sunday news show, cited three examples of supposedly indisputable George W. Bush administration incompetence, none of which fits the description.
Liberal comedian Bill Maher recently revealed how he worked his way through college: pot dealing – according Bloomberg Businessweek.
In the Sept. 9 issue, Maher admitted, “Selling pot allowed me to get through college and make enough money to start off in comedy.” Maher attended Cornell University to earn an English degree in 1978. The “Business News, Stock Market, & Financial Advice” magazine dedicated a bio page to Maher, now a comedian, producer and host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
There are two key words missing from the report Bloomberg's Kasia Klimasinska & Shobhana Chandra published Tuesday morning — a writeup that is so incredibly sunny and over-the-top that is probably would have embarrassed the Old Soviet Union's Pravda in its heyday.
One is "income." The reason is obvious. Real median household income is still way below where it was when the recession ended four long years ago. The other absent word is "deficit." This enables Bloomberg's pathetic pair to glide though a discussion of the national debt-ceiling situation and make Republicans look like the heavies. The final problem is that they act as if we're in the fifth year of unbroken expansion, when we're not. Excerpts follow the jump.
Reporter Greg Giroux (who is also white, if bean-counting is important) began this way: “The core group of Republicans who are pushing the House toward a showdown with the White House over the debt ceiling and government spending is made up of 41 members -- all white men except for two.” They were studying the conservative “Caucus of No.”
Anyone remember all the huffing and puffing from the establishment press about how third-quarter economic growth was going to be great — so please stop worrying about how weak the past three quarters (annualized rates of 0.1%, 1.1%, and 1.7%, respectively) have been?
Oops. On Friday, the Census Bureau reported that new-home sales dropped over 20% in July to an annual rate of 394,000 from June's original reading of 497,000, which was itself revised down to 455,000. Today, the bureau revealed that durable goods orders fell sharply in July, bringing about yet another appearance at Bloomberg News of its favorite word during the past five years about the economy, and yet another instance of the stock market's apparent pleasure with bad news for the rest of us:
A liberal media member actually said something negative about Al Sharpton.
Appearing on PBS’s Inside Washington, Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson said Friday, “We’ve gone from Martin Luther King to the Reverend Al Sharpton, and as a leader, as he is trying to be this weekend, it’s very dispiriting” (video follows with commentary):
A November 15, 2010 blog post by Michael S. Derby at the Wall Street Journal ("San Francisco Fed Official Says QE2 Is Working") told us that "The Federal Reserve‘s recently announced plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to improve economic growth is having a positive effect on growth." The Fed official involved also predicted "the U.S. gross domestic product to come in at 2.5% this year (2010), and at 3.5% next year and 4.5% the year after that."
Uh, not exactly. Actual GDP results: 2.5% in 2010 (that was a gimme), followed by 1.8% and 2.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Almost three years letter, the San Fran Fed's acknowledged result of that effort at "quantitative easing" — it "added about 0.13 percentage point to real GDP growth in late 2010" — is starkly different, and is only "positive" if you think a football team managing one field goal in four quarters is "positive." Of course, though it should be, the news is getting very little coverage.
On Friday, Eric Holder's Department of Justice gave the memory-hole treatment to wildly inflated statistics released last October about the number of cases and the amount of money involved in DOJ's mortgage fraud enforcement efforts.
Bloomberg News reporters who had discovered that the original numbers were suspect had been getting stonewalled for months in their efforts to get answers to their queries, and finally got them through the document-dump route. The differences are stark.
Joe Scarborough offered one of the most interesting ObamaCare metaphors to date on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming that President Obama’s signature health care reform is “like a zombie” that is “neither alive or completely dead.” The MSNBC host added that the law “just sort of slowly marches on,” amidst a barrage of criticism from both the right and the left.
Scarborough’s panel kicked off the segment by discussing Josh Green’s latest column in Bloomberg Businessweek, in which Green argued that the Obama administration is losing the battle over the ironically-titled Affordable Care Act on Twitter. MSNBC host Thomas Roberts turned the discussion to the fast-approaching open enrollment period for ObamaCare, which begins on October 1:
MSNBC contributors Jonathan Alter and Joy Reid sound much like a good metronome: their commentary never changes, marching on at an endless, fixed pace. Alter and Reid have made a career at the Lean Forward network out of comparing Republicans to slave owners, terrorists, and drunks.
Their latest assault on the GOP came on Friday’s Now, with Reid serving as guest host in place of Alex Wagner. Discussing the latest attempt by Senate Republicans to defund ObamaCare, Alter blasted the “suicide caucus” GOP, claiming “smarter conservatives understand” that shutting down the government over ObamaCare “is suicidal.”
Former Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) drifted a bit too far off MSNBC’s pro-Obama message on Thursday’s Now with Alex Wagner, receiving a strong left-wing rebuke after suggesting that President Obama should be willing to compromise with Republicans on upcoming budgetary battles.
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid likened Republicans to terrorists, claiming that the president’s situation is like “when somebody is threatening to bomb the stadium.” Reid rejected Rendell’s call for bipartisanship, instead pushing her offensive analogy even further:
After this, maybe the Pony Express will be the next thing to come back as part of a green initiative. Environmentalists and Bloomberg Businessweek are advocating that the shipping industry backtrack 100 years and reintroduce the clipper ship. Clipper ships dominated the shipping industry in the mid-1800s, until they were edged out by steam powered ships.
Businessweek ironically labeled their graphic for this July 18 article “Shipping’s High-tech Future.” While these clipper ships at least come with a few 21st Century bells and whistles, like mechanically rotating masts and supplemental biomethane fuel, this push for change doesn’t come from innovation or efficiency. Instead, it answers a new wave of regulations by the International Maritime Organization mandating how much sulfur fuel can be used by ships. Businessweek also claimed that going back to this system that shared a time period with the stage coach would prevent “about 84,000 deaths a year worldwide from marine emissions.”
President Barack Obama touted benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a speech at the White House Thursday, claiming his signature health care bill is “doing what it’s designed to do.” The president also acknowledged the “glitches” that have impacted the implementation of the law, including his announced one-year delay of a so-called “employer mandate” requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance.
Alex Wagner, and most of her Thursday Now panel, came to the defense of the president over ObamaCare and its implementation, while blasting Republicans for being “reluctant to embrace” the unpopular bill. Wagner invited on White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri to tout the legislation’s purported benefits, but included no conservatives on her panel to challenge Palmieri’s claims.
Today, as the wire service AFP reported in a story carried at Yahoo.com, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the question and answer exchange after his prepared testimony, told the House Financial Services Committee that "If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank."
That assessment of the economy's fragility qualifies as news, especially given the Obama administration's continued claim that the economy is "continuing to recover at a promising rate." Outlets besides AFP virtually ignored Bernanke's soundbite, which should be considered scary to anyone who realizes that Big Ben can't go on "stimulating" at his current rate forever.
Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson tied immigration reform to the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, claiming Republican voters oppose the Senate immigration bill because they believe “immigrants are, you know, people in hoodies.” While the inflammatory line would no doubt be well-received on a liberal network like MSNBC, it seems somewhat unbecoming of a professional political journalist.
Suffice it to say, Carlson was not called out by her fellow panelists for the hyperbolic comment. Carlson also commended Thomas Friedman’s latest op-ed in The New York Times, entitled “If Churchill Could See Us Now,” in which Friedman – who recently held up China as a paragon of greatness, so long as they don’t emulate the “American Dream” – blasted House Republicans for making this country “un-great”:
Appearing on Friday's Political Capital show on Bloomberg News, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson -- formerly of CNN and Time magazine -- charged that Republicans are opposed to "giving dignity to immigrants" as she recounted reluctance by Republicans to entertain granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Carlson:
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough scolded the media on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming mainstream outlets acted as “lap dogs” to the Obama administration’s messaging on voter ID proposals during the 2012 election. Scarborough also pushed back against his liberal panel’s repeated attempts to connect voter ID laws to actual instances of racist voter suppression in the 1960s Jim Crow South.
The discussion came in wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday morning to overturn Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which required certain states, mostly southern, to pre-clear any changes to voting laws with the Department of Justice. Josh Green, of Bloomberg Businessweek, shared a Friday column in which he suggested the main purpose of voter ID laws were to “limit access to the polls” for minority voters. Scarborough pushed back on Green’s claims:
While government spying on citizens has been a hot topic of conversation lately, it’s worth noting that such snooping can also happen in the private sector. The Bloomberg wire service, founded by anti-gun nut New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, has admitted that its reporters have been spying on customers of its business data service for years and using that information to generate news stories.
Through an established company policy, reporters for the news service were given exclusive access to private customer records for anyone they wanted to look up. Once they pulled up a user’s records, they had the ability to see that person’s last login date, his contact information, view her requests for technical support, and even see what types of data that the customer was calling up within the vast Bloomberg financial database.
Appearing on Friday's NBC Today to push his new 448-page love letter to President Obama about the 2012 election – laughably titled, The Center Holds – left-wing Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Alter gushed: "I think this is, you know, partly just to place this in the history of this country. It was an extraordinarily important election....And I think there's also a personal lesson from Barack Obama, and that's of perseverance..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the promotional segment, weatherman Al Roker teed up Alter's sales pitch: "President Obama in 2010, when his party faced humiliating losses in the midterm election....[his] re-election certainly in doubt. So, how did he end up coming out on top and what can we learn from this?" The headline on-screen announced: "Lessons Learned Through Obama's Leadership."
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt featured two liberal journalists on his nightly program this week, and both joined the chorus of media outrage at the Obama administration over the Justice Department’s recent AP probe. Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Alter called Eric Holder’s explanation of the probe “pathetic” and suggested that President Obama should “apologize to journalists” over the scandal, while Michael Shear of the New York Times was frosted by the “absolutely chilling” way that the Obama/Holder DOJ has treated journalists like criminals.
Just last week, Alter fretted over the administration’s scandals with Chris Matthews on Hardball, claiming that White House staffers had “an unhealthy love” for Obama. On Wednesday, Alter blasted the administration for their “especially aggressive” attitude towards reporters, calling the Justice Department’s recent actions “disturbing."
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
It says something about the seriousness of the rest of the news during the past several days when a story about unethical spying by reporters working for a company founded and built by the current mayor of New York City barely makes a ripple.
It has been alleged, and now admitted, that Bloomberg reporters monitored terminal login activity to develop stories about possible Wall Street executive departures before anyone else outside the entities involved knew and for other news-gathering purposes. The practice appears to go back to when Gotham Mayor Michael Bloomberg was still at the helm of Bloomberg LP, as seen in the bolded sections in the excerpt from a Saturday CNBC news story which follows the jump:
Here's a headline I bet you thought you'd never see written by a liberal columnist: "How Sarah Palin Is Right About Washington."
Yet there it was at Monday's Bloomberg View written by none other than Margaret Carlson who most of you likely remember as one of the perilously liberal contributors to the old CNN political talk show Capital Gang:
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. As I noted in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), three establishment press outlets (CNN, Bloomberg, and Reuters) pronounced the result "disappointing" -- but not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, whose headline read "AFTER NEAR-STALL IN LATE 2012, US ECONOMY PICKS UP," and whose content described the economy as having "quickened its pace" as "the strongest consumer spending in two years fueled a 2.5 percent annual growth rate in the January-March quarter."
It turns out that the AP pair's enthusiasm was not only not shared at other news organizations. It wasn't even shared within AP, as will be seen after the jump.
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.