Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services has come under major scrutiny for bypassing Congress and soliciting donations from health executives to help support ObamaCare, yet CNN has barely mentioned the story.
The Washington Postbroke the news on May 10 that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had gone "hat in hand, to health industry officials" to support non-profits promoting ObamaCare. Republicans are questioning Sebelius seeking support from the very sector she regulates, and also want to know if she coordinated with the private sector to bypass Congress in getting financial support for ObamaCare. Also, if Sebelius sought donations as HHS Secretary and not as a private citizen, that would violate federal law.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for soliciting donations from health care companies to underwrite ObamaCare PR efforts to increase enrollment but you wouldn't know that if you only got your news from ABC and NBC or skipped Sunday's edition of CBS's Face the Nation.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have effectively buried the scandal that was first broken by the Washington Post on May 10.
As the Big Three –NBC, ABC, and CBS – continue to engage in, to borrow a George Will term, journalistic malpractice over ObamaCare’s adverse effects on the economy, they probably missed the development concerning Democrats who are calling for repeal of a tax which was embedded within the behemoth health care overhaul.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is ramping up her efforts to repeal the tax on medical devices that’s included in ObamaCare. The liberal Talking Points Memo reported today that it’s building upon a vote last month,where the majority of Senate Democrats voted with their GOP colleagues to repeal the tax. Klobuchar, of course, voted for ObamaCare. But wait, there's more discontent from Democratic ranks, with Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus warning of a coming "train wreck" when ObamaCare is scheduled for full implementation in 2014.
The liberal media "are deliberately censoring news and information from the American people" on ObamaCare that would cast the Obama administration in a negative light, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell charged on the April 11 edition of Varney & Co.
The Media Research Center president rattled off a few such developments that the liberal media completely ignored (watch the full segment below):
On March 20, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein reported that it seems Obamacare’s true costs are starting to sink in with its most ardent supporters: Democrats. Despite years of the liberal media reporting that this new trillion dollar health care entitlement will save money over the next decade, that outcome is, to be generous, highly dubious, especially with the possibility of eleven million new illegals being able to apply for health care benefits, the cost of health care will have to increase.
Count this as another violation of federal law which the liberal media will ignore if not bury. A watchdog group is alleging that the Democratic National Committee "failed to properly disclose its reimbursements for a 2012 trip during which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act," Josh Hicks of the Washington Post reported today.
You may recall that last September, the network news media failed to note the original Sebelius violation of the 1939 law which forbids federal employees from partisan electioneering. Had Sebelius been punished appropriately she would have either been forced to resign or had to have taken a 30-day suspension. Neither course of action was pursued by the Obama administration.
One of the establishment press's favorite tactics to diminish the perceived strength of a position taken by people or companies they are inclined not to favor is to take objectively true facts and statements and reduce them to things only those people or companies "say" or "believe."
Hobby Lobby's court battle against the ObamaCare mandates is a perfect case in point, with both the Politico and Associated Press providing recent related examples of this fundamentally dishonest tactic. In the December 26 item at the Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Kathryn Smith also falsely framed the situation as an argument over "contraception" (more on that in a bit; bolds are mine throughout this post). But first, let's look at how the pair employed the "they say" tactic:
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel informed President Obama yesterday that it found his controversial Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius violated the federal Hatch Act back in February. ABC News's Jake Tapper noted the finding in a September 12 Political Punch blog post at ABCNews.com, but World News editors apparently thought the matter unworthy of coverage last night. The story was also unreported on NBC's Nightly News and CBS's Evening News.
The Hatch Act forbids federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity and Sebelius did just that in off-the-cuff remarks as the keynote speaker at a February 25 gala for the Human Rights Campaign, Tapper noted (emphasis mine):
According to Chris Matthews, the radically pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius has "done more to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies than anyone in this country." Matthews assailed pro-life demonstrators who approve of "dictatorial laws" to reduce abortion. According to him, these protesters need to give the woman, who has made birth control "free," a "little credit."
The Hardball anchor on Thursday insisted that Sebelius, who as Kansas governor vetoed a partial birth abortion bill and entertained radical doctor George Tiller at the official residence, is a hero. Matthews praised, "It could be argued that this one person has done more to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies than anyone in our country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Get me outta here! I'm being forced in a most humiliating manner to reveal to all the world my profound ignorance of basic constitutional issues.
Something like that thought must have been rolling around inside the mind of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius while she completely choked under questioning about these legal issues by South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy. Even if you disagree profoundly with Sebelius you almost have to feel embarrassed by her pathetic performance last week at the House Education and Workforce Committee hearing. Fortunately for Sebelius her confessions of ignorance were completely ignored by the Mainstream Media but the video (and below the fold) lives on for all eternity to serve as a testament to liberal ignorance and arrogance.
In 2008, it was questionable that PBS NewsHour and Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill could moderate the vice-presidential debate as she was writing a book called “The Breakthrough” about the rise of Barack Obama and other black liberal politicians. On Thursday night, Ifill will cross another Obama line by acting as emcee for a fundraiser for the LGBT health and advocacy group the Whitman-Walker Clinic that will honor Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services for her work in implementing ObamaCare.
The invitation says “Please join Gwen Ifill, managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for the PBS News Hour, and the Whitman-Walker family as we honor United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for advancements in health care.” To be an "event host" and be listed on the program requires a $1,000 donation. Individual tickets are $150.
If you were wondering about CNN's objectivity on liberal issues like gay rights, the lines became a whole lot more blurred recently as anchor Don Lemon received a "Visibility" award from the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign at its North Carolina gala, where Obama's HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke and stumped for the President's re-election.
Then on Friday, Sebelius addressed middle school students at an anti-bullying event where Lemon served as the moderator of an anti-bullying panel. His appearances at events with an Obama cabinet member blur the lines of objectivity and his receiving an award from a gay-rights organization makes his liberal bias all the clearer.
Jake Tapper of ABC News wrote a remarkable story last week revealing the players in the Obama administration’s internal debate on the contraception mandate.
According to Tapper, President Obama’s top advisers on the issue included Vice President Joe Biden, former White House Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, White House Senior Advisers Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, two U.S. Senators – and Planned Parenthood Federation for America CEO Cecile Richards:
The Brian Williams MSNBC debate in Florida was not only dreadfully boring – I never thought I could ever long for commercials – it was pathetic. Freed of the fear of triggering an avalanche of applause against loaded questions, Williams and his co-moderators couldn’t bring themselves to utter one single question asking the Republican candidates to respond to Obama mistakes. For almost two hours, not one Obama failure was cited. Apparently, his record is spotless.
Instead, the candidates (especially Rick Santorum) were thrown four questions surrounding the 2005 legal battle in Florida over pulling the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, which pushed all the liberal media hot buttons about “far right” religious conservatives throwing their religion around where it didn’t belong. This isn’t breaking news. But like the ABC debate fixated on contraception, it’s evidence that liberal networks are focused on their agenda, not on the voters’ concerns.
John H. Cushman, Jr. of the New York Times almost completely slanted to the left in his Friday article about the Obama administration's decision to force religious organizations to include free contraception in their employee insurance plans. Cushman quoted from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, liberal Senator Barbara Boxer and the president of notorious pro-abortion "Catholics for Choice," but only included a six-word quote from the other side of the debate.
The writer led his post on the liberal paper's political blog, The Caucus, by noting that "the Obama administration said it would give religious organizations one additional year to comply with a new policy requiring employers to provide free contraception services in insurance plans. Roman Catholic bishops and other church leaders had protested the new rules, which were announced in August."
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about an online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about am online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
What's interesting is that my tweeting commenter is right that Obamacare is definitely already influencing the viability of medical practices. But Ms. Parija Kavilanz's Friday report acts as if the mind-numbingly lengthy legislation and the torrent of regulations which appear destined to end up being huge multiples of that outrageous length don't exist, and actually blames many docs for their predicaments:
Imagine that -- A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.
Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which "ought to be on the front page above the fold," and wasn't. It also "just so happens" to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby's report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Washington Post headline on a Friday story on over-the-counter abortifacients ("morning after" pills) for middle-schoolers was "Administration's Plan B move draws strong and mixed reaction." That's a terrible headline, because reporters Anne Kornblut and N.B. Aizenman only sought out liberal reaction, and then provided a Team Obama defense. Conservative reaction was omitted. (Why would conservatives read The Washington Post? Certainly not to read about themselves.) Worse yet, the Post routinely labeled feminist defenders of "morning after" pills for sexually active sixth graders as "women's rights advocates" -- when they're fighting for the sexual opportunities of sixth-graders.
There was real comedy in the story, from ultraliberal Senator Patty Murray, suddenly in the tank for Big Pharmaceuticals: "Pharmaceutical companies here in this country make some very expensive decisions, and they need to know the FDA is going to make a decision based on science."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams fretted: "The Obama administration blocks a plan to make the 'morning-after' pill more easily available to young girls. Is this about medicine, politics or something else?" Moments later, he proclaimed: "We begin tonight with this surprise decision that takes us right to the intersection of medicine, science and politics."
The CBS Evening News also lead with the decision as anchor Scott Pelley hyped: "No White House has ever overruled a safety recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration, but it happened today." In the report that followed, correspondent Wyatt Andrews announced that by overruling the FDA, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, "stunned many public health proponents."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering advice to parents and teens about sex education, including assurances that teens may “experiment” with homosexuality as part of “exploring their own sexuality,” and that masturbation should be of concern only “if a child seems preoccupied with it to the exclusion of other activities.”
The information, located on a “Questions and Answers About Sex” link on the “Quick Guide to Healthy Living” portion of the HHS Web site, also describes children and infants as “sexual beings.”
In late January (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press and the New York Times had been studiously avoiding covering the Obamacare waivers granted by Kathleen Sebelius's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Though I can't verify that the AP has ignored the issue since, it doesn't seem to have been a prominently covered item until today, when wire service reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar ("Health care law waivers stir suspicion of favors") unsurprisingly weighed in for the defense.
In doing so, the AP reporter failed to note that the waiver process's arbitrary nature, which leaves plans at the tender mercies of HHS, is troubling even if the evidence of favoritism is not yet convincing (arbitrariness can also involve poor judgment even if politics aren't involved). He also failed to address those who contend that if Obamacare is such a good thing, why are companies and other entities having to scramble to avoid it? Finally, he failed to tell readers if any waiver requests have been turned down, and if so why.
Here are excerpts from Alonso-Zaldivar's report. Get a load of his third paragraph, where he dreams up excuses, and the final excerpted paragraph, where he all but admits that waivers in general are being granted for a very important political reason -- to prevent embarrassing Obama and the Democratic Party (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNSNews.com on Wednesday that the administration's new $500 million early learning initiative is designed to deal with children from birth onward to prevent such problems as 5-year olds who "can't sit still" in a kindergarten classroom.
“You really need to look at the range of issues, because if a 5-year-old can’t sit still, it is unlikely that they can do well in a kindergarten class, and it has to be the whole range of issues that go into healthy child development,” Sebelius said during a telephone news conference on Wednesday to announce the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.
On Wednesday, the inarguably correct Mark Levin, aided by flashbacks to monologues earlier in the week, laid out in detail the rule of law standoff the Obama administration has created in choosing to defy Monday's federal court decision declaring Obamacare null and void and continuing its implementation as if the ruling doesn't exist.
In the process, he also ripped in to the clear establishment press double standard at work.
Choice excerpts follow (internal links added by me; bolds refer to media-related comments; the rest is important for grasping just how serious this is):
Here's one obvious demonstration of what happens when liberals gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco: prominent, gruesome warnings of death on boxes of cigarettes. Apparently, mere text saying smoking can be fatal isn't enough “telling truth to power.” New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris celebrated this development on the front page of the Times Thursday. The headline was “U.S. Wants Smoking's Costs to Stare You in the Face.”
Left out of this nanny-state story: the sinking feeling that the FDA could follow San Francisco's war-on-McDonald's example and start putting toe-tag photos (or maybe just obese-kid photos) on Happy Meal boxes. Anthony Hemsley of Commonwealth Brands tobacco gets a brief chance to suggest the graphic warnings add nothing and only serve “to stigmatize smokers and denormalize smoking.” (In other words, "smokers: the new alternative-lifestyle practitioners it's safe to hate.") But Harris and the Times offer a parade of Obama government officials and public-health experts to explain their gruesome graphics campaign:
Adopting language and tactics more typical of tyrants, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday sent a public letter to the head of a health insurance industry group demanding that carriers stop "falsely blaming premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act," and that "that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases."
She reinforced her short-term threat with a longer-term one:
We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014. Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.
When Sebelius threatens exclusion from the "Exchanges," she is really saying: "Shut up and eat your costs, or you'll be out of business in a few years."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday put the responsibility for passing health care on the shoulders of the pro-life Bart Stupak, worrying that the Congressman is "now threatening a mutiny over the issue of abortion." The GMA host interviewed Stupak and pressed him three times on voting for the legislation. [Audio available here.]
At one point, he solemnly queried, "If the President doesn't change the language, if your language is not accepted, you and your 11 colleagues who voted yes the last time will vote no this time. Does that mean you're prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"
Notice that Stephanopoulos placed the obligation on Stupak and not on pro-abortion Democrats who, one could argue, are more concerned with that issue than with passing health care. Earlier in the segment, the ABC journalist grilled, "So, if the President doesn't change the Senate bill, you can't vote for it?"
Someone submit the Morning Joe java to Henry Waxman for analysis. There seems to be something in it causing top Dems to experience serious delusions . . .
On today's show, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that the people of her home state of Kansas are "wildly supportive" of the substance of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, suggested Sebelius, they're just too ignorant to know what's in the blessed bill.
Later, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine didn't deny that the Obama admin had engaged in two sleazy patronage deals, involving Joe Sestak and Scott Matheson. Instead, the DNC Chairman laughed off the cynical, and possibly illegal, arrangements. "Life is life," smirked Kaine.
To Morning Joe's credit, the patronage deals and the Charlie Rangel situation were discussed throughout the show. The withdrawal of Dem Rep. Eric Massa from his re-election race, amidst allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer, was also discussed, though not raised with Kaine. Would an RNC Chairman appearing on the show the day after the Mark Foley affair erupted have gotten a similar pass?
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanja Gupta pressed HHS Secretary Kathleen for price controls in all parts of the health care industry on Thursday's Newsroom. Gupta stated that insurance companies were "just the tip of the iceberg" of health care costs: "There are a lot of different organizations, groups, people who contribute to health care costs. Are you going to be going after all these folks?" [audio clip available here]
It looked a bit odd for CNN to choose the correspondent, whom Obama chose to be surgeon general before adviser Tom Daschle was forced to resign, to interview other people who signed up to sell ObamaCare. Gupta's question came during an interview 26 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour, in which both he and CNN anchor Kyra Phillips asked the Obama administration official about the health care summit later in the day at Blair House. Gupta also hinted at the possibility of going after the profits of health care suppliers in his last question to Sebelius (who was sympathetic to Gupta's proposal in her answer):