Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
On Thursday for Friday's print edition, the New York Times carried a weakly headlined but well-written story entitled "U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination" on its front page. Written by Sharon LaFraniere with the help of three others, it laid out how what began in 1997 as a class-action suit by black farmers (Pigford v. Glickman) claiming they had suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture "became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms." Moreover, LaFraniere covered how the scope of the litigation grew "to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers" to the tune of over 90,000 claims and potential ultimate taxpayer cost of over $4.4 billion, in the process morphing into a vehicle for the Obama administration to unjustifiably dole out taxpayer money to as many people and constituent groups as possible. It is worth reading the entire story, though it will make just about anyone concerned about the financial and cultural future of this nation shudder.
The Times coverage indeed "vindicates" the late Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government blog exposed the fraud associated with Pigford, but that vindication is hardly satisfying. We're supposed to be impressed that the paper finally got around to substantively covering it, and that the paper even noted the "Public criticism (which) came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud." I don't see why.