Obama Watch

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)

By Tim Graham | February 21, 2014 | 9:03 AM EST

Washington Post reporter Zachary Goldfarb caused spit takes in Washington on Friday morning. At the top left of the paper, the headline is "Obama budget to rebuff austerity." Or, as Goldfarb described the new White House budget document, "Obama will call for an an end to the era of austerity that has dogged his presidency..."

Is there nobody at the Post who can properly understand that the largest deficits in American history have occurred in the past five years? This was quickly mocked on Twitter:

By Ann Coulter | February 20, 2014 | 7:13 PM EST

Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.

What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven't you already read all the magazines in your current doctor's office anyway?

By Ken Shepherd | February 20, 2014 | 3:16 PM EST

Kudos to the Daily Beast for reporting this story. Don't hold your breath for the network news outlets to pick up on it and doggedly pursue it.

In an exclusive published at the website today, Josh Rogin and Noah Shachtman explain how there's credible evidence that regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad may have used chemical weapons in January 2014, something that U.S. intelligence officials are denying but which eyewitnesses on the ground insist occurred (excerpt follows; emphasis mine):

By Ken Shepherd | February 11, 2014 | 12:40 PM EST

"How much do state dinners cost? They ain't cheap" teased a headline on CBSNews.com this morning. But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there's more.

In his February 11 story, longtime CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported not only the pretty penny the U.S. taxpayer foots for state dinners in the Obama era, but how the Obama State Department -- first under Clinton and continuing under John Kerry -- has been less than forthcoming about the cost. Knoller had to resort to a Freedom of Information Act request and House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been given the cold shoulder altogether (story excerpted in full, emphases mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2014 | 10:17 AM EST

As I noted Monday night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, displayed rare candor when he opened his 8:28 p.m. report on the latest unilateral changes to Obamacare by describing their motivation as "Angling to avoid political peril." I wrote last night that "I’ll be surprised if it (the "political" characterization) survives revisions later this evening." Well, it didn't.

At the AP's national site, the 8:28 p.m. link now goes to Alonso-Zaldivar's 3:27 a.m. rendition (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes). Just in time for review by morning news show producers and editors, the new story scrubs away any hint of political thinking on the part of the administration itself, instead depositing it with Democrats trying to hold the Senate in this November's elections. A national site search on "angling" confirms the old story's non-presence. There is a politics-related quote in the revised piece — but of course, only from a Republican.

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2014 | 10:03 PM EST

The opening of Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar's 8:28 p.m. report on President Obama's latest round of extra-legal, extra-constitutional manuevers relating to the Affordable Care Act — scratch that, it really isn't the Affordable Care Act as written any more; it really is "Obamacare," defined as "whatever Obama and his administration have done to the ACA as originally written" — is a keeper. That's why the report is also here for future reference.

Alonso-Zaldivar's first sentence tells you everything you need to know about the administration's management of Obamacare's implementation. As such, I'll be surprised if it survives revisions later this evening. It isn't about making sure Americans get quality health insurance. It isn't about first-rate care, or efficiency, or any other objective relating to a benefit the American people might see, touch, or feel. See the AP story's headline and first sentence after the jump:

By Christian Robey | February 7, 2014 | 4:24 PM EST

As Sarah Jean Seman at Townhall.com adroitly points out: “The 2.5 million workers that will be driven out of the workforce due to Obamacare is actually 'a liberating result of the law,' in the eyes of The New York Times.”

Seman went on to quote what perhaps is the most absurd, twisted logic in the entire February 5 editorial by the Times:

By Michelle Malkin | February 6, 2014 | 7:23 PM EST

Fraudsters on the inside, hackers on the outside. Here we are, stuck in the middle with the security nightmare called Obamacare. Can it get any worse? Yes, it can.

After the spectacular website crashes during last fall's federal health insurance exchange rollout, enrollees will soon wish the entire system had stayed down and dead. "404 Error" messages and convicted felon Obamacare navigators may be the least of our health care tech problems now. The latest? U.S. intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services last week that the Healthcare.gov infrastructure could be infected with malicious code.

By Tom Blumer | February 6, 2014 | 5:21 PM EST

Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters made reference Tuesday to an Associated Press story headline ("Modest drop in full-time work seen from health law") indicating that the outfit I prefer to call the Administration's Press is furiously spinning in reaction to Tuesday's report from the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Obamacare will reduce full-time-equivalent employment from what it would have been without the law by 2.5 million over the next 10 years.

The underlying content of the story Ken referenced is weak, as is Calvin Woodward's longer "fact check" ("ANTI-OBAMACARE CHORUS IS OFF KEY") currently carrying an early Thursday time stamp. Woodward's piece is especially troubling in how it seems to treat work as a curse instead of a necessary component of societal progress. But let's first look at the full "modest drop" dispatch.

By Ken Shepherd | February 6, 2014 | 1:09 PM EST

Desperately working to keep his patient from bleeding out, the Washington Post's William Branigin set about emergency surgery on ObamaCare's public perception in his February 6 page A4 article, "CBO director: Health law will boost employment."

"Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified Wednesday that the new health-care law will spur employment by boosting overall demand for goods and services," Branigin approvingly opened his 7-paragraph story, explaining that the chief of the nonpartisan CBO was "answering questions from Democrats who were trying to counter claims by Republicans that the Affordable Care Act will cost jobs."

By Ken Shepherd | February 4, 2014 | 5:07 PM EST

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report this morning projecting among other things, that 2.5 million Americans will drop out of full-time work thanks to ObamaCare. We will, of course, track how the broadcast networks cover this story, but if the news websites for ABC, CBS, and NBC are any indication, they will downplay and/or heavily spin this development.

For its part, for example, ABCNews.com teased a February 4 AP story with the headline "Modest Drop in Full-Time Work Seen From Health Law" in their "latest news" sidebar. By contrast, CBSNews.com was front and center with the CBO story, their teaser headline declaring, "New report stokes debate on Obamacare, jobs" [see screen captures below page break]