On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
Fortunately for Mr. Obama, the president enjoys a liberal news media intent on shielding the president -- and with him his congressional Democratic allies -- as best they can. On Thursday evening, none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even bothered to briefly mention the Moody's downgrade. Likewise none of the Big Three morning news programs thought it worthy of even a brief mention in a news-desk roundup. The New York Times -- motto: All the news that's fit to print -- also ignored the story in its Friday print edition.
On Thursday, Stephanie Condon at CBS News reported ("Security chief: HealthCare.gov has passed security testing") that Teresa Fryer, who had recommended against allowing HealthCare.gov going live before its October launch but was overruled, "told Congress ... that the Obamacare website passed security testing in December, and she would recommend that its official Authority to Operate (ATO) be extended when the current ATO expires in March."
On Friday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, in an otherwise keister-covering dispatch apparently designed to show that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was really, really unaware of the web site's prelaunch security problems, claimed without qualification that "There have been no successful attacks on the site" — even though by law the government "need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised."
Here’s something you don’t see every day: Bill Maher poking fun at Barack Obama.
On his first Real Time show of the year, the HBO host said of the scandal currently embattling Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.), “They basically turned the bridge into the ObamaCare website” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
So you think the Brosurance and the Pajama Boy ads for Obamacare were pretty weird? Well, to paraphrase Al Jolson, you ain't seen nothing yet!
And what you haven't seen yet is a surreal danceoff performance between Richard Simmons and a contortionist during a six hour Obamacare infomercial produced by Covered California. They were supposed to inspire young people to sign up but mostly what they did was to generate a lot of laughter...along with a bunch of dropped jaws. Perhaps "surreal" doesn't adequately describe this video (and below the fold) since it is more like a laughable rip in the space/time continuum.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- While the Obama administration offers life support to its Affordable Care Act, in the UK a growing number of people are asking whether it's time to pull the plug on the National Health Service (NHS), which is in critical condition.
For many years the UK media have carried stories that not only bode ill for the future of government-run health care, but also continue to serve as a "code blue" warning to the U.S. as to what might be in our future if we decide to go down that road.
Jay Leno continued his comedic assault on Barack Obama Thursday.
At the beginning of his NBC Tonight Show monologue, the host said, “The White House announced today that President Obama will visit Pope Francis in the near future. See, Pope Francis thinks ObamaCare can be a success. Well, sure, he's the Pope - he has to believe in miracles” (video follows with commentary):
MSNBC personalities continue to do all they can to put a happy face on the rollout of ObamaCare. On Tuesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Ms. Wagner and MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein furiously spun the latest enrollment numbers of “young invincibles.” First off, Klein advised the MSNBC audience not to worry about the presently low enrollment among young people; things will probably get better!
As NewsBusters has been reporting for months, late night comics have been tearing the atrocious rollout of ObamaCare apart.
Conceivably the best job done to date was by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel who during his opening monologueTuesday evening absolutely savaged the law whilst ridiculing the uninformed young people in this country that have ignorantly supported something that clearly harms them (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Gee, Ed, do you think that the world's worst rollout and the looming actuarial disaster could have anything to do with it?
On his MSNBC show today, Ed Schultz seemed shocked that Dems in DC he recently spoke with were reluctant to run on Obamacare. In a moment of comical candor, Schultz admitted: "if you're doing statistics, you're not going to win that battle." Translation: well, yeah, there is that thing about the numbers not adding up. But Ed still urged Dems to run on the "moral component." Since when is bilking the young and healthy "moral"? View the video after the jump.
Let's see. We know, to name just a few of many impositions, that much of the enrollee information that HealthCare.gov and other exchanges have communicated to insurers has been erroneous, that insurers have had to deal with signing up hundreds of thousands of policyholders they originally cancelled, that deadlines for premium payments have been serially revised, and that there is no computerized subsidy payment system in place.
Yet Chad Terhune at the Los Angeles Times is irresponsibly steering gullible readers into believing that insurers are responsible for the Obamacare-related chaos and poor customer service, when it's a virtual miracle that anyone is being served at all (HT Patterico; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Between Monday's Nightly News and Tuesday's Today, NBC devoted ten minutes and forty-four seconds to coverage of the now six-day-old controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers just released Monday afternoon garnered only forty-one seconds of air time on Today and were completely ignored on Nightly News.
On Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted investigations into Christie's "bridge traffic scandal" and hyped "an investigation into how some of the emergency relief money was spent after Hurricane Sandy." Williams announced: "It is quite clear that for Christie's political rivals it has now become something of an open season."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams ignored bad ObamaCare enrollment numbers for young people, but made time to announce the retirement of a long-standing liberal congressman, a development that neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News deemed worth mentioning.
"Big loss for the Democrats in Congress," stated Williams, who said outgoing Rep. George Miller was "often called the Ted Kennedy of the House." NBC ignored the latest ObamaCare enrollment numbers which the CBS Evening News picked up on, highlighting the low enrollment among young people which is detrimental to the law's success. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Although yesterday's report of 2.2 million Obamacare "enrollees" focused on the fact that less than a quarter of the 'signups' were under 34 years of age in contrast to the 40% that were expected for the program to work, another important figure was mostly overlooked in the reports. Namely, just how real is that 2.2 million "enrollment" figure. Although Time's Swampland headline jubilantly proclaimed "Huge Surge in Obamacare Enrollment Reported," Yahoo Finance put it in proper perspective with this harsh dose of reality:
Insurers are finding they're ending up with a lot more applications than payments.
Some important ObamaCare news broke late on Friday when the Obama administration announced it was dropping CGI, the contractor that built the inept healthcare.gov website, and replacing it with technology consulting firm Accenture. On top of that, on Friday, the Republican-led House passed a bill -- with a substantial number of Democrats joining in -- to partially address security concerns regarding healthcare.gov.
But alas, ABC’s Good Morning America didn’t have time to relay this news during the first half-hour of Saturday’s program. They were too busy reporting on a horrific scandal involving a prominent Democratic politician. And no, it was not about Benghazi, or the IRS targeting conservative groups, or anything to do with President Obama. Nope, this scandal involved New York City’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio. It turns out the mayor was caught red-handed eating pizza the wrong way. Co-anchor Dan Harris introduced the story: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Bullying by staffers of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has denied knowledge of their actions when they were taken, is a national news obsession. Bullying by staffers of Colorado Senator Mark Udall — which the Senator has acknowledged and is defending — is barely a blip.
The story, first reported in the Colorado blogosphere at Complete Colorado, is that Udall staffers "worked assiduously to revise press accounts that 249,000 Coloradans received health care cancellation notices" by pressuring the state's Department of Insurance to change the definition of "cancellation." There is no dispute that the cancellations as normal people understand the word occurred (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Lee set about spinning the results of the latest Quinnipiac Poll, which shows President Obama sitting atop a 41 percent approval rating, up from a low of 38 percent in December, but still a net negative approval rating. Lee used the slight uptick in approval as a springboard to forecast that the president's economically liberal spending agenda could change his and his party's fortunes (emphasis mine):
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
Healthcare.gov may be riddled with security flaws, but MSNBC’s Karen Finney doesn’t want to let that tarnish the liberal dream that is ObamaCare.
On Sunday’s Disrupt with Karen Finney, the host mocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recently revealed memo detailing the House GOP’s goals for the beginning of this year. Noting that ObamaCare website security was Cantor’s top priority, the former DNC communications chief sneered: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Do liberal journalists ever get tired of pretending to offer conservative Republicans sage campaign advice? The latest example is the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie, who insists that "barring catastrophe" the GOP's anti-ObamaCare message will prove "irrelevant" to Republican success in November.
"[I]nstead of rehashing the rhetoric of the last four years, Republicans should start to think a little harder about what–if anything–they want out of a health care system," Bouie concluded his January 6 story, after having explained why he thinks beating the drum against ObamaCare's failures won't help the GOP:
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.
When something important is falling apart — say a relationship or a business idea — it's not always easy to keep up appearances. After all, one still has the occasional private conversation with close friends and confidants where the truth gets acknowledged, even when one doesn't want the rest of the public to know about it.
Meet the Press host David Gregory appears to have forgotten for the briefest moment that he was not in private but in the public eye this morning. As blogger Ann Althouse noted (HT Instapundit; MTP transcript here), Gregory had the following to say at the conclusion of a segment whose purpose was supposedly "to get beyond some of these political arguments over Obamacare here in Washington" by interviewing "two top leaders in the medical field from the hospitals mentioned by the president to give us their insights on the future of Obamacare" (bolds is mine):
In late October, continuing a four-year pattern of making such claims, MIT's Jonathan Gruber, who along with Ezekiel "Zeke the Bleak" Emanuel is considered one of the two "architects" of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, pointed to a study which claimed that "the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money." But, as Wingfield noted in his Friday column, Gruber sang a totally different tune when quoted in the Washington Post on Thursday.
Whatever are you to do when you're a journalist who favors Team Obama but the administration is going up against an underdog that you'd have to be a monster to hate: the Little Sisters of the Poor. Well, you simply call the Obama administration the "U.S. government" and you structure your story in such a way that it sounds like those silly sisters are making much ado about nothing against a "so-called contraceptive mandate."
Obamacare's designers appear to have assumed that life is completely static. As far as they're concerned, people who are single don't marry, women don't have children, married couples don't sometimes divorce, individuals and families don't move, and workers don't change jobs. I say that because HealthCare.gov will from all appearances not accommodate any of the aforementioned common life changes. Seriously. (I'm not about to test that assertion myself; the site is still hopelessly not secure, remember?)
A very weak headline at an Associated Press report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar carried at Yahoo News attempted to limit the damage, perhaps in hopes that smartphone users and others won't click through and see how awful and far more sweeping the problems are (bolds are mine):
When he revealed toFox News Channel viewers the winner of the Media Research Center's liberal media Quote of the Year, substitute host Eric Bolling couldn't "run the actual footage" of the description of the disgusting scatalogical treatment that former MSNBC Martin Bashir wished on Sarah Palin "because it's too obscene" for television, MRC founder and president Brent Bozell noted on the January 2 edition of Hannity.
What's also obscene, Bozell complained, was how MSNBC executives never expressed any disgust at Bashir's comments (video below):