The government is paying private contractor Serco $1.2 billion over five years — and likely more, as will be seen later — to process paper Obamacare applications. In turn, according to a report by television station KMOV, Serco has hired and continues to pay a reported 1,800 workers who have virtually no work to do.
Massive waste like this should develop into a national story and create a journalistic swarm. If it does, it will be unusual, because the press has been avoiding stories which make President Barack Obama's "signature accomplishment" of state-controlled health care look bad like the plague. We'll see if it's different this time. The KMOV report follows the jump (HT Gateway Pundit's Progressives Today blog):
According to a Government Accountability Office report released in March but inexplicably only getting attention just now, the pain resulting from last year's sequestration "cuts," which were mostly reductions in the growth of spending in comparison to the previous year, bore no resemblance to the Armageddon-like warnings which preceded their imposition. Only one federal employee was laid off. You read that right — one. Only seven agencies out of 22 furloughed any employees, and they were ultimately given $2 billion in back pay.
What the results exposed by the GAO demonstrate, in addition to the fact that the government had plenty of places to cut and funds to access to keep its operations going without meaningfully affecting the federal workforce, is either that almost nobody in the establishment press cared about what the GAO had to say, or that if they did, they didn't believe that they should tell the nation that the Obama administration's scare tactics had no basis. Excerpts from one of the establishment press reports I found via CBS News's Stephanie Condon predictably turned the whole thing into a "Republicans attack" exercise:
A Tuesday, May 13 headline written by writers Clare Kim and Rachel Kleinman on the homepage of MSNBC.com misleadingly declared “'American Idol' Wins Congressional Race” despite the fact that he merely won the primary to face incumbent Congressman Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
Aiken won the Democratic primary in the heavily Republican district by a mere 390 votes. The primary wasn’t called until his primary opponent, Democrat Keith Crisco died suddenly at his home on Monday. [Note: MSNBC has since changed headline to read " 'American Idol' Wins Primary Fight."]
Tonight, the Associated Press treated a story about a suit to overturn tiny-population Alaska's ban on same-sex "marriage" as national news — even giving it a"Big Story" promotion. Meanwhile, it kept Planned Parenthood's decision to abandon its legal effort to obtain state funding in more-populated Kansas out of its national site, thus treating it as a local story.
Same-sex "marriage" and abortion are about equal in the pantheon of establishment press sacred cows, and each issue has been the subject of disputes in several states. So the only explanation for the disparate treatment seems to be that the Alaska story's national treatment occurred because it seems to advance one pet cause, while the Kansas story stayed local because it is a significant defeat for the other. In the Kansas story, Roxana Hegeman, as seen in the final excerpted paragraph following the jump, predictably misled readers about the nature of Planned Parenthood's services (HT Life News):
The topic: "Unilateral Do-Not-Attempt Resuscitation Orders In A Large Academic Hospital." These are situations where "clinicians withhold advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest despite objections of patients or their surrogates." The presenters indicate that "The ethics committee at Massachusetts General Hospital has had a unilateral DNR policy since 2006." Patients allowed to die against their or their surrogates' will is news, right? Let's see if anyone in the press cares. (So far: No.) A full description of the presentation, relevant background, and Smith's reaction follow the jump.
In what many may see as a "pigs fly" moment, actor Richard Dreyfuss, long known for his involvement in leftist causes up to and including efforts to impeach George W. Bush, appeared on Mike Huckabee's weekend Fox News program to promote the importance of U.S. citizens knowing "our constitution or our history."
He went further, noting that "the constitution is the most single greatest step toward humans improving civilization since the beginning of man's sojourn on earth." Those aren't exactly the typical messages we see delivered by the Hollywood or media elites these days. Instead, those groups seem to be doing all they can to ignore very significant encroachments on our fundamental freedoms originating in Washington. [See video below.]
The estimated cost of the initial segment of California's bullet train, Golden State Governor Jerry Brown's pet project, has (excuse the pun) just shot up from $6.19 billion to $7.13 billion. If this is the only overrun encountered in this opening phase, which would be atypical, and if the California High Speed Rail Authority has similar experiences during the remainder of the project, assuming it's ever completed, its cost will rise from a currently estimated $68 billion to about $78 billion.
Obviously a big cost overrun is news. But normally, evidence of an attempted government coverup of such an overrun is even bigger news. But not at the Los Angeles Times. The paper's Ralph Vartabedian kept it out of his headline and waited until his story's ninth paragraph to note it. Even then, his description was needlessly vague. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
While I was aware that a fever-swamp Democrat in Wisconsin was planning to pass out Ku Klux Klan hoods at some kind of Wisconsin Republican gathering, I had no idea until this morning that the Associated Press actually considered it a national story back on May 1. It was really even more than a national story at the self-described "essential global news network." It was so vital that the nation know about this offensive plan that the AP carried it at its "Big Story" site.
I should have figured that Scott Bauer, the bitter critic of Republican Governor Scott Walker disguised as an AP reporter, would be the guy who thought that devoting 13 paragraphs and over 400 words to Democratic State Representative and gubernatorial candidate (seriously) Brett Hulsey's anticipated stunt was a worthwhile expenditure of precious journalistic time and resources. Given that level of original attention, the wire service should have followed up (but of course didn't) with a national story noting that Hulsey abandoned the KKK hood idea, but still showed up at the May 2-4 Badger State GOP Convention to call out Republicans as racists — and, as captured in the following video (HT The Blaze), was confronted by a "colorful" Republican attendee:
On Friday, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post (HT Hot Air) gave "Four Pinocchios" (i.e., a "Whopper") to a statement President Barack Obama made about Senate Republicans' filibuster track record on Wednesday in a speech at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner in Los Angeles.
In the process, Kessler essentially delivered a rebuke to reporters who cover Obama. Every one of them should have recognized that his DCCC claim that "since 2007, they (Republicans) have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class" is false. For it to be true, GOP senators would have had to average 68 filibusters per year only of middle-class relevant bills for the past 7-1/3 years. With the Senate being in session an average of just under 112 days per year during the time involved, that' an impossible frequency of more than one every other day. Excerpts from Kessler's critique follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn't reveal Lerner's name until Paragraph 3.
Before getting to Ohlemacher's journalistic malpractice, let's take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure's anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.
In his "analysis" on Tuesday's U.S. District Court ruling which called a halt to "a secret investigation into his 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported" Scott Walker, Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press basically gave away what the prosecution's agenda really has been all about.
It really hasn't been about cleaning up political campaigns, or whatever other similar tired bromides the Walker-hating left dishes out from time to time. It's been about hurting Walker's reelection effort this fall and punishing him for reforming public-sector collective bargaining in the Badger State. Short of that, it's an attempt to marginalize him as a potential 2016 presidential candidate by smearing him with the "under investigation" and "scandal" tags. Let's start with the opening paragraphs of Bauer's bluster (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Michael Hirsh is the recently named National Editor at Politico Magazine, an effort which turning is out to be to the left of the crumbling Time Magazine and the for-now defunct Newsweek. One of Hirsh's career lowlights — he probably thinks it's a highlight — is his December 2008 contention that President George W. Bush having a shoe thrown at him in Iraq "was somehow appropriate."
Lest there be any doubt as to the possibility that there will be fair and balanced reporting on Benghazi on Hirsh's watch, I give you excerpts from "The Benghazi-Industrial Complex; Will the pseudo-scandal be enough to stop Hillary from running?" — wherein Hirsh plows new groveling ground (bolds are mine):
In stark contrast to the celebratory "AMERICAN ECONOMY BOUNCES BACK FROM BRUTAL WINTER" headline Friday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ben White's "Morning Money" report at the Politico is notably concerned about whether Friday's "vexing jobs report" justifies the kind of optimism the AP conveyed with seeming finality in its headline.
To be fair, the underlying AP report by Chris Rugaber and Josh Boak pointed to several weaknesses in the jobs report. But to be appropriately critical, as I noted yesterday, they took it as a virtual given that the economy will turn in full-year growth of "nearly 3 percent." Achieving that result will require second-half annualized growth of nearly 4 percent — a level would likely cause the Federal Reserve to put on the brakes by raising interest rates to stave off inflation. In a separate post, I also criticized the AP pair for presenting economists's estimates of 3.5 percent annualized growth in the second quarter without telling readers that their prediction is premised on the first quarter's current 0.1 percent result getting revised downward into contraction.
This morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Friday afternoon's coverage of the government's jobs report at the Associated Press by economics writers Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak carried predictions of "nearly 3 percent" economic growth this year. Those predictions ignore how difficult achieving that will be after the first quarter's miserable 0.1 percent annualized result and "most economists'" estimates that the second quarter will come in at 3.5 percent. Those two results require average annualized growth of 3.9 percent during the third and fourth quarters — something the economy hasn't seen in ten years. Additionally, it appears that if the Federal Reserve under Janet Yellen sees that kind of growth, it will put on the brakes by raising interest rates in the name of heading off inflation.
Since they were entertaining predictions about future developments, it's more than a little odd that the AP pair chose to ignore many analysts' predictions that the first quarter's GDP result will move into contraction when it gets revised in future months — especially since those downward revisions, supposedly reflecting deferred growth, partially justify their 3.5 percent second-quarter prediction. It sure looks like Rugaber and Boak were selective in deciding what they would report.
In June 2006, the New York Times, over strident pleas not to from the Bush 43 administration, published details of how counterterrorism officials were "tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry." According to the administration, the program had "helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia." Other outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, which were apparently on the brink of breaking what the Times reported first, also chipped in with their own supplements. The stories received prominent network TV coverage, and reinforced the image of the Bush administration as secretive and far less than transparent.
So the details of how the government was monitoring the operation of the world's financial system to obtain clues to help catch terrorists apparently deserved full exposure. If that's fine, why has the press been barely interested in a far more troubling development, namely Eric Holder's U.S. Department of Justice using pressure on the financial system to conduct "a massive government overreach into private businesses that are operating within the law," which has been going on for at least a year? Welcome to "Operation Choke Point."
The May-June edition of Politico magazine is out, complete with what it boasts is "the most comprehensive survey yet of [the] unique group of journalists" who comprise the White House press corps. The picture painted by the honest answers therein are not altogether flattering. For instance, we see just how much a self-congratulatory, conventional wisdom-spewing echo-chamber the group is with these two questions (see screen captures below the fold):
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group Everytown For Gun Safety was also present — but barely. Media coverage of that group's activities largely tiptoed around the tiny number of people, some allegedly paid, the group was able to gather. Let's start with a Sunday morning report from NPR's Bill Chappell (bolds are mine throughout this post):
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has made nice with President Barack Obama on several occasions. Among other things, he chaired the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which met a grand total of four times in 2011 and 2012 before it was unceremoniously allowed to expire a year later. He fully expected that his company would benefit from its involvement in green energy and its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. He also endeared himself to Team Obama by calling "other U.S. business leaders greedy and mean."
In more than a minor comeuppance, as well as the latest evidence that business-related news reflecting badly on the Obama administration almost never escapes the business pages and center-right blogs and outlets, Inmelt's company has seen its medical division hit hard by the onset of Obamacare. Portions of Bloomberg News's original April 17 report follow the jump.
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw lamented how the movie depictions of Spider-Man and other superheroes are all "straight, white men" in a Tuesday item on Salon.com titled "America deserves better superheroes: Why a straight, white Spider-Man is no longer a real underdog." Baker-Whitelaw, a "fandom and Internet culture" reporter for the website The Daily Dot, zeroed in on the supposed "ramifications of having eternal underdog Peter Parker remain a straight, white man."
The writer also complimented Andrew Garfield, the actor who plays the title character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for wondering why the superhero "can't...be into boys," and contended that Sony, the studio releasing the upcoming movie, "might benefit from listening to...Garfield's comments on the potential hypocrisy of portraying Peter Parker as being marginalized by society." She later hoped that superhero movies would catch up with the "reasonably progressive and diverse representation of real-life America" in present-day comic books:
The National Employment Law Project claims that it is dedicated to "working to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy." That sounds promising, but one look at NELP's directors and the supposed "solutions" the group and its friends advocate — e.g., higher minimum wage, "uphold the freedom to join a union." etc. It's clear that NELP is just another lefty advocacy group pushing the kinds of policies which have led to six years of economic weakness.
That said, NELP recently released research showing that jobs gained since the recession ended have skewed far more heavily towards low-wage industries than the jobs which were lost during the recession. Press coverage has been skimpy. The one major writeup at the New York Times on Sunday for Monday's print edition appeared on Page B4. The nature of Annie Lowrey's coverage at the Times led Fox News to accuratey tease it as a story about the "Fast-Food Recovery." Excerpts from the Times story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Rheana Murray's Saturday article on ABCNews.com omitted key details about how the Catholic Church determines which saints' feast days are observed by Catholic parishes all over the world. Murray noted that the Church "removed 93 saints from the universal calendar and revoked their feast days in 1969," but two out of the four examples she gave still have "optional" feast days on the calendar.
The journalist's write-up, which was also posted on Good Morning America's page on Yahoo!, cited Kean University's Christopher Bellito, who pointed out that these saints "weren't actually de-sainted, just downgraded." Professor Bellito explained that the Church "decided to remove particular feast days of those saints whose origins were shrouded in more mystery than manuscripts."
The Associated Press's lengthy Monday evening treatment of Toyota's decision to move its U.S. headquarters and consolidate many of its North American operations in Metro Dallas is reasonably good in spots. But Gillian Flaccus and Michael R. Blood were unduly selective in reporting Torrance, California Mayor Frank Scotto's reaction to the news that his town would be losing several thousand jobs, and downplayed the relevance of clearly obvious factors influencing the move.
Let's see what Scotto, a Republican, told the Los Angeles Times, followed by the AP's reporting.
Professor Robert N. Stavins at Harvard's Kennedy School hardly seems like a major climate change/global warming boat-rocker. At his blog last year, he described climate change as "the ultimate global commons problem," where "international, if not global, cooperation is essential." Commenting on climate talks in Doha, Qatar in December 2012, he saw the role of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements as helping countries and international bodies "address climate change in ways that are scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic."
So Stavins is no "denier," as enviros on the left are given to calling anyone who dares to question climate change dogma. But he strongly objects to how his role in the latest IPCC report relating to how countries might co-operate to reduce carbon emissions — basically where the rubber meets the road in affecting everyday citizens' lives — was compromised by intense political interference. Excerpts from the UK Daily Mail's coverage, once again an instance of the UK tabloids scooping the U.S. press, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Politico's David Nather must have thought he was so clever. Here's how he opened a recent column: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy ... and suddenly he’s spewing racist bile and boy, does it splash on your face." Yes, I left out a few words, and I'll get to that. But before providing them, the quote just rendered would apply to how those at Los Angeles branch of the NAACP must feel about their now-withdrawn but not forgotten plan to confer a lifetime achievement award on Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling, who has been caught on tape allegedly telling a woman that she shouldn't "associate with black people" or have blacks accompany her to Clippers games.
Let's revise Nather's blather a bit for another comic circumstance: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy because he comes over to your side on climate change, and suddenly he’s arrested in 'a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.' Boy, does it splash on your face." Now I'm talking about the fools at Organizing For Action, who celebrated the "breakthrough" of having GOP Congressman Michael Grimm come over to their side mere days before his indictment, which occurred today.
Earlier today, Pope Francis tweeted from his English-language account, "Inequality is the root of social evil." Not long afterwards, the Daily Beast shouted out its Amen by placing the development at the top of its Tip Sheet digest, complete with the cheeky caption "Occupy Vatican." [see screen captures below page break]
Naturally, however, the Beast completely ignored statements the pontiff made on Friday lamenting the emotional and spiritual effects that abortion has on women who have obtained them. As TheWire.com reported yesterday:
In a Saturday afternoon tweet, former Bill Clinton campaign strategist and former CNN talking head Paul Begala showed that he's quite a confused guy concerning Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling. Sterling, as noted previously (here and here), has been caught on tape chiding a person who is apparently his girlfriend for "taking pictures with minorities" and "associating with black people." Sterling sees her as a "delicate" "Latina or white girl" who shouldn't "associate with black people." He asks her not to bring black people, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, to games.
Given these developments, Begala gave a "friendly tip" to several conservatives and Republicans, specifically talk radio's Sean Hannity and GOP Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. In the process, he betrayed a likely need to broaden his media consumption habits beyond the liberal bubble. Begala's tweet follows the jump:
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Donald Sterling, owner of the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Clippers, was allegedly caught on tape chiding a person who is apparently his girlfriend for "taking pictures with minorities" and "associating with black people." He also tells her that she is a "delicate" "Latina or white girl," and because of that doesn't understand why she would "associate with black people." He doesn't want her bringing black people, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, to games.
It turns out that Sterling must be known in liberal and politically correct circles for far more than the few small political donations from two decades ago identified in last night's post. The Clippers owner is scheduled in less than three weeks to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP at its 100th anniversary event, where Al Sharpton and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti will also be honored as persons of the year (HT to a NewsBusters commenter):