Obama Watch

By Scott Rasmussen | March 13, 2014 | 7:03 PM EDT

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.

By Tom Blumer | March 12, 2014 | 9:58 AM EDT

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.

By Tom Blumer | March 10, 2014 | 11:53 PM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 8, 2014 | 8:25 PM EST

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):

By Tim Graham | March 7, 2014 | 9:48 PM EST

  Former ThinkProgress blogger Zaid Jilani has written that during his time at the Center for American Progress blog,  senior staff of the Center were "berated" for being too critical of President Obama on the war in Afghanistan. He compared the pressure to shut up as similar to the Russia Today cable channel.

He asserted that phone calls came in to CAP from the White House complaining about bloggers being critical of Obama's war policies, despite Jilani being the toast of MSNBC for a graph in 2011 showing Obama was leaving more troops in Afghanistan than George W. Bush ever had there:

By Randy Hall | March 6, 2014 | 6:55 PM EST

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.

By Ken Shepherd | March 5, 2014 | 5:00 PM EST

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:

By Tom Blumer | February 28, 2014 | 8:12 AM EST

The volume of significant news going unreported in the establishment press has gone from astonishing to surreal. The best example of that, as intrepid NewsBusters posters have noted now for nine months, is the virtually complete blackout in the establishment press of developments in the IRS-conservative targeting scandal.

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.

By Ann Coulter | February 26, 2014 | 7:02 PM EST

Democrats believe they've hit on the perfect issue to distract from the horror of Obamacare in the 2014 elections: the minimum wage.

Apparently, increasing the minimum wage was not important for American workers during the first five years of Obama's presidency -- least of all his first two years, when Democrats controlled Congress and could have passed anything. (And did!)

By Brent Baker | February 22, 2014 | 11:42 PM EST

Steve Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, on Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, scoffed at the Washington Post’s front page characterization that President Barack Obama’s expected budget proposal “will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency.”

Hayes marveled: “This is one of the funny things about reading mainstream newspapers and watching mainstream media report on this President, is they somehow are operating under the illusion we’re living in this age of austerity.” Krauthammer proposed, “we have talked about Obama’s assaulting the Constitution. This is an assault on the dictionary. This is a guy who ran $4 trillion of deficit in three years...”

By Tom Blumer | February 22, 2014 | 10:11 AM EST

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):

By NB Staff | February 22, 2014 | 7:38 AM EST

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission continued backing away from the notion that it needed to poke around newsrooms and ask if “critical information needs” were being met. Score a point for the conservative media, since the liberal media stayed quiet. 

“Any subsequent market studies conducted by the FCC, if determined necessary, will not seek participation from or include questions for media owners, news directors or reporters,” said an agency statement. MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on TheBlaze TV’s “Wilkow” show Thursday to denounce the idea, and suggest it wouldn’t be completed. (Video below)