Bruce Siceloff at the Raleigh News & Observer had the task on Tuesday of writing up the results of his newspaper's follow-up investigation into the safety of bridges in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area after Barack Obama's visit there last week. In a speech there, the President asserted that "In North Carolina alone, there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be repaired. Four of them are near here, on or around the Beltline. Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?"
I know this will come as a total shock to readers -- not -- but the president wasn't being truthful. Behold what Siceloff and his paper found, and how he felt compelled to come up with a new word to describe Obama's untruthful characterizations (HT to Rush Limbaugh, who brought this up on the air today):
“G.O.P. Stands On Health Mask Records As Governors,” Kevin Sack’s story Sunday on how three current or former G.O.P. governors implemented health care in their states, led the Sunday national section of the New York Times. As usual, Gov. Perry got his share of brickbats, this time for supposedly depriving his citizens of health insurance and prenatal care through state stinginess. (The subject also came up at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.)
The three most prominent current or former governors running for president -- Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Jon M. Huntsman Jr. -- are firmly united in their commitment to repealing President Obama’s health care law. But that unanimity masks a broad divergence in their approaches to the issue while in office, spanning the spectrum of Republican positioning.
As Clay Waters at the Media Research Center's Times Watch reported earlier today ("One of Obama's Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer's New Book"), the New York Times's Kevin Sack ran a story yesterday which "reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care."
The first wave of Obama-care goes into effect today, and New York Times health-care reporter Kevin Sack celebrated with a series of propaganda-style articles for the front of the National section, topped by "For Many Families, Health Care Relief Begins Today." (As did higher costs and denied coverage, but the Times didn't get into that.)
The Times's headline reads more like an Obama administration press release than an actual instance of journalism, and Sack's reference (in a news story) to the "Darwinian insurance system" doesn't inspire confidence in his objectivity.
Sometimes lost in the partisan clamor about the new health care law is the profound relief it is expected to bring to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been stricken first by disease and then by a Darwinian insurance system.
On Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a number of its most central consumer protections take effect, just in time for the midterm elections.
Starting now, insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude children because of pre-existing health conditions, which the White House said could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits.
Friday’s front-page “news analysis” by New York Times health care reporter Kevin Sack, “Culture Clash in Medicine,” dealt with two recent recommendations from quasi-government panels on limiting testing for breast cancer and cervical cancer. The recommendations have caused some outcry as a possible prelude to Obama-care rationing, concerns Sack dismissed as “anger and confusion” and some “political posturing.”
That stance is predictable: Previous front-page Times stories have nudged readers toward rationing with tales of “costly” new heart valves for the "frail" old, "wasteful" medicines and "expensive" new medical procedures that are only worth "a few months" of extra life.
The Times, which editorially supports universal health care coverage, seems to be trying to soften people up into accepting future limits on end-of-life care in the name of reducing national health care costs.
Sack managed to make the desire of Americans to live longer sound gauche, while suggesting that those who fear the recommendations are a harbinger of rationing are confused or just grandstanding against Obama:
This week, the science of medicine bumped up against the foundations of American medical consumerism: that more is better, that saving a life is worth any sacrifice, that health care is a birthright.
After months of plodding work by five Congressional committees and weeks of back-room bargaining by Democratic leaders, President Obama's arms-length strategy on health care appears to be paying dividends, with the House and the Senate poised to take up legislation to insure nearly all Americans.
Debate in the House is expected to begin this week, and the Senate will soon take up its version. Democratic leaders and senior White House officials are sounding increasingly confident that Mr. Obama will sign legislation overhauling the nation's health care system -- a goal that has eluded American presidents for decades.
Pear and Stolberg aren't the first Times reporters to declare an Obama victory on the health "reform" front. David Herszenhorn did the same back on September 10, calling Obama's joint address to Congress on health reform "a clear turning point in the health care debate."
The New York Times and the Washington Post had a pretty profound disagreement this morning on whether or not Obama has a chance to get a health care "reform" proposal through Congress this year, with the Times, predictably, being far more optimistic about prospects for the president's big-government health plan.
In their heart of hearts, few in the Obama administration would have predicted late last year that they would be this well positioned by June to achieve a major victory on health care. As the economy faltered, and attention focused on Wall Street and Detroit, it seemed unthinkable that Congress would be ready to devote the summer of 2009 to the costly proposition of providing health coverage for all, a goal that has eluded presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.
But five months after the inauguration, health care dominates the domestic agenda on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Any package that emerges will preserve the country's private insurance system, at least for now. It could nonetheless bring sweeping changes, requiring that everyone be insured, creating a government health plan to compete with commercial carriers and perhaps taxing employer-provided health benefits.
By contrast, the top two paragraphs of Ceci Connolly's lead story in Friday's Washington Post seem to have come from an alternate universe:
The Oct. 26 New York Times took on Sen. Barack Obama's elusive health insurance mandate for employers -- the "play-or-pay" rule that would force businesses to pay a new tax if they didn't contribute a "meaningful" amount toward their workers' insurance. In the debates, Sen. John McCain asked more than once how much businesses would be fined, and Obama declined to say.
Now we know why. Just 'cuz.
“We made a decision even before the plan was rolled out not to decide,” David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who speaks for the campaign on health care, told the Times. “It’s not that there’s a decision out there that we’re not telling. It’s literally that we’ve decided not to decide.”
Kevin Sack devoted his front-page New York Times Week in Review piece, "The Short End Of the Longer Life," to two recent government reports showing what he finds to be disturbing trends in life expectancy in the United States.
No, it's not on the decline. But one study found that "the life expectancy gap is growing between rich and poor," while the other found "statistically significant declines" in life expectancy for women (not men) in a minority of American counties, many clustered in the Appalachia region. And guess who's cited in the third paragraph as an expert on such matters? Failed presidential candidate John Edwards and his left-wing view of "Two Americas."
The Times painted the findings in crusade-like terms, similar to President Kennedy putting the spotlight on the poor and hungry in rural Appalachia. The paper's propaganda push came complete with a half-page black and white photo of a little girl in Kentucky standing before a portrait of her great-grandmother, reminiscent of Walker Evans' photos in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men."