Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):
President Obama's lie that folks who like their insurance plans could keep them is merely a "political mess," MSNBC.com's Geoffrey Cowley is insisting. After all, "consumers still stand to benefit from the new rules" governing the health care industry." [see screen capture following page break]
"For a president who has spent five years fighting for health care reform, this should be a blissful moment," Cowley lamented in the open of his October 30 story, "Debunking the right's latest Obamacare spin." But alas, "Instead, the administration is slogging through one of the toughest weeks since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago." Cowley conceded that maybe the president didn't lay out the caveats he should have in his campaign rhetoric, but that folks really have nothing to complain about since they're now forced to buy much more comprehensive -- and correspondingly more expensive -- coverage (emphasis mine):
Craig Shirley, author of several large tomes on Ronald Reagan's political history, is merciless on Real Clear Politics toward MSNBC star Chris Matthews and his new book on "Tip and the Gipper."
This isn't a book about Reagan or Tip O'Neill, he writes. "It is the history of Chris Matthews before he became the Chris Matthews we see on cable television today. It falls into the category of micro personal history, but is so elfin as to be inconsequential." You can't find Matthews even mentioned in the index of Tip O'Neill's memoir, he reports.
Barack Obama lied to the American people – repeatedly and with a straight face – every time he insisted that those who like their current healthcare could keep it under Obamacare. And he’ll keep lying to the American people because the liberal media refuse to hold him accountable.
NBC News, whose own reporter found the language in Obamacare proving Obama knowingly lied to the people for over three years, gave this bombshell revelation a pathetic 21 seconds of coverage on Nightly News. There was no follow-up on Today. In other words, NBC News buried their own reporter to protect Obama.
Time magazine's Kate Pickert was unfazed by the revelation that President Obama lied to the American people when he promised that folks would be able to keep their existing insurance plans.
Sure, "President Obama has broken his promise that Americans who like their health insurance plans can keep them under the Affordable Care Act," Pickert offered in her Monday evening post, "The Bright Side of Obamacare's Broken Promise," "[b]ut the truth is that only a small percentage of Americans will have their health insurance choices narrowed because of the ACA." What's more, Pickert insisted, the plan that folks will have to buy (quite often at an inflated cost over the plans they liked but lost) will be better, because, well, the government is mandating all sorts of new, costly goodies in them:
Monday night on her Fox News program, Megyn Kelly played a clip of President Obama going beyond the now-infamous "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise. Earlier Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News revealed that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them."
At the 0:59 mark of the video which follows (HT Mediaite), viewers will see Kelly introduce and then replay Obama's February 2010 promise that "any insurance you have will be grandfathered in," even if it's an "Acme Insurance, just a high deductible catastrophic plan":
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
Two snares stand in the way of conservatives' fervent desire to dismantle Obamacare: 1) a possible perception that its problems are limited to the technical issues with the rollout and 2) the GOP's potentially suicidal impulse to bail Obama out.
Though the problems with the rollout are far more than website "glitches," they can and will be fixed. But once fixed, substantive problems will remain that will only be corrected if Obamacare is undone.
Time magazine's Rana Foroohar can admit the obvious: ObamaCare is fraught with numerous problems. But the "Curious Capitalist" columnist has a strange but sadly predictable prescription: more socialism and uniformity and less amenities for the average health-care consumer.
Foroohar laid out her arguments in her Monday, October 28 piece, "What Obamacare Can Learn From Britain's National Health Service." Sure, Foroohar confessed, single-payer medicine like the NHS has its side effects, especially for mothers of newborns, but you can survive just fine with midwives and crowded maternity wards, just like she did (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now."
Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):
One of the most effective ways of discouraging people is to make them think there's absolutely nothing they can do about something, anyway. Thus, liberals have tried to insinuate that Obamacare is impossible to remove, hoping conservatives will despair.
But with only one-half of one branch of government, Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and the House Republicans have made it absolutely clear that Republicans are not giving up on repealing Obamacare. Inasmuch as "bubonic plague" is polling higher than "Obamacare," I'd say this is a brilliant marketing strategy for the GOP.
On the air, MSNBC is doing its best to level some criticism of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare but to principally deflect blame to, who else, Republicans. But the Lean Forward network's website today actually published an item headlined, "Left burned in Obamacare rollout."
"President Obama might have said on Monday that 'no one is more frustrated' than he is about the messy launch of his health care website, but he’s got serious competition for the title," noted writer Benjy Sarlin, adding, ""The flubbed rollout was a punch in the gut for the president’s allies in Democratic and progressive circles who fought for the law for years in the face of unrelenting conservatives attacks." What's more (emphasis mine):
Gregory Ferenstein has an excellent post this evening entitled, "Who Said It? President Obama Or An Infomercial?" wherein the TechCrunch contributor drew quotes from the president's Monday morning Rose Garden presser and threw in some lines from infomercials. "In the past, I’ve been exceedingly complimentary of Obama’s approach to innovation and transparency. But the press conference today was a bizarre mix of propaganda and crass salesmanship unbecoming of a president," Ferenstein groused, adding, "The American people deserve an explanation, not a 1-800 number."
This is the sort of mockery and outrage that pundits in the network news media would be bestowing on President Obama if he had an "R" after his name. At any rate, here's how Ferenstein began his piece (h/t my colleague Geoff Dickens):
Moments earlier, President Obama wrapped up a petulant, whiney Rose Garden harangue in which he defended ObamaCare while insisting no one was more frustrated by the botched roll-out than he was.
Earlier this morning, Time magazine took it upon itself to counsel that the chief executive "has to get mad" about the failures of the ObamaCare web portal. "Political reality, unlike actual reality, is malleable stuff," writer Michael Scherer offered, adding:
Western states where a majority of land is owned by the federal government were disproportionately harmed by the closure of national park lands during the partial government shutdown. Local economies in those states suffered as small businesses dependent on tourism to those parks took a big hit. Some of those states kicked in donations to reopen a few parks during the shutdown, you may recall.
Washington Post GovBeat blogger Niraj Chokshi noticed how some of those states have passed laws calling on the federal government to turn over control of "millions of acres of federal public lands to the states," and how some Western politicians believe that the shutdown bolsters their case. Chokshi's October 15 story was picked up for print by Post editors, but the 13-paragraph item was buried on page A18 in Friday's paper.
ObamaCare is "the ultimate survivor," exults a headline at the newly-redesigned MSNBC.com website today.
But the article actually teased by that headline -- "The challenges facing Obamacare" -- went at lengths to detail challenges facing the implementation of President Obama's signature health-care overhaul and to, what else, blame Republicans for anything that is already or may proceed to go wrong with the rollout. "With enemies like John Boehner, a president hardly needs friends," writer Geoffrey Cowley whined in his lead paragraph:
No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare -- and I'm using the word "passed" pretty loosely.
It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered "settled law"?) Not one Republican voted for it -- and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn't.
Sweet set out to convince readers that while the White House veggie garden was the first lady's "signature project," she was powerless to thwart the ravages of Mother Nature as the shutdown furloughed gardeners who tended to the plants. Apparently the First Lady can't work the garden herself with some capable volunteers from local charities like Miriam's Kitchen helping her, even though she used those folks for a harvesting photo-op in October 2009 (emphasis mine):
For someone whose job title is global business editor, Daniel Gross seems far more concerned with bashing businessmen for not toeing the liberal line than reporting business news. Then again, perhaps we shouldn't expect that much from The Daily Beast.
Gross, who has slammed Apple's penchant for legal tax avoidance as being "too greedy for its own good" turned his attention today to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, lambasting him for daring to blame both Republicans and Democrats for the government shutdown, rather than use the work stoppage as an occasion to spout liberal talking points demonizing the Tea Party. The Yahoo! Finance alum seems particularly miffed because of Schultz's push for socially liberal stands in the past:
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn't ask for Obamacare, they don't want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren't accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work -- or firing them -- to avoid the law's mandates.
The big talk in conservative radio on Thursday is Barack Obama’s 37 percent approval rating in the latest AP poll. Hosts are also making fun of how AP announced this number: buried in paragraph eight of a story headlined “Poll: No Heroes In Shutdown, GOP Gets Most Blame.”
Guess what? Brent Baker reported when an AP poll found President Bush's approval rating hit a new low of 37 percent on March 10, 2006, NBC's Brian Williams led the newscast with it. When an NBC News poll found the same number on March 15, Williams led the program with it again, turning to Tim Russert to say, "let's start with that all-important benchmark for presidents, the approval rating." Now, the networks are trying to avoid this Obama number.
"They have one month," announced Time magazine's Kate Pickert. "If the officials running the new Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges cannot fix crippling computer glitches by then, the health law’s future could be imperiled, according to a former high-ranking health care official."
“By November—certainly the middle of November—the sites have to be able to handle major traffic for people to be able to set up accounts and purchase coverage," Pickert quoted Joel Ario, former director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "[T]he longer it takes to repair problems with exchange web sites, the harder it may be to enroll Americans who want coverage," Pickert noted. [Helpful suggestion for Pickert: For the office Halloween party you really should dress up as Captain Obvious.]
Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let's look at some examples.
Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on record as saying, "We shouldn't abandon the public schools."
In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has put the kibosh on a book by whistleblower John Dodson not because he would disclose any sensitive, classified information but rather "because the agency says it would hurt morale," reported Washington Post staffer Sari Horwitz in Tuesday's paper in her 16-paragraph story, "ATF rejects 'Fast and Furious' book."
While clearly such a story is worthy of front-page coverage, editors shuffled it off to page A8. Among the stories on A1 today, the story least-worthy of front-page real estate was William Wan's "Apple for the teacher? In China, many think bigger." Wan's story focused on how bribery was crucial to procure slots at the better public schools in Communist China. An interesting story, but of less import to Americans than a federal agency quashing a book by a whistleblower.
In the midst of a federal government shutdown wherein he's refusing to negotiate with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama had time to hold forth with his thoughts on the name of the Washington Redskins, telling the Associated Press on Saturday that he would "think about changing" the name were he owner of the NFL franchise. Of course, the Big Three networks and major newspapers across the country dutifully snapped to attention to cover that non-story. The New York Times went so far as to say the president's opinion amounted to a "new turn" in the "long-simmering debate."
But today the Associated Press is reporting something over which President Obama does have a direct say: the federal government's abject failure to address the widespread waste and fraud that marks Indian tribes' spending of U.S. taxpayer monies. The Associated Press has the story, which I accessed at Time magazine's website. Here's an excerpt:
Republicans are godless anti-government zealots responsible for a federal government shutdown that will literally kill people, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged in the closing "Clear the Air" commentary on his Friday, October 4 program.
But in a not-so-clever twist, the ever-sanctimonious Bashir -- who has a penchant for selective Bible-thumping to push liberal agenda points -- sought to enlist the nonpartisan Senate chaplain, Dr. Barry C. Black, to condemn Republicans for him. The relevant transcript is below the page break, as is the video of the segment:
If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time.
It's a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government "shutdown." The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.