Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
John Dickerson didn't mince words about the "bad launch" of ObamaCare in his Tuesday item for Slate.com. The CBS News political director invoked one of deceased tyrant Kim Jong il's most infamous saber-rattling tactics: "Healthcare.gov launched with the fanfare and success of a North Korean missile."
Dickerson also rephrased his recent contention that "the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare. He stated that "when the website doesn't work and the promises of 2009 and 2010 are revised, questions of credibility infect everything the administration says. This can lead to a death spiral as administration officials make bold assertions to distract from the current challenges."
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:
On Monday, CBS This Morning launched a week-long set of interviews for Women's History Month, but the majority of the women they picked for their list of "Eye Opening Women" are dedicated liberals, particularly on social issues. The morning newscast first conducted a fawning interview of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was part of the Supreme Court plurality that upheld the Roe v. Wade decision in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Five out of the eight remaining women featured for the series of interviews are all notables on the left side of the political spectrum. On Tuesday, anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell will interview The Daily Beast's Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington, founder of far-left website The Huffington Post. Brown has a history of attacking conservatives. During a 2011 appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, she likened tax hike opponents to terrorists:
NBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"
By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:
... the bellowing voice of liberal belligerence outdoes himself again.
Managers at radio stations that carry Ed Schultz's radio show were surely rethinking the rationale for that after his rage-filled and bizarre remarks on Friday, clear evidence of desperation on the left at the specter of Mitt Romney defeating President Obama (audio clips after page break).
Brian Williams, on NBC’s Thursday night coverage of the DNC, unleashed the biggest howler of the night when he told White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett: “You, I guess have to play mistake-free ball now for 60 days, hope for nothing but positive coverage. That's a tall order.”
Delivering positive coverage for Obama was certainly not a "tall order" for Williams and his fellow NBC News colleagues, as they spent most of the night praising Team Obama and dumping on Mitt Romney. (Video after the jump)
A Sunday front-page profile of Obama's top aide Valerie Jarrett by the New York Times's Jo Becker, "The Other Power in the West Wing," was not uniformly positive, but did provide useful cover for her boss by painting Jarrett as pushing the president toward "first principles," which just happen to include (left-wing) priorities like gay marriage and government-funded birth control. But don't call Barack Obama a liberal! (The paper has long insisted he's a moderate and pragmatist.)
Becker opened by reminding readers how "President Obama was in a bind" during last fall's controversy over requiring religious employers to cover birth control, then skillfully wrote around the word "liberal," which in a balanced new story would appear right below the word "counterweight" in the sentence below:
Jarrett appeared on today's Morning Joe. Mika Brzezinski broached the subject of Jarrett's in-church remarks. But instead of questioning the propriety of using the pulpit for such partisan purposes, Brzezinski simply offered Jarrett an opportunity to repeat her attack on Republicans. But Joe Scarborough then pointed out the huge MSM double standard—observing how the New York Times and Washington Post would have been whining about the "sacred wall" between church and state had a Republican gone into an evangelical church to criticize Dems. Video after the jump.
Barely a week ago, we noted that the Morning Joe crew was blowing off the Solyndra scandal. "There's no there, there," they sniffed. But facts are pesky things. A devastating email, which Mika Brzezinski read on the air today, has turned up, indicating that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett was warned about Solyndra's possibly impending bankruptcy before PBO made his photo-op visit to the company. That compelled Joe Scarborough & Co. to acknowledge that the Solyndra story has legs.
Perhaps even more significant was a clip Morning Joe played of President Obama defending his administration's decision to fund the soon-to-go-belly-up solar panel maker. In stating his case, Obama revealed his fundamentally socialist mind-set. According to the prez, unless the government funds something, it's not going to happen. Video after the jump.
Steve Israel had his talking points, and he was sticking to them. Republicans want to "end Medicare" in order to give tax cuts to the big oil companies. On Morning, Joe Scarborough repeatedly called out Israel, head of the Dem congressional campaign committee, on his demagoguery. Not that it stopped the Dem congressman from New York from repeating his rap.
For good measure, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett appeared later and claimed that Medicare could be maintained without cutting a penny of benefits to seniors merely by finding various "efficiencies" in the program. Waste, fraud and abuse ride again!
ABC and NBC touted the Obama administration's new report on women by leading their evening news shows with it on Tuesday. Diane Sawyer gushed over the "huge new report," while NBC's Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "first comprehensive White House report on women since...Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to lead a study." CBS also highlighted the report on Evening News and on The Early Show the next day.
NBC's Brian Williams, during his introduction to correspondent Savannah Guthrie's report, proclaimed how "the White House reported some new numbers today about women in this country, and while, in many ways, women continue to pass men by, an old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically." After noting the gains by women in terms of college attendance, Williams continued that the problem was "the pay gap in the workplace, and that hasn't changed."
Guthrie began with her Eleanor Roosevelt line, and continued that the report "paints a portrait of a modern woman- less June Cleaver, more Liz Lemon" (Tina Fey's character from "30 Rock"). She then spouted some of the figures from the Obama administration document:
It appears NBC's Matt Lauer is not happy about Barack Obama's failure to exploit the Tucson shooting to push for more gun control as on Wednesday's Today show, he seemingly expressed disappointment to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that the President "missed" an "opportunity" to address it in his State of the Union speech.
Lauer's anti-gun question to Giuliani came on the heels of his pushing White House senior advisor, on yesterday's show, to reveal if Obama would join current NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in making a push for more gun control. On this morning's Today show, Lauer went even further, as he, in addition to throwing Bloomberg's words in Giuliani's face, also read directly from a Brady Center press release, as seen in the following January 26 exchange:
In previewing the President's State of the Union Address, on Tuesday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer pushed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, mostly from the left, as he pressed her to reveal if Obama would "directly address gun control" and asked if Obama's appointment of business leaders to his team, risked "alienating some more liberal voters...who don't like big business."
Appearing in the 7am half hour of this morning's show, Jarrett was questioned by the Today co-anchor if the President was moved, in the wake of the Tuscon shootings, to join New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's effort to push for "tougher gun laws," as seen in the following exchange:
Interviewing White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett yesterday, The View's liberal co-hosts repelled Elisabeth Hasslebeck's tough questions on President Obama's failed economic agenda by changing the subject and ignoring their conservative colleague's criticism.
Refuting the claim that the economy is "certainly moving in the right direction" despite dismal unemployment numbers, Hasselbeck asked Jarrett if Obama's $50 billion infrastructure bill represents an "admittance of failure on the $800 billion stimulus bill that didn't seem to work."
To sidestep Hasselbeck's question, Jarrett invoked incredulity, flawed statistics, and historical revisionism:
Vanity Fair's national editor Todd Purdum has a long piece in the most recent issue (in the print edition only, as far as I can tell) bemoaning what he argues are the new and unique challenges facing the Obama administration, including the state of the news media. Purdum's opinions on the state of the news business boil down to a call for the press's continuing political uniformity.
He offers a quote from White House adviser Valerie Jarrett that also captures the author's opinions on the issue. Purdum writes:
Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett looks back wistfully to a time when credible people could put a stamp of reliability on information and opinion: "Walter Cronkite would get on and say the truth, and people believed the media," she says. Today, no single media figure or outlet has that power to end debate, and in pursuit of "objectivity," most honest news outlets draw the line at saying flatly that something or other is untrue, even when it plainly is.
Purdum's and Jarrett's statements are comprised of one part revisionist nostalgia, and one part liberal elitism. "Objectivity" was never really present. What they're longing for is the reliable white-collar liberalism of the 20th century news media.
CNN political analyst/Obama publicist Roland Martin granted an interview to Time Out Chicago, and his dominant theme was America is full of stupid people:
Roland Martin thinks you’re stupid. Well, not you, specifically, just a lot of you in general. “We got some pretty dumb people,” says the Chicago-based CNN contributor, relaxing in the network’s offices at Tribune Tower between appearances discussing “broken government.” “I mean, I know we’re not supposed to call Americans dumb…but sometimes you gotta go ahead and say it.”
Voters who barely show up at the polls, tea partyers who don’t know the federal stimulus bill included tax cuts, Obama supporters who haven’t done anything since the election but whine about how little the President has accomplished—they all burn him up.
UPDATE AT END OF POST: CBS's Bob Schieffer asked DNC Chairman Tim Kaine about this issue.
On Saturday, NewsBusters asked if journalists should find it interesting that President Obama's campaign arm is using alleged death threats against Democrats as a vehicle to raise funds to defend newly enacted healthcare legislation.
On Sunday, ABC's Jake Tapper was up to the challenge not only addressing this issue on "This Week," but doing so with his guest White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
After reading the text of the solicitation that was posted at the Organizing for America website earlier in the week, Tapper asked, "[I]s it appropriate for Democrats to try to raise money off of those threats?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, relevant section at 5:50):
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday used his interview with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bash Republicans.
After his largely friendly discussion with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, the "Meet the Press" host abruptly changed his tone and manner with the very first question to McConnell, "Is there one Republican who will support any Democratic healthcare initiative?"
Gregory continued to press his guest: "So let me just be clear. There is not one Republican that would vote for any Democratic healthcare reform initiative that's out there now?"
When he didn't get the answer he wanted, Gregory concluded, "So it sounds like the party of no charge is well deserved" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
While ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today questioned Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the breach of security at last week’s state dinner, her appearance was conspicuously absent from the CBS Early Show on Thursday. The CBS morning show has made a consistent effort to downplay the administration’s role in party crashing scandal.
On Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts wondered why White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers would not be testifying before Congress on the issue: “But, first, I want to ask you about the congressional hearing today. And ask you why isn't the social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testifying today before Congress?....you know that leaves people thinking, Valerie, that there’s something more.”
Similarly, on Today, co-host Meredith Vieira asked Jarrett: “White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. She was the point person for that event. She is the one who failed to assign aides to vet guests at those checkpoints. She’s the one who named herself a guest instead of a staffer, and yet, she is not being investigated. The Secret Service is, but not her. Do you think she should be investigated?”
CNN’s Campbell Brown was quick to point out the apparent biases of competitors MSNBC and Fox News during her program on Wednesday, but ignored that of her own network as she tried to portray it as unbiased: “Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism....I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do.”
Brown concluded the 8 pm Eastern hour with remarks initially directed against the Obama administration for its campaign against Fox News. The CNN anchor thought it was “silly” for the White House to go after the 24-hour news network: “I mean, really, the White House is only just now figuring out Fox in prime-time has a conservative bias? Really? I think our friends at Fox News have been pretty up-front about it, and frankly, pretty unapologetic, for that matter. What confuses me is that if the White House is really so concerned about bias in the media, then why are they only targeting Fox?”
A senior White House advisor on Tuesday told Campbell Brown that Fox News is biased, but refused to comment when the CNN host asked her, "Well, then do you also think that MSNBC is biased?"
During a taped interview at the Woman's Conference in California later broadcast on CNN's "Campbell Brown," Valerie Jarrett sidestepped this marvelous question and instead haplessly said, "I don't want to just generalize all Fox is biased or that another station is biased."
Actually, Jarrett already had, and the incredulous look on Brown's face when the high-ranking Administration official contradicted herself and refused to talk about MSNBC's eminently apparent political leaning was absolutely priceless (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t TVNewser):
By Friday, after White House Secretary Robert Gibbs would only say that he still was a part of the administration, it was obvious that Jones's resignation was only a matter of time. The 9/11 truther and other evidence accumulated by Glenn Beck, Gateway Pundit, WorldNetDaily, and others was simply overwhelming.
But it seems to me that it would have been more convenient had the White House waited until early Sunday afternoon to announce Jones's resignation. Given the establishment media's near blackout of his past statements and actions, it's likely that the Sunday morning network talk shows would have avoided Jones completely, or would have given the topic very short shrift. A Sunday afternoon resignation would have been much more invisible -- except for something that came out on Saturday evening.
I believe that Jones's resignation may have been moved up by 12 hours or so. That's because on Saturday evening, Scott Johnson at Powerline presented proof that roughly 40 hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, avowed Communist Jones publicly declared that the U.S. deserved what happened. I'm not kidding.
The co-chair of Barack Obama's Transition Team, Valerie Jarrett, appeared on Meet the Press this weekend and used, shall we say, an interesting word to described what she thinks Barack Obama will be doing in January when he's officially sworn into office. She told Tom Brokaw that Obama will be ready to "rule" on day one. It's a word that reflects the worst fears that people have for Obama the "arrogant," the "messiah," that imagines he's here to "rule" instead of govern.
Jarret told Brokaw that "given the daunting challenges that we face, it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one."
ABC’s Chris Cuomo kicked off Democratic Convention week with a very positive portrayal of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. On the August 25 edition of "Good Morning America," Cuomo asked such hard hitting questions as to Michelle Obama’s fashion choice the night of her speech.
Cuomo portrayed Jarrett as a friendly house wife neighbor of the Obamas', Cuomo declared Jarrett has "been called as close to [Obama] as a sister." What Cuomo neglected to note that, according to David Freddoso, Valerie Jarrett "was the chief executive of a company that managed a housing complex that became so run-down it was seized by the federal government."
The morning host could not be bothered with such inconvenient facts, instead asked the staunch Obama supporter "what don’t they know that you know?" "is he ready?" and "what is your greatest fear for Barack and Michell?"
Chris Cuomo only asked mildly tough questions about why Obama did not pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate and the recent tightening in the polls.
So much for John McCain's hope that remaining on the campaign trail this week while Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii would lead to more or friendlier coverage. At least not on Monday night when Katie Couric highlighted how “Obama put out a tongue in cheek response to Senator McCain's celebrity ad” and she helpfully pointed out: “The ad also features six different shots of Senator McCain next to President Bush.” Later, CBS allocated more than three minutes to a “CBS News Exclusive” interview and profile by Couric of “Barack Obama's brain,” Valerie Jarrett, who “just may be the most powerful woman in Chicago besides Oprah.”
ABC centered an entire piece around revelations Hillary Clinton campaign operatives planned to “question Obama's authenticity as an American. She rejected that strategy,” yet ABC managed to twist the story into Obama victimization as anchor Charles Gibson fretted: “There are indications that John McCain may be adopting it now.”
Reporter Jake Tapper warned “some say that John McCain has tried to subtly portray Obama as not quite American enough, playing up Obama’s popularity abroad.” The proof? This from McCain at a South Dakota motorcycle rally last week: “Not long ago, a couple of hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I'll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day!” Tapper moved on to how McCain's ad narrator saying “John McCain: The American President Americans have been waiting for” is “a line many saw as implying something not American about Obama.” Tapper ominously concluded:
ABC News has learned that an independent conservative group has been filming in Indonesia where Obama spent a few years during his childhood. So even if Senator McCain does not draw attention to that unusual quality of Obama’s youth, someone will.