In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau "is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall."
It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that "the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report." That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall's elections. Everyone together now, say "How convenient."
Based on searches at their respective sites at 9:40 a.m. ET this morning, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Politico do not have stories on the fever-swamp left's two-days-old attempts to force storage company DropBox to reverse its appointment of Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.
The three outlets just cited, and the rest of the national establishment press, with the as usual notable exception of Fox News (in an opinion piece by Richard Grenell) and the unusual exception of UPI.com, appears to be following what I'll call the "hand-wringing template": Ignore the story until the left gets its dirty work done, and then file a timid story noting how the now-settled matter "raises free-speech issues." This is how a passive-aggressive mission is accomplished.
The primary objection to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the mammoth Dodd-Frank legislation passed in 2010, has been its unaccountability. It "is ensconced within the Federal Reserve," which frees it from congressional and presidential oversight. Even the Fed "is statutorily prohibited from 'intervening' in CFPB affairs."
It should surprise no one that Richard Cordray, the unaccountable agency's director, seems to believe that he and his kingdom are untouchable. Cordray, a Democrat who not coincidentally has been mentioned as a possible down-the-road candidate to be Ohio's governor, has, according to a whistleblower, presided over a "'pervasive' culture of intimidation and hostility within the bureau." Further, according to the Washington Free Beacon's coverage of the whistleblower's testimony at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Cordray personally told the whistleblower "to have her attorneys 'back down.'" a Wednesday story at the Politico by M.J. Lee represents nearly the full extent of establishment press coverage I could locate. Excerpts from Lee's Politico story follow the jump.
Though he didn't quite get to the "Shut up, he said" threshold, Politico's David Nather, in a Tuesday tome, argued that HealthCare.gov allegedly crossing the 7 million enrollment threshold leaves opponents blubbering, and supports the argument "that government can still solve big social problems" and is "a wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives."
It's as if Nather believes — and maybe he does, in which case he's woefully ignorant — that not achieving the enrollment target is about the only potential problem with HealthCare.gov. Uh, not exactly. Just off the top of my head, there's the lack of site security, the absence of back-office interaction with insurance carriers, miscalculations of subsidies, the system's outrageous cost, and the complete inability of enrollees to add, change or delete elements of what they submitted to correct inadvertent errors or reflect changes in their life circumstances. I'm sure that only scratches the surface. Excerpts from Nather's nattering follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The son of one of the largest liberal donors of all time campaigning against money in politics might seem a bit strange.
What's even stranger is that, while he was spearheading that campaign, he was simultaneously vice chairman and director of the board of his father's multi-billion-dollar Open Society Foundation. In 2011 alone, while Jonathan Soros was vice chairman and director of the board, OSF gave $58,013,593 to blatantly liberal organizations alone.
Over at Hot Air, Dustin Siggins writes that Andrea and Colin Chisholm "are getting enormous media attention." Perhaps, and I really hope so. Unfortunately, I found no evidence of any level of attention to the Chisholms, the apparently very rich couple who allegedly engaged in protracted fraud against the welfare systems of Florida and Minnesota for seven years, at several national establishment press outlets.
Here are some of the infuriating details from ABC's weekend "Good Morning America" show, a rare establishment press exception (bolds are mine):
Someone needs to tell the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown that it isn't 2008 any more. While they're at it, that person also needs to inform her that the Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, could give a rip about whether or not he is perceived as "cool," and certainly isn't Obama's "replacement."
Budoff Brown wrote tonight that President Barack Obama's meeting tomorrow with the Pope "is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own." Gag me. Obama's ability to move merchandise, one of the supposed indicators of "cool" tanked in the fall of 2009 and has never come back. Excerpts for readers who can stand more such drivel follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Here's an example of a gaffe which the left-loving press can't ignore — at least online.
Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley of Iowa spoke of the mortal dangers the nation faces if Republicans win back the Senate in November at a trial lawyers' fundraiser in Texas in January. Among those dangers is the near certainty that "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" will be put in charge of the Senate's Judiciary Committee. That "farmer" happens to be five-term Hawkeye State GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register's Iowa Politics Blog appears to have filed the first establishment press report on Braley's belittling, and revealed an important point which others covering the story are conveniently ignoring (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Risen is the Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist for The New York Times who has been in the Obama administration's crosshairs "in a years-long legal battle against the government to reveal one of his confidential sources, even petitioning the Supreme Court to hear his case." On Monday, according to Andrew Beaujon at Poynter.org, Risen, appearing at at a George Polk Awards conference called Sources and Secrets, went after the Obama administration's heavy-handedness towards the press (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Wednesday, the Politico's Dylan Byers, imitating the president his web site so loves and adores, unilaterally decided ("new rule") that those of us who are making the self-evident observation that President Barack Obama's foreign policy performance has been weak can't do so unless we articulate what he should be doing.
How quaint. I don't recall seeing, hearing or reading of anyone at Politico or in the rest of the establishment press trying to place such firm conditions on those who opposed the Iraq War or how it was being conducted, the Bush 43 tax cuts, or any other performance, initiative, or idea during the previous presidential administration. Byers' tweet and several choice responses to it follow the jump (HT Twitchy):
One of the more annoying aspects of establishment press coverage of many controversial issues is the outlets' tendency to act as if opposition to many things (really almost anything) which advance the left's agenda springs exclusively from Republicans. One obvious example is abortion, as if you can't be pro-life and libertarian or liberal (see: Nat Hentoff).
Another budding example has to do with governance of the Internet. Late Friday afternoon, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) announced its "intent to transition key Internet domain name functions" to "the global multistakeholder community." Obviously, there is Republican opposition to this move, but you don't have to be either to be opposed. Predictably, though, Jessica Meyers and Erin Mershon at the Politico headlined ("Defenders of Net transition: GOP off base") and framed their writeup as if that's the case. Excerpts from their report and an an excerpt from a blog post at the nonpartisan Information and Technology Innovation Foundation follow the jump.
As of 11 P.M. Eastern Time Sunday evening, searches at both the Associated Press and at the Politico on "radioactive" returned nothing relating to a comment made on TV by Russian "journalist" Dmitry Kiselyov reminding viewers that his country, as translated by the wire service AFP, "is the only one in the world "realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." Reuters also has a story here. Further evidence of AP disinterest is the fact that its two "10 Things to Know for Monday" relating to Russia as of 9:03 p.m. noted the West's intent to impose sanctions and penalties but did not mention the Russian threat.
Kiselyov isn't some freelancer mouthing off for "look at me" attention. As such, the failure of these two outlets to report what is clearly a serious escalation in rhetoric emanating from Russia is breathtakingly negligent, even by their non-standards. It's as if they're desperately trying to keep Kiselyov's statement from becoming an item on the U.S. morning news shows.
In a late Friday afternoon release, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent "to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community." The statement is full of the kind of dense bureaucratic language one tends to see when the agency is doing something really important but controversial.
Stating the situation more clearly, TheDomains.com calls it "the Offical Statement Of The US Giving Up Control Over ICANN" (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Americans for Limited Government has issued a press release"blasting the Obama Commerce Department for turning over control of the Internet to United Nations International Telecommunication Union." The one story in the press as of 7:30 p.m. was at the Politico, whose Erin Mershon appears to have caught wind of the news ahead of NTIA's release. Mershon takes eight paragraphs to tell readers to whom the functions are to be transitioned — and I don't think her dallying is mere sloppiness (bolds are mine):
During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, one of the main topics of discussion was the victory of Republican David Jolly over Democrat Alex Sink in the special election held on Tuesday to fill the seat in Florida's 13th congressional district that had been occupied for decades by Rep. Bill Young until the GOP official's death last year.
One guest -- Jim VandeHei, editor and co-founder of the liberal Politico website -- declared: “It’s really hard to spin” the loss because this is “bad news for the Democratic Party” as the country heads toward the midterm election in November. “Republicans suck slightly less than Democrats,” he added, “and that’s where they’re getting an advantage.” [See video below.]
Sharyl Attkisson, whose coverage of the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal won CBS Evening News an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2012, and also provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, announced her sudden departure from CBS on Monday afternoon in a post on Twitter: "I have resigned from CBS."
During an October 2013 report on CBS This Morning, Attkisson revealed a new weapons smuggling scandal surrounding the Obama administration that involved a grenade that was used to murder three police officers in Mexico. Several months earlier, in June 2013, the now former CBS correspondent revealed that her computer was hacked – something she had suspected for weeks:
During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin made what has turned out to be a prescient remark about the relevance of a U.S. president's resolve and its potential impact on Russia's posture with the old Soviet Union's satellite states. She observed: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Many in the press ridiculed that notion. Among them was Blake Hounshell, who was then blogging at Foreign Policy Magazine. Characterizing Palin's notion as "strange," he wrote: "As we've said before, this is an extremely far-fetched scenario." Hounshell, now a deputy editor at Politico Magazine, has handled Palin's self-effacing Facebook "I told you so" ("I could see this one from Alaska") and pile-ons by center-right blogs too numerous to mention with tweets demonstrating the class, dignity, and good sportsmanship you would expect from the high-brow commentariat, i.e., none (HT Twitchy).
Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat's career as Congress's longest-serving member will end with this session.
With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell's decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration's regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called "Obamacare." That emphasis on Obamacare "somehow" overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio's Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law's passage in March 2010. It's the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn't), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
From the Not a Parody Department: Politico tweeted out on Wednesday night: “The #Obamacare rollout is changing before our very eyes.”
Under the headline "Obamacare finally clears the tower," reporter David Nather promised “The Obamacare rollout is changing in front of our eyes — turning from a running joke into one big shoulder shrug. And that’s good news for the White House, because at this point, even basic competence is good news.” The spin got even lamer:
In his Tuesday night State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made the following pledge: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."
One would have every reason to believe from Obama's statement that the change will take effect quickly once the EO is issued — but it won't. Additionally, one would have every reason to believe that when it does take effect, it will increase the pay of anyone currently employed on federal contract work at a pay rate of under $10.10 per hour — but it won't do that either. Somehow, those "little" problems escaped "fact checkers" Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico, who, while they did catch other problems with the President's statement, swallowed a clearly false claim about its long-term impact:
I guess when you've run out of anything meaningful to say, you revert to your tired old one-liners, even when they are — or should be — embarrassing.
In early 2009, five days after President Obama's first State of the Union speech, Alex Castellanos, who at the time was apparenty a "Republican strategist," said the following on a CNN Sunday show: "I think, as a friend told me once, that -- listening to Barack Obama give a speech is like sex. The worse there ever was, was excellent." Tuesday night, as Politico's Lucy McCalmont reports, Castellanos was at it again:
To be fair, it started with the original story broken at the Dallas Morning News, where Wayne Slater's substantive story about Wendy Davis's problems with the truth was headlined "As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred."
"Blurred" is clearly a popular word with an establishment press which is determined to try to make this problem with Davis's basic credibility go away. The New York Times ("Accused of Blurring Facts of Stirring Life Story, Texas Lawmaker Offers Chronology") and NBCnews.com ("Off to the races: Wendy Davis' 'blurred' bio") have also gotten in on the "blurred" headline act (Perhaps surprisingly, the Associated Press and Politico, whose coverage I addressed yesterday, have not). So has CBS News, whose Rebecca Kaplan bent over backwards to try to keep Davis in a favorable light (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who is considered a hero of the pro-abortion crowd yet declared herself "pro-life" in November as her people attempted to bully the local media into twisting stories her way, is blaming her opponent for a Sunday Dallas Morning News story which pointed to significant discrepancies between her campaign biography and the truth.
It's pretty bad when I have to say that the Politico's Katie Glueck did a far better job with this story than Will Weissert at the Associated Press, but that's the case. Glueck at least challenged Davis's contention of an Abbott connection – getting a mushy, meaningless answer – and carried the unconditional denial of any contact from the Abbott campaign by DMN reporter Wayne Slater. Weissert delivered neither. Both missed something important Steve Ertelt at Life News noticed in a series of pathetic Davis tweets.
It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?
In June, the Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn filed a report with the following headline: "Kathleen Sebelius: Exchange enrollment goal is 7 million by end of March." She reported in her first two paragraphs that "7 million" is "how many people the Obama administration hopes to enroll in its new health insurance marketplaces by the end of March."
Apparently that clearly expressed target isn't supposed to matter now, and the White House is trying to pretend that it never existed. Of course, the press, including the Politico, has been helping them.
Barack Obama's favorability rating is in the toilet, there are crucial midterm elections next year that could decide the fate of his presidency, and what do you think his pollster wishes from the media in 2014?
According toPolitico's Mike Allen, Joel Benenson hopes "playbookers" will "[g]o one year without reporting any public polling data."
Drudge's headline linking to a Politico item by Carrie Budoff Brown and John Allen about the Obama administration's plans to aggressively identify and promote Obamacare successes in 2014 ("White House Plans to Step up Obamacare Propaganda in 2014") is far better than the tired one Politico itself used ("White House looks to spread good Obamacare news").
What Team Obama plans to pursue will be propaganda, because as it identifies and "spread(s) good news," it's going to have to ignore a far larger volume of bad news. An NBC investigative report (video at link; HT Political Outcast) two days ago about the situation at a Michigan car dealership makes that point about as well as it can be made (bolds are mine):
One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.