Unquestionably, ObamaCare is the central political issue of 2014. As the midterm election campaign moves forward, liberal politicians will have to justify their support for a program that has cost millions of individuals their insurance; will raise premiums for most small businesses; imposes hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes; and will cost, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the equivalent of two million jobs over the next three years.
But so far this year, the three network evening newscasts have minimized, spun or ignored every negative development about ObamaCare, while at the same time touting staged pro-ObamaCare publicity stunts, such as the President’s appearance on a Web-based comedy show in March.
The Supreme Court today hears oral arguments in a highly charged case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which will decide whether private corporations under Obama-care have the right to exercise religious objections to covering certain forms of emergency birth control, like morning-after pills, that the company believes are tantamount to abortion. The chain of arts-and-craft stores is challenging the provision under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which sets a high bar on government regulation involving religious belief.
On Friday afternoon, Matt Drudge announced in a tweet that "(I) Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not 'getting covered'... I'M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!"
A White House spokesman and the "progressive" press proceeded to thoroughly embarrass itself in its rebuttal attempts. How do I know? Because, four days later, despite the substantial and widely-known uproar, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, doesn't even have a story on the topic; a search at 11:30 p.m. on Monday on Drudge's last name came up empty. If Drudge's detractors had the upper hand, AP would be all over it.
With only a week to go before ObamaCare's sign-up deadline, the networks ignored the law entirely on Monday evening even though the latest estimate has the administration one million sign-ups short of its revised goal.
As NewsBusters reported, the networks skipped the story on Monday morning as well. That continues their trend of shelving bad news for ObamaCare, including the low enrollment numbers among young people and the administration's latest delay that let many keep their current insurance plans that the White House once called "shoddy."
"[I]f you read a newspaper to find out about the contraception mandate cases, you will read lies," attorney and conservative writer Gabriel Malor argued in his excellent March 24 piece for The Federalist, "Six Lies The Leftist Media Tells About The Contraception Mandate Cases." "The leftist papers do not mention the substantial monetary burden put on religious business owners to violate their consciences," Malor observed. "The papers do not mention that contraception was both inexpensive and widely available before the contraception mandate, and still is. The papers omit to mention that it isn’t the businesses who have radically changed, but the mandates from government."
That's all true, and the same can be said of the broadcast and cable news networks, but Malor's focus is on newspapers, which ostensibly are supposed to be more fact-dense and less prone to spin. Do yourself a favor and read Malor's analysis here. For my money, lie number four, "corporations cannot exercise religion" is the most rage-inducing of the lot which the liberal media are force-feeding Americans (emphasis mine):
As we approach the 2014 open enrollment deadline for ObamaCare in a week, have you noticed how the airwaves are absolutely flooded with $500 million of commercials by health insurance companies plugging that program day and night? What, you haven't seen a thing? Yes, apparently Tinker Bell sprinkled Pixie Dust upon all that money and made it, poof, disappear despite assurances last December that such promised ad buys were proof that insurance companies were so positive of the ultimate success of success of ObamaCare that they had committed so much money to promoting it.
This supposed all in commitment by insurance companies to such a large amount of spending on Obamacare promotion was chronicled by your humble correspondent on December 17. Since that time no such ad spending has occurred. Did the media liberals hope that we wouldn't notice the utter lack of insurance company ad spending? If so, they are out of luck since they are now being called out here starting with Paul Krugman of the New York Times who claimed that The Big Money Bets on Obamacare:
Barack Obama has taken a few soft-soap interviews on the PBS NewsHour, so anchor Judy Woodruff didn't want to say he was sell Obamacare in less than dignified forums -- like prank interviews with the schlub from "The Hangover" movies.
Pseudoconservative analyst David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields typically agreed that Obama has oodles of dignity and cannot be mocked. Brooks said only if Obama's riding "with Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball" -- where she rode naked in a video -- would it be "going a little too far." That's hardly a visual you'd expect from PBS:
Here’s something else the networks didn’t notice about on the evening news about Obamacare. Vice President Biden spoke to community health center leaders on Friday morning about the botched rollout. “You know, it got off to a slow start,” said Biden. “The president and I were as frustrated as anyone....but it's basically fixed,” he added.
Then he suggested Obama should be nominated for “sainthood” for his patience, as if everyone else was to blame for letting him down:
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner got very dramatic while talking about birth control on Friday’s episode of her show NOW with Alex Wagner. Ms. Wagner and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood were discussing the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether the government (via ObamaCare’s contraception mandate) can order private business owners to violate their religious faith by providing abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a moment of raw emotion, Wagner let out her anguish over some unidentified force that is holding back progress toward free birth control for every woman. She mourned:
While the networks swooned over President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis, only ABC noted Obama's appearance on Thursday's Ellen DeGeneres Show where he plugged ObamaCare.
And ABC focused only on the shallow, touting Obama's exchange with DeGeneres over her "selfie" at the Oscars. Interestingly, they left out the President plugging his health care law. Neither NBC nor CBS even mentioned the interview after all three networks touted Obama's interview with Galifianakis where he pushed for ObamaCare.
In an interview with Chelsea Clinton on Thursday's Tonight Show, comedian Jimmy Fallon told the audience "Go to Healthcare.gov" after Clinton prodded him to shill for the law.
"I told everyone to go there," Fallon said of his interview with Michelle Obama, and added "Go to Healthcare.gov." Clinton had teed him up as an "authority" on the issue and asked him to plug the website. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Comedian Jimmy Fallon isn't known for his animosity towards the Obamas, but he "burned" the President's health care law on Wednesday's TonightShow.
Impersonating Russian president Vladimir Putin on a mock phone call with Obama, Fallon took a swipe at ObamaCare after the President accused him of forcing Russian allegiance upon Crimea: [Video below the break. Audio here.]
None of the network evening news casts have yet mentioned President Obama’s delay of the individual mandate for anyone claiming "hardship," which reportedly would exempt millions from having to purchase health insurance for two more years.
As insurance industry expert Bob Laszewski put it to CNBC’s Larry Kudlow on Thursday, Obama “essentially said if you find health insurance unaffordable, you're not going to be mandated to buy it.” And as the Wall Street Journalreported last week, ObamaCare’s newest mandate delay allows for just that:
In computer science, GIGO means that a faulty input will result in a faulty output. Perhaps GIGO in the specific area of Obamacare enrollment projects should be Gaba In, Gaba Out since many leftwing sites are currently singing the praises of one Charles Gaba, a blogger who is projecting incredibly high Obamacare numbers. And now the Washington Post's Wonkblog writer, Jason Millman, is the latest person to be enthralled by the very convenient Obamacare numbers served up by Gaba. Here is Millman singing his Gaba paean:
Ellen DeGeneres was a completely slavish toady to President Obama as he appeared on her show to sell Obamacare -- not to young people, but to mothers.
The president made his pitch to "especially all the moms out there who may have young people – 26, 27, do not have health insurance, but they think they’re invincible and nothing’s ever going to happen to ‘em – what we’ve said is you never know what life is going to throw at ya." For example, a president who lies about keeping your plan and keeping your doctor. You didn't see that coming! But DeGeneres said "everyone's very grateful" for Obamacare:
Sometimes the saying "better late than never" applies. This isn't one of them.
In a report originally time-stamped on March 18 (HT Sweetness and Light) and revised this afternoon at its national web site, the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and seven other AP reporters found out that Obamacare is putting the screws to many cancer patients. Of course, they didn't phrase it that way, but that's the primary takeaway from their report. The story's headline was so weak that many readers who saw it on their computers, tablets and smartphones likely blew right past it without clicking through. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Harry Reid is going to have a hard time portraying Will Pitt as a Koch brothers shill...
William Rivers Pitt, a leftwing editor at TruthOut, whose foibles have been chronicled in NewsBusters and is probably best known for his journalism "scoop" of predicting the indictment of Karl Rove on May 12, 2006, is back in the spotlight again. While waiting 24 business hours to elapse for the Rove indictment to finally take place, Pitt shocked many at the Democratic Underground by posting an extremely angry attack, What I've learned about the Affordable Care Act, upon Obamacare due to a bad personal experience with it. In order to fully appreciate how far Pitt has turned against Obamacare, we need to go to his DU post back in December when he was proclaiming his love for Obama's signature plan...before he even experienced it:
Townhall's Guy Benson today took Washington Post's Aaron Blake and Vox.com senior editor Sarah Kliff to task for uncritically furthering Obama White House spin that 5 million Americans have successfully registered for ObamaCare.
This is patently false, Benson charges, noting that, at best, the number is somewhere closer to 4 million, assuming the very generous estimate of a 20 percent "non-payment" rate on the registered policies. Benson explains (emphasis mine):
The March Obamacare numbers are surging! Yes, in just the first two weeks of March, the number of "enrollees" has surged 800,000 from 4.2 million to 5 million. How do I know this? Because the Department of Health and Human Services told me so and the most "transparent" administration in history would never fib, would they? If you think that your humble correspondent is incredibly naive for blindly swallowing the HHS Obamacare numbers, I am just reflecting the attitude of a report at NBC News written by senior health writer Maggie Fox acting as if she were a stenographer for the HHS PR department:
Following the release of new ObamaCare enrollment numbers on Monday showing five million sign-ups – still two million short of the original seven million goal set by the administration – fill-in CBS This Morning co-host Anthony Mason spun the news as positive: "This morning, the White House is closer to a crucial goal ahead of a key deadline for the health care law." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen announced: "ObamaCare Milestone; Five Million Enrolled Ahead of March 31 Deadline." Mason continued: "As of yesterday, 5 million people are now enrolled for either state or federal insurance. The administration's goal is 6 million. The open enrollment deadline is March 31st."
The New York Times is allowing anonymous sources in politics to slime a political leader. But this time it’s Barack Obama.
In a Saturday story by Jonathan Martin and Ashley Parker on “new urgency about the need to address” Democratic prospects, an anonymous “Democratic lawmaker” said Obama was becoming “poisonous” to the party’s candidates.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt on MSNBC, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times showed that she is one of the many liberal media members entranced by President Obama’s appearance on the Web series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Witt asked about those who criticized the president for demeaning the office by going on the show, and Sweet let it be known that she didn’t agree with the critics. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The D.C. bureau chief for the president's hometown paper proclaimed:
One of the more humorous attempts at furious spin this weekend occurred over at the New York Times. Jonathan Martin and Ashley Parker somehow managed to cover how association with President Barack Obama is becoming “poisonous” to Democratic Party candidates in this fall's elections without identifying or even acknowledging the existence of the primary reason for his toxicity — namely his repeated guarantees, now all proven false, that "If you like your plan, doctor, medical provider, and prescription drug regimen, you can keep them, period."
Martin and Parker claim that the Dems' biggest hurdles are HealthCare.gov's awful rollout and the administration's inept marketing of Obamacare (HT Powerline; bolds are mine):
"It is becoming clear to me -- not that it needs to be any more clear -- that the Republican establishment does not want to run against Obamacare."
And as if to prove that Rush is right, Republican consultant Matthew Dowd on This Week With George Stephanopoulos rejected Obamacare as the reason for the victory of David Jolly over Alex Sink in last week's special congressional election in Florida. On Friday, Rush Limbaugh spoke extensively on his broadcast about how establishment Republicans want to downplay Obamacare as an issue in both the recent election as well in the congressional elections this November. At first Dowd merely ignored Obamacare but when the other panelists on this show kept bringing it up, it was too much for him and his Republican consultancy reserve broke.
From its inception, everything about President Barack Obama's health care law has been controversial.
The latest controversy came with the government release of new numbers. Through February, 4.2 million Americans had signed up for health insurance on the government exchanges. Supporters believe that while the numbers are lower than they'd hoped, the problem was simply a poor website rollout.
This week, anchors and reporters practically fell over themselves laughing at Barack Obama’s Funny or Die collaboration with comedian Zach Galifianikis as they hailed the ObamaCare promotional video was “great” and urged viewers “you gotta check it out!”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks devoted a total of 16 and a half minutes to the fake interview, but the reason Obama had to do the video? The horrible ObamaCare enrollment numbers, particularly among millenials? How much time did that get? [Video after the jump]
Team Obama’s plan to rally the “Millennials” to sign up for Obamacare by pushing less-than-intellectual celebrities in their face hit a snag on Wednesday when Lance Bass, a member of the lapsed boy band N-Sync, tweeted the wrong Web address to his 300,000 followers on Twitter, sending them to “Healthcare.org.” ABC News said he went to the White House to "lend his voice to President Obama’s ongoing efforts to encourage young people to sign up for health care through the government exchange."
After mockery ensued, Bass went to Twitlonger to tell the haters to “grow up,” as if grown-ups always mangle Web addresses? “Private citizens” like Bass are trying to prevent the youngsters from saying “Bye, Bye, Bye” to Obamacare:
Last night, I noted that the Associated Press had not deigned to consider Republican David Jolly's victory over Democrat Alex Sink in the FL-13 Congressional race a "Top U.S. Story" as of 10:13 p.m. To AP's credit (or perhaps because of yours truly's and others' razzing?), a story about the race was at the Number 6 spot in Top U.S. Stories as of 8:15 this morning.
CNN.com, on the other hand (HT to NewsBusters commenter "Jon"), is clearly playing "hide the story" with the Jolly-Sink race. Its worldwide home page as of 8:38 a.m. had one line item titled "GOP wins year's 1st election showdown" halfway down the page, and a tiny picture in the "Politics" section near the bottom of the page headlined "GOP Scores First 2014 Win." Could they be any more vague? Its U.S. home page as of 7:37 a.m. had no reference to the race at all.
"During a tribute to singer Aretha Franklin, President Obama misspelled the word RESPECT while reading off his teleprompter. But not to worry --- Obama says the healthcare.gov engineers should have it fixed sometime next year."