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."
On Tuesday evening, the networks continued relaying the White House's plea to young voters to sign up for ObamaCare, touting President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis where Obama plugged for his own health care law. ABC's Diane Sawyer called it a "bold move" and both CBS and NBC hailed the interview as a success. CBS's Scott Pelley said, "it worked. The video became the number one reason people visited HealthCare.gov today."
The networks ignored, however, the bad news of the day for the law, that enrollment numbers for young people are still far below what is needed.
PBS found a sly new way to promote ObamaCare on Monday’s NewsHour. It came as part of a feature story on nutrition for young mothers and their infants. Anchor Judy Woodruff introduced the story by talking about malnutrition in young children and the importance of proper nutrition for mothers, particularly young ones. This set up her selling point: “Starting in 2010, a program under the health care reform law made that idea more of a possibility in many states.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The story that followed centered around the Circle of Life program, which essentially helps young, low-income parents in northern Arkansas raise their children. PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, who narrated the package, explained Circle of Life’s connection to ObamaCare:
Tuesday's lead New York Times editorial attack on the paper's favorite conservative bogeyman, the Koch brothers ("The Democrats Stand Up to the Kochs") followed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's political playbook, denouncing Obama-care horror stories as "phony," while approving of Reid's Senate-floor smear of donors Charles and David Koch as "un-American."
And a recent Times report on Reid's push by Ashley Parker (pictured) skipped completely the slur by Reid, who stated in a February 26 speech on the Senate floor denouncing Koch-funded ads publicizing ObamaCare horror stories: "The Koch brothers are about as un-American as anyone I can imagine."
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows dutifully touted a fake interview President Obama conducted with comedian Zach Galifianakis designed to help the commander-in-chief hock ObamaCare to young people. On NBC's Today, social media co-host Carson Daly gushed: "It's over six minutes long...all of it is really, really funny....You know, the First Lady's been everywhere showing her comedy chops and it's been great. But boy, the President, he is amazing in this. So check that out this morning if you have time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the show's 9 a.m. ET hour, weatherman Al Roker praised Obama's comedic genius: "It's about the delivery and the President shows he's got the comedy chops." Co-host Tamron Hall declared: "Yes, yes. Which he shows at the White House Correspondents' Dinner every year." Co-host Willie Geist explained: "It was part of a – this concerted effort to promote the Affordable Care Act. Because they get into that and the President's allowed to explain it."
In a nakedly political move designed to ease election year pressure on Democrats the Obama administration has delayed, yet again, another aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and again the Big Three networks have barely covered it.
The White House’s March 5 announcement that they would allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don’t meet ObamaCare standards was granted a total of just four minutes and 33 seconds on the ABC, CBS, NBC evening and morning shows. And while all three networks commented on the election-year timing of the announcement, not a single anchor or reporter depicted the move as the unconstitutional end-around Congress that it is. [video after the jump]
In the past week, Radio Shack has announced that will close 1,100 stores, or over 20 percent of its U.S. outlets. Staples is shuttering 225 stores, or roughly 12 percent of theirs. Smaller downsizings earlier this year have been reported at Macy's (involving store and other personnel) and J.C. Penney.
One gets the impression from press reports that these are occurring primarily because of poor management or the ongoing trend towards more online sales. Though those two factors are obviously relevant, the fact that the economy began weakening during the fourth quarter, especially so in December, rarely gets a mention. When it does get noted, it's usually something mild, along the lines of "disappointing holiday sales." A Thursday afternoon Associated Press article by business writer Tom Murphy illustrates the kid-glove approach (bolds are mine; my responses to certain of Murphy's points are in italics):
It was an absolute certainty that MSNBC would attack Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) following his Thursday morning speech at CPAC. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host wrung her hands over Cruz’s continued criticism of ObamaCare. With the air of an impatient mother, Witt fumed, “I know he’s just serving up red meat to the base. Republicans believe this is going to help them in the midterms. But aren't we past that yet?”
GOP strategist Susan Del Percio, a real MSNBC-type Republican, seemed to feel the same way about Cruz. She replied to Witt’s question, “Not if you're Ted Cruz. I mean, that's what he has become known as, is as a firebrander. He just throws this stuff out there.” With timid, apologetic Republican analysts like Del Percio, it’s no wonder MSNBC can’t have any real debates on their programs. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Few have defended the Obama administration, and especially Obamacare, as vocally and in my view often unreasonably, as Fox News's Juan Williams. He has gone so far as to call Republican Party opposition to Obamacare its "original sin," and absurdly claimed that "massive opposition" from Republicans is what forced HealthCare.gov's rushed rollout.
One blind spot Williams does not have involves how consistently horribly leftists treat African-American conservatives, or even African-Americans who express an occasional sensibly conservative thought. One reason the left is so brazen in its persecution attempts is its knowledge that no matter how uncivil or unreasonable, their attempts will almost never gain wide exposure in the nation's establishment press. The latest example concerns calls by the faculty at Rutgers University to prevent former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from her scheduled appearance as commencement speaker there this year. Williams expressed his outrage in a Thursday Fox News column (HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
If you're looking for proof that the MSNBC is in the tank for the Democrats and ObamaCare, you need go no further than to read an article posted on Wednesday by reporter Geoffrey Cowley that states insurance companies can “keep offering substandard individual health plans through 2016.”
By extending the time to apply for the Affordable Care Act by two more years, the administration has “extended the treaty it reached last fall with the half-million consumers who were set to lose their low-cost, low-value insurance plans," Cowley insisted.
After being the lone network to report ObamaCare's newest delay on Wednesday morning, CBS dropped the story on Wednesday evening's newscast. Both NBC and ABC reported the news -- very briefly -- but only NBC provided criticism from Republicans.
"The White House announced late today that some will now be able to keep their plans for another two years before they have to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans immediately cried foul, calling it a political move to prevent cancellation notices from showing up in the mail just before the mid-term elections this fall," reported NBC's Brian Williams on the Nightly News.
The Obama administration is preparing to put in place yet another delay in ObamaCare, forestalling a wave of insurance policy cancelations that are mandated by law in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In doing so, some of the negative repercussions of ObamaCare will be delayed until well after the November 2014 midterm election.
The political journalists at the Washington Post are no fools, they must surely realize the nakedly political nature of the move, but the reader would not get that from Amy Goldstein's coverage in March 5 print article, which editors buried at the item at the bottom of page A6 with the bland headline, "Americans may be able to keep old health-care plans longer under rewrite of rules."What's more, Goldstein waited until the eighth and final paragraph to give a fleeting, misleading account of Republican criticism:
President Obama will be enacting yet another delay for ObamaCare, but the networks were silent about the prospect of it on Tuesday night. The administration is set to allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don't meet ObamaCare standards, and the delay will be tailored around the November Congressional elections.
The Hillclearly saw the move as political – "easing election pressure on Democrats" – since it would avoid the "firestorm" of many health plans being cancelled right before the November elections. CBSNews.com reported the news, but none of the network evening news casts touched the story on Tuesday.
You reap what you sow. Most MSNBC hosts have excitedly touted ObamaCare over the past four years, despite warnings that the law would increase costs for businesses. Well, now we are beginning to see the natural consequences of what the health care law is doing to businesses, and at least one MSNBC host is upset by it.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt was incensed that Gator’s Dockside, a Florida restaurant chain, has started charging its customers a one percent surcharge to help cover expected ObamaCare-related costs. Witt fumed, “[I]s it even legal to just add on a surcharge like that? I mean, it’s essentially a tax.” [See video below the break.]
Separately, left-leaning law professor Jonathan Turley warned a Congressional committee on Wednesday that President Obama's extensive use of executive orders, executive actions, and unilateral regulatory moves threatens to enable the President, as Turley phrased it in a Fox News interview on Thursday, to "effectively become a government unto himself." If Turley had made his statement in 2006 or 2007 during the Iraq War, it would almost certainly have become a media obsession. Instead, as will be shown after the jump, Turley's testimony is being completely ignored by everyone except center-right news outlets and bloggers.
On Tuesday evening, the networks continued their blackout of a CMS estimate that ObamaCare would raise health premiums for 11 million people -- almost two-thirds of small business plans.
The CMS report was released on Friday but the networks have been silent on it so far. The story wasn’t omitted from a busy news schedule, as the CBS Evening News carved out over two minutes to reminisce on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston championship bout. The ABC World News ran a segment on “sleep whisperers” and insomnia.
Thanks to ObamaCare, about two-thirds of Americans who work at small businesses will see a spike in their health insurance premiums. Reaction at ABC, CBS and NBC to this devastating news for employees across the nation? A big fat yawn.
No one at the Big Three networks have reported on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report, issued on Friday, that anticipates 65 percent of small businesses will see their health insurance premiums rise. This isn’t what the President promised on the 2012 campaign trail:
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Friday, Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin filed a Style section front-pager on Marlon Marshall, the “deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he is charged with helping to sell the Affordable Care Act, which remains politically polarizing and was damaged by a disastrous Web site rollout last fall.”
What sticks out most in this profile is how Planned Parenthood – which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money each year – is an integral part of selling Obamacare door to door, and this is somehow not seen as controversial: