On November 19, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "[W]e still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January" for those who have enrolled in plans through HealthCare.gov.
On Black Friday, while almost no one was paying attention, Alex Nussbaum at Bloomberg News reported that "The administration is setting up a temporary process ... (in which) insurers will estimate what they are owed rather than have the government calculate the bill." Somehow, they'll settle up (or "true up") at the detailed level later. Tuesday evening, Roberta Rampton and Caroline Humer at Reuters covered this development. The Reuters item, which went live about an hour before Megyn Kelly's broadcast last night, moved the Fox News host to treat it as her lead story.
On Thursday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that the White House Correspondents Association, along with "dozens of associations & media outlets", sent a letter of protest to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Attkisson outlined in subsequent Tweets that the letter blasted the Obama administration for restricting the access of photojournalists at certain presidential events, "while releasing government photos and videos of the same events".
Politico's Hadas Gold posted the full text of the letter to Carney in a Thursday item, which was signed by "leading media outlets like ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, The Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Yahoo News". In the letter, the WHCA board asserted that the Obama White House's policy was a "troubling break from tradition", and hinted that it ran counter to the President's claim that his was "the most transparent administration in history":
Striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy tragically devastated communities causing an estimated $50 billion in damages. By the end of January 2013, a relief bill was passed for Sandy aid, after the bill was delayed because of wasteful spending.
House Republicans opposed a pork-ridden $60 billion Senate bill ($10 billion higher than damage estimates) and chose not to vote on it. Politicians, including some Republicans, and the media criticized them for delaying this legislation. A $51 billion bill was passed by both houses of Congress by the end of January, after a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill passed in early January.
The Obama Labor Department announced yesterday a new regulation that mandates that home health care workers be subject to the federal minimum wage and federal time-and-a-half overtime requirements. Reporting the story for the Reuters news wire, correspondent Amanda Becker hailed the move, noting that newly sworn-in Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was "setting an assertive tone" with the regulation. "Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home," Becker quoted Perez as exulting.
Nowhere in her 18-paragraph story -- which I found published on page A20 of the September 18 Washington Post -- did Becker turn to critics of the new regulation, which is not slated to go into effect until January 1, 2015, after the crucial 2014 midterm elections. By contrast, Wall Street Journal reporters Melanie Trottman and Kris Maher gave their readers both sides of the story in their September 18 front-pager, "Regulators Boost Wages, Overtime for Health Aides." Indeed, Trottman and Maher wasted no time noting there are two sides to the policy argument, mentioning objections by "some business officials" in their lead paragraph (emphases mine):
A Soros-funded journalism organization also has copies of secret intelligence files from NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Reuters revealed this during an Aug. 30 article that called ProPublica an “independent investigative journalism group,” and made no mention of its political left-wing leanings. ProPublica is a liberal investigative journalism outfit that has received $300,000 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations since 2000 and millions of dollars from the liberal Sandler Foundation.
According to the Reuters story, the British Government is asking The New York Times to destroy its copies of British intelligence documents, but “[t]o date, no-one has contacted ProPuiblica.” The British news outlet The Guardian also had Snowden documents, which it said have since been destroyed. Both the Guardian and The New York Times are listed as partners on ProPublica’s website.
We at NewsBusters have repeatedly raked Reuters over the coals for years now on various issues -- particularly their steadfast refusal in numerous stories to call terrorists "terrorists." But today a kudos is in order as the news wire -- in reporting Private Bradley Manning's desire to undergo hormone therapy to take on the persona of a woman named Chelsea -- refuses to call Manning a "she," something that Time magazine and NBC's Savannah Guthrie, among other journalists, are doing.
In Susan Heavey and Ian Simpson's 24-paragraph story this afternoon, the only times Manning was described as a "she" was when his lawyer was directly quoted [article accessed via ChicagoTribune.com]:
Alarm bells are ringing over the status of Obamacare's privacy protection system, which is scheduled to start October 1 despite missed deadlines in getting it ready to operate. CNN has made no mention of the Inspector General report on the missed deadlines.
Reuters said the government was "months behind" in testing the system's security, where personal information would be stored to determine a person's eligibility for subsidies in purchasing health insurance at state exchanges. If the system was rolled out as scheduled before it was ready, "The most likely serious security breach would be identity theft," Reuters said.
The Reuters news wire has an interesting little piece today that reveals that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos not only seems to have agreed to buy the Washington Post for much, much more than its market value, but that agreed to the initial asking price rather than try to haggle it down.
As interest in the alleged warming of the planet wanes, the global warming inquisition is hoping to make an example of a heretical reporter whose only sin is healthy skepticism.
The enviro-Left is busy attempting to subject London-based Paul Ingrassia, an American journalist brought in by Reuters to beef up its worldwide news operation, to a digital auto-da-fé for insisting that the 2,800 journalists at the news agency at least try to provide fair and balanced accounts of the events of the day.
"New state restrictions on clinics that provide abortions could leave millions of women -- many of them poor and uninsured -- without easy access to cancer screenings and other basic health care services," worried Jake Grovum of the Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline news agency in his heavily-slanted July 24 piece at USAToday.com headlined "Anti-abortion measures may hit women's health care." Grovum quoted two foes of abortion regulation laws -- making sure to give one of them the last word in his 16 paragraph story. By contrast, he cited just one pro-life proponent of clinic regulation, Alabama State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin.
But aside from the article's imbalance and the all-too-common meme that women only have abortion clinics to turn to for free or low-cost health care -- patently untrue as we've noted time and again -- Grovum's article was off-base for suggesting that abortion clinics will become an endangered species in states which regulate them. By contrast, as Lisa Maria Garza of Reuters explained in her July 18 story, "Why many abortion clinics in Texas may stay open despite new law,"abortion-rights advocates who study changes in abortion laws for a living admit that clinic closures might not be a widespread as feared by the Wendy Davis-types in the pro-choice lobby (emphasis mine):
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.
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
It isn’t often that 0.065 percent of something becomes its defining characteristic. But that’s what happened in Paris on Sunday. After a peaceful pro-traditional-marriage march had already ended, 96 protesters – less than 0.065 percent of the 150,000 demonstrators – were arrested for refusing to disperse and skirmishing with police. But from the way the media covered the march, one would think the demonstration itself was made up of violent rioters clashing with police forces.
“French pro-traditional marriage march turns into a riot,” announced The Examiner. Reuters followed suit, starting off their article with a 30 pictures slideshow, of which at least 24 shots were related to the post-march rogue groups of rioters. (Only picture #30 provided a clear view of the streets filled to overflowing with the tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators.) Reuters admitted that “the rally was peaceful throughout much of the day,” but the second half of the article was ominously entitled “WARNINGS OF VIOLENCE IGNORED” and discussed the possibility of the march turning aggressive.
Over the weekend, the Reuters news wire posted a factually inaccurate piece about female priesthood. On April 27, they said that a Kentucky woman, Rosemarie Smead, was ordained “as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.” Mead is one of 150 women worldwide that are ordained priests within their congregations, as they’ve chosen not to “wait for the Roman Catholic Church.” Yet, the piece is riddled with inaccuracies, which wouldn’t be the first time Reuters got something demonstratively wrong.
Fresh off their George Soros obituary fiasco, Mary Wisniewski, who authored the piece, noted how 70 percent of U.S. Catholics support female priesthood, according to a NYT/CBS News poll. She added that:
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.
Politico's "About" page consists of two rotating graphics: One says: "More reporters. Better coverage." The other: "A distinctive brand of journalism driving the conversation."
It's hard to make a case that Politico's coverage is "better" (than what -- the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press? That would be setting the bar pretty low). And while it is distinctive, the web site should replace the "c" in "distinctive" with a "k." In one example of stinky distinctiveness, Katie Glueck spent four paragraphs smearing the NRA by inference in a story about evidence found at the home of Newtown, Connecticut mass murderer Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy before recognizing the NRA's response that neither person was ever a member of the organization (bolds are mine throughout this post:
On Wednesday, Bruno Waterfield at the UK Telegraph relayed that "Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe." That's "would," not "could." The Associated Press hasn't had the nerve to correctly characterize what Dijsselbloem said, and now Reuters itself has gotten cold feet.
Today, on the third anniversary of the enactment of state-managed healthcare, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, it's worth noting a precursor of what we can expect from the establishment press as the law's implementation presses on. It can be summed up in eight words: "Hype the alleged good. Ignore the obviously bad." Distilled in four words: "Toe the administration line."
Two examples of how the press is ignoring the obviously bad came from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in its March 6 caoverage of the contents of the Federal Reserve's "beige book" released that day. The Fed's report contained five specific comments, four of them negative and one neutral, about the current and imminent impact of ObamaCare. None made it into either AP report. Many other outlets also ignored or minimized those comments.
There's a reason why Media Research Center sister site CNS News had to put out a story about how much the government has spent so far this year -- $1.505 tillion -- after Wednesday's release of the February Monthly Treasury Statement: Two of the three major wire services failed to report that obviously important number, and the third saved it for their writeup's final sentence.
What follows are excerpts from the respective Wednesday reports at Bloomberg, Reuters and the Associated Press.
Naomi O'Leary's Tuesday article for Reuters about a piece of "artwork" blasting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI could have been mistaken for a press release, as the journalist merely gave a platform for the same-sex couple behind the display to voice their anti-Catholic views. Most of the quotes in O'Leary's write-up came from artists Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, "the first Italian gay couple to be married when they wed in Holland in 2002."
The correspondent emulated a publicist as she spotlighted how the exhibition is supposedly a "life-size model of Benedict in a confessional box, his sumptuous red and cream-colored robes spread about him."
Frank Bajak of the AP lionized Venezuelan autocrat and "fighter" Hugo Chavez minutes after his death on Tuesday, playing up in the second sentence of his item how the "former paratroop commander and fiery populist...outsmarted his rivals time and again." Bajak later hyped Chavez as a "master communicator and savvy political strategist."
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.
Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.