Dictionary.com offers two definitions for scapegoat: "1. A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place; 2. Chiefly biblical. A goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Lev. 16:8,10,26."
Both definitions seem to fit last week's announcement of the "resignation" of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, who presided over the disastrous rollout of the government's website, healthcare.gov, which was supposed to provide easy access for people who wished to sign up for Obamacare.
"Al Sharpton is now denying he was an FBI informant, saying it's a dubious assertion. You know, just like Sharpton’s dubious assertion that he's a reverend."
Watch our very own Jodi Miller zing Sharpton as well as exiting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama, and politician-turned-amateur bass guitarist Mike Huckabee by clicking play on the embedded video below the page break. To get NewsBusted straight to your inbox, click here. To subscribe at YouTube, visit here.
In the battle for balanced news, score one each for Univision and Telemundo. Unlike the CBS, NBC and ABC evening news, both Noticiero Univision and Noticiero Telemundo on Friday night included soundbites from conservative leaders on the resignation of President Obama’s HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.
On Univision, correspondent Lourdes Meluzá ran a clip of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who noted that Sebelius has been the principle face of “the disaster that has been, is and will continue to be ObamaCare.” Even more noteworthy, Univision’s report also featured Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin, who called ObamaCare the former Secretary’s “legacy of shame” and said Sebelius “could go down in history as one of the most incompetent Cabinet secretaries in the history of the Republic."
Andrea Mitchell needs to turn in her journalism card...now!
She completely blew the opportunity to ask outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a question that would have shed light on whether she voluntarily resigned or, as many have speculated, she was fired by the White House. Despite interviewing Sebelius for over five minutes on Meet The Press (video after the jump), Mitchell absurdly neglected to point out a big discrepancy in Sebelius' accounts of her departure.
While HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius was getting a polite shove out the door, PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields offered a note of disclosure: “Well, first of all, let me just admit up front, Kathleen Sebelius has been a personal friend. For 46 years, I have known her.” He even oddly said she “stepped up manfully, to use a bad adverb” in taking the blame for Obamacare.
But Shields and his usual echo-chamber David Brooks disagreed. Brooks said she wasn’t a “dynamo” at HHS, which caused Shields to start touting her. Anchor Judy Woodruff had gently asked, like a good feminist, “What’s her legacy?”
White House spokesman Jay Carney was sneering at reporters again Friday.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Jared Rizzi, a reporter with Sirius XM Radio, was accused of being “pretty lame” by Carney in questioning how resigning HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was absent from the podium and went unmentioned in the president’s April 1 “victory lap” for Obamacare signups. (Video below.)
All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
On Thursday, Stephanie Condon at CBS News reported ("Security chief: HealthCare.gov has passed security testing") that Teresa Fryer, who had recommended against allowing HealthCare.gov going live before its October launch but was overruled, "told Congress ... that the Obamacare website passed security testing in December, and she would recommend that its official Authority to Operate (ATO) be extended when the current ATO expires in March."
On Friday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, in an otherwise keister-covering dispatch apparently designed to show that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was really, really unaware of the web site's prelaunch security problems, claimed without qualification that "There have been no successful attacks on the site" — even though by law the government "need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised."
As NewsBusters has been reporting for months, late night comics have been tearing the atrocious rollout of ObamaCare apart.
Conceivably the best job done to date was by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel who during his opening monologueTuesday evening absolutely savaged the law whilst ridiculing the uninformed young people in this country that have ignorantly supported something that clearly harms them (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Mere minutes after New Jersey governor Chris Christie said during a press conference on Thursday that he was firing deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly for lying about her role in closing lanes of the George Washington Bridge, many online posters compared the Republican official's swift action with the utter lack of movement by president Barack Obama, who has yet to terminate anyone in his administration, even if that person is embroiled in scandal.
Several comments included barbs aimed at the “mainstream media” for reporters' wall-to-wall coverage of the Christie scandal while allowing Obama officials to avoid any punishment. “To confused journalists, what @GovChristie is doing right now is called 'leadership,'” noted @derekahunter. “Google it, then look at the White House & feel shame.”
In June, the Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn filed a report with the following headline: "Kathleen Sebelius: Exchange enrollment goal is 7 million by end of March." She reported in her first two paragraphs that "7 million" is "how many people the Obama administration hopes to enroll in its new health insurance marketplaces by the end of March."
Apparently that clearly expressed target isn't supposed to matter now, and the White House is trying to pretend that it never existed. Of course, the press, including the Politico, has been helping them.
Obamacare's designers appear to have assumed that life is completely static. As far as they're concerned, people who are single don't marry, women don't have children, married couples don't sometimes divorce, individuals and families don't move, and workers don't change jobs. I say that because HealthCare.gov will from all appearances not accommodate any of the aforementioned common life changes. Seriously. (I'm not about to test that assertion myself; the site is still hopelessly not secure, remember?)
A very weak headline at an Associated Press report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar carried at Yahoo News attempted to limit the damage, perhaps in hopes that smartphone users and others won't click through and see how awful and far more sweeping the problems are (bolds are mine):
The White House and its media minions want you to believe that everything is going swimmingly with ObamaCare since repairs were made to Healthcare.gov.
Quite the contrary, Iowa's KCCI TV reported Friday that the 16,000 people in that state who applied for health insurance via that website need to reapply due to a delay in paperwork (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Their stated excuse is, "These could never happen here, so why should U.S. news consumers care?" Their real excuse is, "We don't want anyone thinking that Obamacare could lead to this, even though there are already plenty of signs that it will."
Two weeks ago, the UK Daily Mail reported on three just-released "damming reports" on Great Britain's government-run National Health Service. A separate December 20 UK Telegraph dispatch reports that the NHS is "on the brink of crisis" because it has been "treated as a 'national religion' while millions of patients receive a 'wholly unsatisfactory' service from GPs and hospitals." A scroll through supposedly U.S.-based news results from December 11-26 in a search on "national health service" (in quotes" at Google News returns precious little actual coverage here; the few exceptions are at conservative-leaning outlets like Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog. Excerpts from both UK items just noted follow the jump.
It really is wonderful having George Will on Fox News where we can see him more regularly than for a few minutes once a week.
On Monday’s Special Report, Will said of the revelation earlier in the day that people now had until Tuesday to sign up at Healthcare.gov, “ObamaCare now is a tapestry of coercions mitigated by random acts of presidential mercy announced in the most bizarre ways” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a dire prediction Sunday.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Krauthammer said that all the exemptions the President has given to ObamaCare will ruin insurance companies thereby necessitating the White House to ask for a huge government bailout of these companies next year that Republicans in Congress should prevent (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tx.) were in Richardson, Texas, Monday at a hearing to investigate allegations that ObamaCare navigators in that state were instructing applicants to lie about their income thereby committing tax fraud.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Issa at one point told Dr. Randy Farris, regional administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “You need to watch more Fox":
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer clearly was unhappy with the liberal topics being discussed on PBS’s Inside Washington Friday.
At one point, he looked into the camera after mentioning the new deadline changes to ObamaCare announced this week and said, “You won’t hear about this on this show, so try Fox” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS News has been one of the leading mainstream media outlets in exposing the failings of the ObamaCare website.
One of the standouts has been investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson who took to Twitter Wednesday to absolutely pound the Obama administration for refusing to release information about Healthcare.gov security tests and enrollment figures:
It's becoming quite clear that the Obama administration's treatment of the press, along with revelations of deceit associated with promises about the Affordable Care Act, are causing some members of the media to think differently about this White House than they did in the first term.
On Wednesday, National Journal's Ron Fournier told talk radio's Laura Ingraham, "[T]his is a propaganda outfit...they are running a government-sponsored media organization" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting the past few months, late night comics have been having a field day with the disaster that is ObamaCare.
On ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Tuesday, the host spent a good part of his monologue trashing the program including an observation that “the number of speeches Obama has made about affordable healthcare is greater than the number of people who have actually signed up for affordable healthcare” (video follows with transcript and commentary):