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.
The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
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):
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and committed the Original Sin of the liberal imagination. Peruse leftwing sites for observances of Columbus Day and you learn that the intrepid explorer brought only pillage, rape, murder, and enslavement to Eden of the Americas.
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.
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.]
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):
Salon.com, which attacked Disney earlier in 2013 for its apparent lack of LGBT characters, plunged into a new depth of left-wing wackiness in a Saturday post that targeted a 15-year-old video game. Writer Jon Hochschartner unleashed against "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" for its supposedly "deeply problematic" handling of "class, race, gender and animal rights".
The website identified Hochschartner as a "freelance writer from upstate New York", but it failed to disclose that he took part in Occupy Wall Street's 2011 encampment in New York City, and he was among the hundreds who got arrested when the NYPD forced the far-left activists from Zuccotti Park.
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.
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):
"This is a welcome change for Democrats who thought Obama was too accommodating to Republicans during previous crises," Bolton noted, adding, "Simply put, they believe less is more when it comes to Obama’s involvement in negotiations with the GOP" (emphasis 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:
That was also the case during the last major government shutdown in 1995-1996, but private homeowners on the area's land were allowed to stay. Not this time. In a development which the national establishment press has ignored, a Democratic presidential administration is doing what it has constantly told the American people Republicans would do: kick elderly people out of their homes. Excerpts from the related Saturday evening Las Vegas Journal-Review report follow the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine):
Earlier today, I noted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that "Obamacare Poster Boy" Chad Henderson, who was written up in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and several other news outlets, and who at one point was scheduled to appear on a Health and Human Services Department conference call (but ultimately didn't), has not purchased health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.
Before letting all of this fall down the media memory hole, John Sexton at Breitbart.com reported that Henderson "claimed earlier this year that he'd 'traveled to Florida' to help with Obama's reelection and also donated $1000 to the campaign" — leading to a further claim, complete with a photo of the alleged invitation, that he had been invited to the 2013 Obama Inaugural Ball. There's even more in Mr. Henderson's Instagram collection for the lazy establishment press to digest, including something they'll secretly love — an immature attack on Sarah Palin — after the jump.
(UPDATE: See Chad's response to Washington Post's Sarah Kliff at the end of this post.) If what Reason's Peter Suderman is reporting is correct — and he certainly appears to have done the kind of digging you would expect conscientious journalists to do — the establishment press's lionization of Chad Henderson the Fantabulous Obamacare Enrollee is about to fall apart.
Suderman spoke at length with Chad Henderson's father, Bill Henderson, and uncovered a litany of contradictions, inconsistencies, and what should have been red flags to journalists who apparently decided that the story was too good to check (links are in original; bolds are mine):
On Thursday, MSNBC's Chuck Todd, in the introduction to his "Daily Rundown" program, characterized both the response to the Obama administration's barricading of the World War II Memorial and Harry Reid's response to a question about helping children with cancer by funding the National Institutes for Health ("Why would we want to do that?") as "manufactured outrage."
World War II ended in 1945, 68 years ago. That war's vets are mostly in their late 80s to mid-90s. Those who don't live within driving distance of Metro DC are running out of time to see the memorial dedicated to their heroic, world-saving efforts. Accordingly, charities such as Honor Flight have been set up to give vets who might not otherwise be able to visit because of finances or infirmity the chance to do so. No one had to "manufacture" outrage over the Obama administration's proactive and vindictive effort to prevent long-scheduled visits from occurring. It came quite naturally. Video (HT Twitchy), relevant portions of Todd's program introduction, and additional comments are after the jump:
Early Thursday morning, swallowing an Obama administration fallback talking point hook, line, and sinker, Juliet Williams and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, described the horrible problems users have had during the past two days in even accessing the Obamacare exchanges, including "overloaded websites and jammed phone lines," as proof of "strong demand for the private insurance plans," and of "exceptionally high interest in the new system."
Really, guys? That doesn't reconcile with other information gleaned from other sources about low enrollments and unimpressive site visit totals. I'll note just a few of them after the jump.
NASDAQ.com says that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 58.56 points today. The S&P 500 lost 1.13 points, while the NASDAQ lost 2.96 points. In percentage terms, those losses were 0.39%, 0.07%, and 0.08%, respectively.
Even though there's usually a large element of speculation relating to why the broad markets go up or down on any given day, the pretend know-it-alls at CNNMoney.com seem to have had a pretty obvious preset agenda in their post-close email, as will be seen after the jump:
Brett Zongker, the reporter the Associated Press assigned to cover the World War II Memorial story yesterday in Washington, apparently felt compelled to try to find someone who would exclusively blame Congress for the memorial's closure. He failed, but pretended that he succeeded.
For those unfamiliar with the story, in an overrecation to the partial government shutdown, the White House, specifically, the Office of Management and Budget, ordered the open air WWII Memorial barricaded. Anyone attempting to shift the blame elsewhere, e.g., Harry Reid, isn't telling the truth. With the help of several Republican congressmen, a veterans' group there on a long-planned visit breached the "Barry-cades" and openes the memorial. Zongker's report took seven paragraphs to recognize that the congresspersons involved are Republicans, and, as noted earlier, blew his concluding attempt to assign blame (bolds are mine):
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
The folks in office administration at the Politico had better put in for extra janitorial help. With all the horse manure their reporters are slinging during the partial government shutdown, it's gotta be getting knee-deep in those hoary halls.
One of the more egregious examples of insufferable obsequiousness today came late this morning via Edward-Isaac Dovere and Reid J. Epstein. You see, in their narrow world, President Barack Obama's stature has done a sudden and complete turnaround because he and Harry Reid have chosen to shut down the government (HT the Weekly Standard; bolds are mine):
Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com has capsulized the Obamacare exchanges' opening day as follows (links are in the original): "HealthCare.gov tried to kick off the Obamacare marketplace this morning … and failed miserably. The website is an error-ridden mess and users are being asked for their patience as the marketplace works out “known issues” with security. But never mind the pesky bugs preventing people from signing up — HealthCare.gov is psyched!"
On the pretty safe assumption that the problems continue, three key questions arise. First, how much exposure will the establishment press give the snafus? Second, to the extent they give them attention, how will they present them — i.e., as "normal startup problems" or "poor execution and planning"? And third, how effective, if at all, will center-right truth-tellers be at breaking through to the general population? Hadas Gold and Kyle Cheney at Politico obsessed over these matters Saturday morning, and in essence virtually begged everyone to be patient (bolds are mine):
Isn't this rich? The New York Times, in a Sunday story placed on the front page of Monday's print edition, took shots at another news organization for leaking sensitive intelligence. The Old Grey Lady must think we all have short memories.
Unfortunately, Dylan Byers at the Politico does have a short memory — either that, or he's protecting the sacred Times and its history-challenged reporters Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt. Here's how Byers lays out the situation (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It's not yet a safe haven, but it seems that terrorist outfits are having little problem setting up Twitter accounts. It also seems that these accounts tend to stay up until someone complains, meaning that the company either has no effective mechanisms for detecting pro-terror sentiments and the gruesome pictures which sometimes accompany them, or isn't using them. The ease with which all of this can be done has not become much of a national story, even though becoming one would seem to be a natural outgrowth of last week's Kenya mall attack, given that one such Twitter account gleefully posted attack photos.
Here are some of the specfiics from Bridget Johnson at PJ Media (bolds are mine):
Google News really needs to work on its results counter. The first page of its 10:15 p.m. search listings on [Obama "widespread evidence"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) tells us that there are "about 90 results," but moving to the second page of listed results shows there are only 11 (technically 13, because the first listing on the first page has three items).
Those sparse results, none of which except for Fox News would be considered an establishment press outlet, show that the press, including Darlene Superville at the Associated Press in an onsite report, has ignored the following howler delivered by President Barack Obama in Largo, Maryland on Thursday: "There's no widespread evidence that the Affordable Care Act is hurting jobs."
Whether the ice caps are melting and by how much may be debatable, but the debate is over as to whether former Wall Street Journal weatherman Eric Holthaus, who now works at Quartz (qz.com), has had a meltdown.
In a series of tweets on Friday afternoon (scroll down at link; HT Twitchy), Holthaus told the world of his reaction to the latest wave of hot air emanating from the Intergovernmental Governmental Panel on Climate Change, and actions he plans to take to respond to it (most recent tweet is first; underlines are mine):
Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. MSNBC social media editors marked the occasion with a Facebook post inquiring, "Have you registered to vote yet?"
But for the stock image to accompany the post, editors chose to show a clipboard with an Organizing for America flier which reads, "Register to Vote Here" and bears the O-shaped Obama logo in the top left-hand corner [see screen capture below page break]. It must be an old stock photo as Organizing for America is now Organizing for Action, but the group's mission is the same: pushing President Obama's liberal agenda.
NBCNews.com followed the lead of Politico on Wednesday in hyping left-leaning attacks of Senator Ted Cruz for reading Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" during his marathon floor speech against ObamaCare. Kasie Hunt and Carrie Dann spotlighted the critiques of Cruz from overt liberals, including former Obama campaign adviser David Plouffe; and Senators Chuck Schumer and Claire McCaskill.
The two writers also turned to Kansas State University's Phil Nel, whom they identified as a "Seuss biographer". However, they omitted that Nel donated thousands of dollars to Obama's 2008 and 2012, as well as to pro-abortion group Emily's List and to MoveOn.org.
The Daily Beast is no stranger to criticism from yours truly nor from NewsBusters in general, but today I have to give kudos to Michael Moynihan for his excellent critique of sloppy journalism from CNN.
In "What Hassan Rouhani Really Said About the Holocaust," the Daily Beast culture news editor took the news network to task for reporting that the newly-installed Iranian president, unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was NOT a Holocaust denier. But it seems that CNN was relying on Rouhani's official translator, who, it seems, deliberately watered down the English translation for American consumption. Moynihan explains (portions in bold reflect my emphasis):