The New York Times’ Scorched Earth Attacks on Mitt Romney

August 16th, 2012 11:08 AM

The Jurassic Press is in full-on Defend President Barack Obama mode.  But since President Obama’s record is indefensible, that means the Press is also in Eviscerate Mitt Romney mode.

The ideological godfather of the Press is, of course, the New York Times.  Where they lead, the rest of the Jurassic Press follows. 

A Times specialty is the multi-thousand word fact-challenged hit piece.  And Republican Presidential candidates are a favorite target - just ask John McCain.

President Obama and the Left are intent on portraying Romney as the evil twin of Rich Uncle Pennybags - the Monopoly Man.  Their fairy tale is that he and his Bain Capital wring every penny of vile profit out of their investments - at the expense of everyone and everything else.

To that end: the Times in the past week delivered two mammoth hit pieces on the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA):

Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work

A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail

HCA’s Times crime?  They are owned in large part by Bain Capital.

It is as irrelevant to the Times as anyone else on the Left that Romney left Bain in 1999 - and thus played no part in Bain’s 2006 HCA acquisition.  If unrelated-to-Mitt companies suffer collateral damage, that’s just the cost of the Times doing its business.

Like that second Times title - the 4,082-word “A Giant Hospital Chain is Blazing a Profit Trail?”  How dare HCA?  Don’t they realize this is the Age of Obama?  They’ve made enough money, haven’t they?

In fact, profits at the health care industry giant HCA, which controls 163 hospitals from New Hampshire to California, have soared, far outpacing those of most of its competitors....

The financial performance has been so impressive that HCA has become a model for the industry.

Wow, that’s just terrible. 

The big winners have been three private equity firms — including Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate — that bought HCA in late 2006.

The Times of course fails to mention here that Romney left Bain seven years prior.  But wait, there’s a correction at the end of the piece:

An earlier version of this article imprecisely referred to the state of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. He is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee; he is not yet the nominee.

I guess it was too much for which to hope.

HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion.

So let’s look at the calendar.  Around 2002, HCA was laid low by a $1.7 billion fine.  Four years later, Bain comes in. Six years after that, HCA is wildly successful.  How awful.

This long piece is woefully under sourced - when it’s not using unnamed sources or none at all.  It is ambiguous, innuendo-laced and mostly casts but shadow hints at HCA bad behavior:

Some of its hospitals fended off lawsuits over (a bedsores) problem in recent years, and were admonished by regulators over staffing issues more than once.

“Some...fended of lawsuits?”  How many?  How many were frivolous?  Admonished “more than once.”  Twice?  Nice specificity.

One facility was fined $8,000 in 2008 and $14,000 last year for delaying the start of dialysis in patients, not administering physician-prescribed drugs and not documenting whether ordered tests had been performed.

Imagine the tens of thousands of patients that hospital saw in three years.  The Times cites two fines.  In three years.  For in part not doing government-mandated paperwork.  Horrendous.

HCA says that more than 80 percent of its hospitals ranked among the top 10 percent in the country for federal quality measures, compared with 13 percent in 2006 when it went private. Last year, the company provided a $2.68 billion provision for charity care. And under the control of its private equity owners, HCA has invested around $8 billion in its hospitals in the last five years, according to Securities and Exchange Commission findings.

After reading that, wouldn’t any objective editor ask “What are we doing here?” and kill the story?  Sadly, the Times presses on:

But some of HCA’s tactics are now under scrutiny by the Justice Department.  Last week, HCA disclosed the United States attorney’s office in Miami has requested information about cardiac procedures at 10 of its hospitals in Florida and elsewhere.

HCA’s cardiac business is extremely lucrative, and the Justice Department has requested reviews that HCA conducted that indicate some of the heart procedures at some of its hospitals might not have been necessary and resulted in unjustified reimbursements from Medicare and other insurers.

You mean the Eric Holder uber-politicized Justice Department?  The Times here throws yet another amorphous charge - “some” hospitals “might” have done something wrong - and then moves on without citing any evidence to back up Justice’s claim.

The Times instead then lurches into 702 words about HCA’s “dynamic history” - which reads like a nice success story.  And HCA’s “powerful political ties” - which the Times tries to make sound ominous, but it simply doesn’t read that way.  Included is:

Its boom years were in the mid-1990s when the hospital system, then called HCA-Hospital Corporation of America, merged with the Columbia Healthcare Corporation, a hospital group led by Rick Scott, now governor of Florida.

If HCA’s “boom years were in the mid-1990s” - then what was the purpose of this story’s first 1,247 words?  I thought this was “A Giant Hospital Chain...Blazing a Profit Trail” - now?  Which is it?

The Times also - with its Rick Scott reference - gets in a passing shot at another Republican.


All of this inanity, and we are only halfway through this one of the Times’ two HCA mega-hit pieces. 

We could go on (and on, and on) - but we think the point is already more than made. 

All of this Times sound and fury - signifying very little.  In a lame attempt to go after Mitt Romney.  By attacking a Bain Capital company - acquired by Bain seven years after Romney left.

Desperation - it’s the world’s worst cologne.