Obama Watch

By Ken Shepherd | March 25, 2014 | 4:10 PM EDT

"As President Obama prepares for his first visit of his second term to Saudi Arabia, pressure is mounting on the State Department to publish the most comprehensive U.S. government study of the Kingdom’s textbooks," Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reported today. "While the study has been finished since the end of 2012, it has nonetheless been kept from the public, according to a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a center-right think tank in Washington." The Obama/Kerry State Department failing to be transparent and release a study for public consumption?! Perish the thought!

The study was commissioned to investigate the extent to which Saudi textbooks are laden with anti-Israeli and extremist religious rhetoric. and, "according to current and former U.S. officials, presents a mixed picture":

By Tom Blumer | March 25, 2014 | 12:56 AM EDT

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.

By Ken Shepherd | March 24, 2014 | 4:33 PM EDT

"[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):

By Tim Graham | March 21, 2014 | 2:18 PM EDT

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson told a Philadelphia radio station on Friday that “nobody was interested in the stories” she was doing on the Obama scandals, or other investigative stories.

“Nobody was interested in the stories. It didn’t seem to matter what the topic was. There’s sort of a problem all over, I talk to my colleagues in different mediums. There’s just a lot of pressure. Investigative reporting gets a lot of backlash. They don’t quite know how to deal with it. Why not just put on stories that don’t draw that kind of response?” Instead, it's "Between Two Ferns" updates.

By Tom Blumer | March 19, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

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):

By Cal Thomas | March 19, 2014 | 6:35 PM EDT

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may eventually be discovered, but there is something else that has been missing for much longer and its "disappearance" has far greater implications for America. It is our foreign policy. Can anyone say what it is?

With Russia's Vladimir Putin behaving like a modern Catherine the Great in his efforts to annex Crimea and possibly all of Ukraine, what is our policy toward Russia, which is behaving increasingly like its former, supposedly dead, communist self?

By Ken Shepherd | March 18, 2014 | 4:30 PM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | March 17, 2014 | 11:45 AM EDT

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):

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):