The morning of April 15 had an indication that it would contain an historic moment. Sarah Kliff, formerly of the Washington Post Wonkblog and now with General Electric Vox, appeared to be finally breaking through her liberal coccoon. Yes, she tweeted some actual Obamacare criticism of the administration over the suspicious changes in the way the Census Bureau measures the uninsured. Alas, it was not to be. With startling speed, Kliff got her "mind right" with a correctional tweet in less than an hour after a Ministry of Truth talk with an administration offical.
Let us now go back to that bright moment on April 15 when our Miss Kliff appeared to be awakening from her long liberal stupor:
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At Thursday’s press conference there were no questions about the latest IRS scandal developments or Benghazi but today’s presser did give Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere a chance to tee one up for the President.
Given the opportunity to ask a tough question about all of ObamaCare’s problems Dovere instead prompted the President to go on a tirade against Republicans. Politico’s senior White House reporter wondered if it was “time for Democrats to start campaigning loudly and positively on the benefits of ObamaCare?” and then pushed the President: “Will you lead that charge?” [video after the jump]
On Wednesday, MSNBC's Al Sharpton scoffed at the latest allegations that the White House is trying to cook the books on ObamaCare numbers by changing the census questions.
"I mean, who else is in this latest conspiracy, the Easter Bunny?" he quipped, in an interview with former Democratic Ohio governor Ted Strickland. He said those disputing the current ObamaCare enrollment figures were like "birthers" and "truthers." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Dictionary.com offers two definitions for scapegoat: "1. A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place; 2. Chiefly biblical. A goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Lev. 16:8,10,26."
Both definitions seem to fit last week's announcement of the "resignation" of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, who presided over the disastrous rollout of the government's website, healthcare.gov, which was supposed to provide easy access for people who wished to sign up for Obamacare.
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."
In the first of a series of tweets sent out Tuesday morning, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray complained: "Why ObamaCare's (un)popularity is probably going to continue: ACA opponents have sole control over the airwaves." In a follow-up tweet, Murray cited the Campaign Media Analysis Group: "Per CMAG's Elizabeth Wilner, number of anti-Obamacare commericials since March 31: 32 Number of pro-Obamacare commercials: 0"
In a third tweet minutes later, Murray explained: "Political scientists believe TV ads have an impact on public opinion when one side has unilateral control over the airwaves." What the NBC journalist failed to acknowledge was the massive pro-ObamaCare push his network and others have engaged in over recent months.
In the battle for balanced news, score one each for Univision and Telemundo. Unlike the CBS, NBC and ABC evening news, both Noticiero Univision and Noticiero Telemundo on Friday night included soundbites from conservative leaders on the resignation of President Obama’s HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.
On Univision, correspondent Lourdes Meluzá ran a clip of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who noted that Sebelius has been the principle face of “the disaster that has been, is and will continue to be ObamaCare.” Even more noteworthy, Univision’s report also featured Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin, who called ObamaCare the former Secretary’s “legacy of shame” and said Sebelius “could go down in history as one of the most incompetent Cabinet secretaries in the history of the Republic."
Andrea Mitchell needs to turn in her journalism card...now!
She completely blew the opportunity to ask outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a question that would have shed light on whether she voluntarily resigned or, as many have speculated, she was fired by the White House. Despite interviewing Sebelius for over five minutes on Meet The Press (video after the jump), Mitchell absurdly neglected to point out a big discrepancy in Sebelius' accounts of her departure.
Imagine a Yankees-Red Sox game during which the Yankees broadcasters acknowledged mistakes by their team and good plays by the Sox, while the Boston announcers ranted relentlessly that the Yankees stank and were lucky not to finish 0-162.
According to Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, something similar happens routinely in political media. Drum believes that both in general and regarding Obamacare specifically, liberal pundits are far more likely than their conservative counterparts to discuss their side's failures and give the other side credit where it's due.
On Friday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas contended that conservatives would benefit if they stopped opposing the Affordable Care Act, since their efforts actually increase the chance that one day, America will have what they would abhor: a single-payer system. He added that "luckily," righties won't take his advice and will keep trying to destabilize the ACA.
Moulitsas asserted the impending victory of single-payer as scheduled for arrival in Vermont in 2017: "This is the future of America, and Vermont is leading the way."
While HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius was getting a polite shove out the door, PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields offered a note of disclosure: “Well, first of all, let me just admit up front, Kathleen Sebelius has been a personal friend. For 46 years, I have known her.” He even oddly said she “stepped up manfully, to use a bad adverb” in taking the blame for Obamacare.
But Shields and his usual echo-chamber David Brooks disagreed. Brooks said she wasn’t a “dynamo” at HHS, which caused Shields to start touting her. Anchor Judy Woodruff had gently asked, like a good feminist, “What’s her legacy?”
MSNBC personalities frequently turn to race to explain away society’s ills, and on Thursday’s All In, host Chris Hayes cried racism on the topic of state Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. Hayes started by admitting what many people have probably guessed about him and many of his fellow MSNBC hosts – that he sees American politics through a racial lens. He proclaimed:
“The racial prism I use to analyze American politics has grown sharper and I think in some ways more pessimistic in the Obama era. I will cop to that, unquestionably. Like, I do think, see things more thoroughly through the prism of race.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday's New Day, the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson said outgoing HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius would be "coach of the year" if she were a basketball coach.
"I do think if she were a basketball coach, right, she would probably be coach of the year, right? Because she was able to turn this thing around, had good news yesterday that 7.5 million people, you know, signed up for this thing," Henderson stated on CNN. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Appearing on Thursday's O'Reilly Factor, former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson claimed that CBS "had barely begun to scratch the surface" of the "Fast and Furious" scandal before the network moved on from the story. She noted that the network showed similar reluctance for its coverage of Benghazi and the ObamaCare rollout.
Before her resignation last month, Attkisson covered Obama administration controversies like "Fast and Furious" and Benghazi and her reporting helped the CBS Evening News win the Edward R. Murrow award in 2012. Yet she told O'Reilly that higher-ups at the network moved on from the "Fast and Furious"scandal "due to lack of interest, well before we found answers to a lot of questions." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Tuesday's Daily Show went to bat for the Hispanic media, as liberal comedian Jon Stewart attacked Brent Bozell and the newly-launched MRC Latino for its accusation of a liberal bias on Univision and Telemundo.
Stewart called out "Brent Bozell of the conservative Media Research bull (bleep), I mean Center" and mocked his claim that the Spanish networks helped sign people up for ObamaCare. "Bastardos! How dare a cable network use its reach to help the audience comply with the law." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz just signed a $1.5-million deal to write a book. Hold on… This just in: Even though the Cruz book has yet to be written, the New York Times just gave it a bad review."
ObamaCare, John McCain and the Chicago Cubs also got a ribbing in the latest edition of NewsBusted, NewsBusters' original Web comedy short, which you can watch in the embed below the page break. To sign up to get NewsBusted fresh to your inbox, click here. To subscribe to the NewsBusted channel at YouTube, visit youtube.com/NewsBusted.
On his Monday show, MSNBC's Ed Schultz ripped the "mainstream media" for – wait for it – not being fair enough to ObamaCare. Of course, the only examples of "media bias" that Schultz displayed were from conservative guests and pundits.
Apparently, the press has discounted all the positives of ObamaCare. "If you had been in a time capsule for the last five years and just happened to wake up yesterday morning, you would have thought that health care in America had failed," Schultz insisted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett recently granted an interview to a celebrity-gossip website called Popsugar and revealed why she had come to Hollywood. “I'm meeting with writers of various TV shows and movies to try to get it into the scripts.” The “it” is Obamacare.
Conservatives are no match for liberals in this arena. The White House people know the immense cultural power the Left has in the popular culture. Liberals rightly credit TV and movies and pop songs for America’s growing support for gay “marriage.” So why not use that power for Obamacare?
On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that NBC, ABC, and CBS turned down a White House request for primetime coverage of a presidential address on Tuesday to spike the football on ObamaCare reaching the seven million enrollment mark. Instead, the President was forced to settle for an afternoon pep rally in the Rose Garden which only ABC and NBC covered live.
These were the same networks that fretted over Republicans not agreeing to let Obama give a primetime campaign speech to Congress at the same time as a Republican presidential primary debate in 2011.
On Thursday evening’s news casts, the networks ignored a claim by major insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield that as many as 20 percent of their new enrollees did not pay the first month’s premium for ObamaCare. If that was the case for all insurers, the White House’s brag of 7 million enrollees would be cut down to 6 million or lower.
National Journal had the story, calling Blue Cross Blue Shield “one of the biggest players in ObamaCare’s exchanges. They reported that according to a spokesperson for the company, “roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month’s premium.”
On Thursday's Hardball, host Chris Matthews and guest Joan Walsh disparaged conservatives who disputed the administration's ObamaCare enrollment numbers "birthers" and "truthers."
"What can you say about these guys besides they are health care enrollment truthers right now," Matthews insisted. "It's a new firm of birtherism. It's a new way to say it's not legitimate, he [Obama] doesn't belong there," said Walsh. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
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):
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP sound bite on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon had some tough words for ObamaCare following the deadline for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking on Tuesday April 1, Fallon joked that regarding the 7 million Americans that have signed up for health insurance, “It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it and then keep extending the deadline for months.” [See video below.]
After President Obama announced that the administration's goal of 7 million ObamaCare enrollees had been met, comedian Stephen Colbert lampooned conservatives who criticized the law and said it would fall short of its goal, on Tuesday night's Colbert Report.
"Folks, tonight we're all happy and I wish I could come to you with some good news, but the worst imaginable thing has happened. Millions of Americans are going to get healthcare," Colbert sarcastically began, framing opponents of the law as opponents of the uninsured. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Our English-speaking media were very clear after the 2012 election that the Republican Party was demographically doomed, since all the voters "of color" were shifting toward Obama and the Democrats. They echoed the mantra of GOP moderates, stating the only way to political viability was through "comprehensive immigration reform."
What these analysts did not do was explore the messaging that Hispanic voters are getting from Spanish-language media. Has the conservative message been rejected by Spanish-language voters - or is something being kept from them?
It helps to be in the White House when a CNN host professes himself to be "card-carrying member" of the administration's health care law, or when the enrollment numbers are cast as a "major victory."
New CNN host Michael Smerconish touted the benefits of ObamaCare on Tuesday night, confessing he was a "card-carrying member of ObamaCare" and calling the enrollment numbers "quite an achievement." OutFront host Erin Burnett went even further, saying the enrollment was a "major victory." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As the networks reported on President Obama's Tuesday "victory lap" over ObamaCare's new enrollment numbers, CBS played right into the administration's hands by highlighting the "peace of mind" of a young adult who signed up for health care.
In what could have passed for a White House commercial, CBS's Ben Tracy interviewed an uninsured 33 year-old who "felt like a ticking time bomb" before he signed up for ObamaCare at the deadline. He told CBS "now I have it, so it's – it's sort of a peace of mind thing for me." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After President Obama's victory lap Tuesday over the rollout of his health care law, ABC's Matthew Dowd told Republicans to let Obama celebrate and stop trying to repeal ObamaCare.
"You have to give the President ground to have some celebration," Dowd insisted. "A little bit of dancing in the end zone. I think Republicans would be really smart, let him have the touchdown, don't ask for instant replay." [Video below the break. Audio here.]