Health Insurance Study Not As Thorough As Blumer Thinks Topic: NewsBusters
In an Oct. 13 NewsBusters post about the newly released PricewaterhouseCoopers study, paid for the the insurance lobby America's Health Insurance Plans, claiming that health care reform will result in higher health care costs. Tom Blumer asserts:
Understand this: When PwC prepares a report for the health insurance industry projecting, in the Wall Street Journal's words, that "the Senate Finance Committee’s big health-care bill would raise health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars a year," one can be confident that it is based on exhaustively researched and thoroughly reviewed work.
Actually, not so much.
the PwC study itself states that "[t]he reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households." And as Len Nichols of the New America Foundation details, the study contains questionable assumptions -- that all Medicare savings will be converted into private sector cost shifts, and that premium growth in the absence of reform will be the same as per capita health care cost growth.
Further, the thoroughness of the PwC study was debunked by, er, PwC:
America's Health Insurance Plans engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to prepare a report that focused on four components of the Senate Finance Committee proposal:
-- Insurance market reforms and consumer protections that would raise health insurance premiums for individuals and families if the reforms are not coupled with an effective coverage requirement.
-- An excise tax on employer-sponsored high value health plans.
-- Cuts in payment rates in public programs that could increase cost shifting to private sector businesses and consumers.
-- New taxes on health sector entities.
The analysis concluded that collectively the four provisions would raise premiums for private health insurance coverage. As the report itself acknowledges, other provisions that are part of health reform proposals were not included in the PwC analysis. The report stated on page 1:
"The reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households. Also, if other provisions in health care reform are successful in lowering costs over the long term, those improvements would offset some of the impacts we have estimated."
As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein summed up: "In other words, PWC is saying that AHIP paid it to focus on four parts that AHIP didn't like and ignore everything else in the bill. On Page 1, PWC embedded a disclaimer essentially admitting that their report was woefully inadequate."
WND Still Whitewashing Orly Taitz Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on a judge's rebuke of birther attorney Orly Taitz is the closest thing to criticism that WND has offered of her, but Unruh still pulls punches and hides relevant information.
Unruh's emphasis in the first part of his article was on the judge "mocking her concern over Obama's background," waiting until the 14th paragraph to get to the meat of the judge's order that "Taitz 'personally attacks' opposing parties and 'disrespects' the judiciary, 'recklessly' accusing the judge of violating ethics rules."
Unruh referenced Taitz's client in this case, "a reserve military officer, Connie Rhodes, who questioned Obama's eligibility to hold office." But Unruh failed to note that Rhodes dropped Taitz as her attorney after Taitz filed an appeal of the judge's ruling dismissing her complaint without obtaining Rhodes' permission to do so.
Unruh also reported that "Taitz also has another case pending in California. She represents several dozen defendants, and attorney Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation represents two others." But Unruh didn't report, as we detailed, that the defendants now with Kreep were originally represented by Taitz until they determined that she was "in over her head," and that Taitz for a while refused to sign papers transferring their reprsentation from her to Kreep -- another breach of legal ethics.
By refusing to report the full story of Taitz's legal misadventures, WND is still following Taitz's order not to criticize her.
Farber Jumps From Newsmax to WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has announced that "longtime talk-radio host, author and language expert" Barry Farber has joined WorldNetDaily as a columnist.
What WND curiously doesn't mention: Farber had been a columnist for rival Newsmax, where his writings have appeared since 2000.
It's strange that WND wouldn't mention, let alone take credit for, stealing a columnist from its rival. But then, Farber wasn't much of a poach -- he was a second-tier columnist at Newsmax, and it's difficult toimagine that his status would improve much at WND.
ConWeb Hypocrites Defend Limbaugh Topic: The ConWeb
Rush Limbaugh is in trouble again -- well, actually, he just wants to buy a pro football franchise -- and you know what that means: The ConWeb is running to his rescue, defending him no matter what (just like before), and despite their own hypocrisy.
The issue this time is racially charged quotes attributed to Limbaugh which are apparently not what he actually said. Unsurprisingly, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was quick to attack:
“CNN and MSNBC must immediately and publicly source when Limbaugh uttered this phrase. He has unequivocally denied it. Now it is up to the same news media that reported it as fact to prove that it was, indeed, stated.
“The MRC has overnighted letters to senior executives at both cable networks demanding that they take this sourcing seriously and report back to the public. We await their word.
“Either Rush Limbaugh is lying or these networks – willfully or not – are participants in the worst form of character assassination imaginable. They can prove their innocence by documenting this accusation. If they can’t, then they are 100% guilty of character assassination.
“Tomorrow we will go public with their response.”
The hypocrisy here is that it took the MRC nine years to admit that it stitched quotes together out of a book by New York Times editor Howell Raines to falsely accuse Raines of smearing Ronald Reagan. It has yet to apologize or correct its out-of-context misrepresentation of a Boston Globe profile of Ted Kennedy.
Similarly, an Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling highlighting Limbaugh's "scathing attack of news reporters today for publicizing racist-sounding remarks he never made – and he's demanding retractions and apologies from every journalist who repeated the 'libelous' statements."
The problem? By that same standard, WND has repeatedly committed libel against President Obama, refusing to correct the numerousfalseclaims it has made about him and his policies.
Just another day in the pot-kettle-black world of the ConWeb.
Mychal Massie's Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily column gets him in line with his WND peers by going birther and spouting off about sinister anti-Obama conspiracies:
Joan Swirsky writes that Douglas Hagmann, in an interview with Dr. Laurie Roth, revealed, "The reason for the media blackout about [Obama's] birth-certificate issue was nothing less than organized Mafia-like dire threats to members of the media, issued not only from the heads of major TV and radio stations, but also from Federal Communication Commission officials. According to Hagmann and [his investigative partner] Judi McCleod, who conducted a nine-month investigation and documented their findings scrupulously," threats were made to fire major talk-show hosts if they mentioned Obama's birth certificate, threats were made by FCC officials to yank broadcasting licenses, and memos were circulated by corporate TV headquarters to all on-air employees advising them not to mention the birth-certificate issue, his lawyer's license or his college records. ("Who is behind quashing the birth-certificate issue?"; Aug. 26, 2009; RenewAmerica.com)
According to Swirsky, during the interview Hagmann and McCleod alluded to e-mails and other evidence in their possession – copies of which, they said, were secreted in several locations.
Massie goes further:
The birth-certificate issue is only a critical problem if, as many believe, it contradicts Obama's citizenship story. And why prevent access to college records or restrict inquiry concerning his law license? It was Michelle who mysteriously had her license suspended in 1993.
In fact, as WND itself reported, there's no mystery about Michelle Obama's law license (though Chelsea Schilling sure tried to create one): the only way for a lawyer to go on inactive status, which she chose to do, is to file a court order to do so.
But Massie is too wrapped up in conspiracy-mongering to be bothered with facts:
An even more pressing question is: How does a person like Obama – a nobody from nowhere – come to command such power and money so as to pull this off? Think about what it takes for a presidential candidate, and now sitting president, to have such power.
The answer can only be that Obama is the front man for something far more sinister. One person, without the strength and backing of a cabal capable of toppling governments and affecting worldwide currencies, etc., could not even consider such an undertaking, much less pull it off.
Ergo, the logical conclusion must then be that behind Obama there exists a group or organization so powerful and so sinister that they are able not just to influence global policy, but to control it. I repeat for the record, Obama in and of himself cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, singularly demand that every major media outlet ignore investigating that which could potentially make Woodward and Bernstein's investigation into President Nixon pale in comparison.
MRC Selectively Quotes Jim Cramer Topic: Media Research Center
An Oct. 13 MRC Business & Media Institute post (and NewsBusters item) by Jeff Poor highlights narrowly focused on comments by CNBC host Jim Cramer, in an Oct. 12 appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball," that the stiumulus plan has apparently not resulted in much tangible, visible construction projects. Poor added that "many on the left think Obama's not getting enough credit for the economy, as a stock market rebound seems to be a good sign. However, as Cramer explained, the president isn't going to be able to take any credit for the economy until there's a clear rebound in the job market," then quoting Cramer saying that "Obama can’t take credit for what’s happening."
But Poor ignored what Cramer said earlier in the segment -- that, just like the folks on "the left," he thinks Obama deserves credit for, in Matthews' words, "avoiding a second Great Depression":
CRAMER: I think it's a team effort, Chris. First of all, Ben Bernanke was late, but really went into high gear, and the transition from Bush to Obama was really saved by Bernanke's actions. Second, Bernanke did a good thing, but also Tim Geithner did a good thing. And you can argue, well, Geithner is totally Obama's man. Geithner made everybody feel that the banking system was safe. Once we had the banking system safe, we began to have the recovery. So Obama should get a lot of credit for that.
MATTHEWS: Well, youknow, when the politicians wag and the right-wing goes after him as they do -- that's the way politics works -- they say bailouts bailouts bailouts as if there's something wrong with the guy. They say deficits deficits deficits, as if there's something wrong with the guy. But everything I studied in college in grad school was you've gotta do those things, both in terms of the sectors of the economy which were in trouble -- the financial sectors, the auto industry -- and you had to do something with regard to the overall economy in terms of printing the money, monetary policy, fiscal policy. The very things he did are the things you're taught you have to do. Am I wrong?
CRAMER: No, you're totally right. I hear those people criticize, and I think, did they ever read any history about what this country did wrong between 1929 and 1932? This was exactly -- what these pundits are calling for is exactly what created a multi-year depression. No, I mean -- Bernanke, Obama, Geithner, they got it right.
MATTHEWS: Well, all you hear from on the right is like -- Terry Jeffrey is my pal, he sits here like from Human Events from the far right, they come on here as if all you had to do is lassiez-faire. Set back, let the invisible hand solve the problem. Say's law is still in effect, every -- all the markets are going to work, everything's gonna clear. They actually say this crapola so loudly, they must beleive it or else they're just desperate. But they do believe that doing nothing was the right -- just balance the budget, let business solve the problem.
CRAMER: Well, they're dreamers. Look, here's the hand. It wasn't invisible. It was choking America. We are very lucky that these guys understood history. Now, the reason why it's easy to criticize Obama and why he doesn't take any credit is we haven't created any jobs yet, Chris, and that is bad.
Poor also didn't mention, as Cramer did, that Obama himself is not taking any credit for the recovery.
Like ancient Rome, we have replaced our republic with a Julius Caesar, a megalomaniac dictator Caligula, a Nero who not only fiddles while America burns but also fuels the cremation of our Constitution, Bill of Rights, free market system, and individual liberties in a thousand different ways.
President Obama is either a knave or a fool. Whichever he is, Obama like Jagland follows in the footsteps of Norway's Vidkun Quisling, who sold out his country to a European socialist ruler, in Quisling's case to Adolf Hitler.
Rome somehow survived Julius Caesar, Caligula, and Nero. The United States as a sweet land of liberty will probably not survive Emperor Barack Hussein Obama.
Farah Can't Stop Lying About WND's Agenda Topic: WorldNetDaily
Who does Joseph Farah think he's fooling?
His Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily column is yet another exercise in pretending that WND is a legitimate news organization that doesn't have a political agenda. Taking exception to an article by the Huffington Post's Thomas Edsall in the Columbia Journalism Review listing WND among the "conservative media" that are "explicitly ideological," Farah writes:
WorldNetDaily has disavowed the label "conservative" more times than I can count. Nowhere has WND ever proclaimed itself with such a label. And this apparently bears repeating and further explanation.
WND is a news agency – the largest independent source of news on the Internet.
It was founded by me – a lifelong journalist with a career spanning four decades and including stints in which I ran daily newspapers in major markets, none of which included any of the "conservative" media mentioned in Edsall's list.
The journalists working at WND all have similar qualifications and experience in the so-called "mainstream media." None of them has ever worked in "conservative media," if that is not an oxymoron.
The label "conservative" has been one placed on us, mainly by our competitors as a way of marginalizing us. Understandable, of course, but hardly "objective" and "neutral."
That's not to say WND doesn't have a unique worldview of its own amid the cacophony of those who like to think of themselves as "mainstream."
It's no secret.
We've explained it a thousand times.
We believe in doing good, American-style journalism the old-fashioned way – seeking the truth without fear or favor. We believe the highest calling of a free press in a free society is to serve as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions. That's what American journalism was intended to do. That's why the Founding Father of this great country established for the first time in world history special protections for the free press in the First Amendment of our Constitution – so my colleagues serve as yet another check and balance on government power.
That's what we do – and, I think, we do it uniquely well and with the highest standards.
We've been through Farah's little song-and-dance before. Farah, as he has previously done, is obscuring the fact that he's trying to avoid answering relevant questions.
Farah denies being "conservative," even though his website unambiguously promotes a conservative agenda. The fact is that "conservative" is too mild a term for Farah and WND. They promote a far-right Christian agenda, and Farah himself may best be labeled a Christian reconstructionist -- after all, he supports the blacklisting of actors and condones the killing of adulterers.
Notice that at no point does Farah deny that WND is "explicitly ideological" -- he merely reframes it by claiming WND has a "unique worldview." Also notice that he's careful not to explain what that "unique worldview" is, even though any casual WND readers can see that it is obviously "explicitly ideological."
The "good, American-style journalism the old-fashioned way" boilerplate is pure, unadulterated horsepuckey. "Seeking the truth without fear or favor"? A total lie. WND is afraid to tell its readers about birther lawyer Orly Taitz's increasingly erratic courtroom antics.
A "watchdog on government and other powerful institutions"? Only if it's controlled by Democrats -- WND has little interest in exposing the wrongdoing of Republicanpoliticians.
"The highest standards"? Don't make us laugh. Clark Jones knows all about WND's so-called "standards" -- it took seven years and a libel lawsuit before WND finally admitted it published numerous false claims about him. And, of course, WND has told lieafterlie about President Obama and liberal policies.
Farah's delusions to the contrary, WND has long been a journalistic joke, and it remains so today. He's just trying to pander to the folks who haven't figured that out yet.
Newsmax Hides Facts on Study Attacking Health Care Reform Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 12 Newsmax article by Theodore Kettle promotes "a new PriceWaterhouseCoopers study on the costs of the health care reform bill being voted on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee" and presented its findings, which he called "devastating," as indisputable fact.
But Kettle fails to mention -- even though otherarticles posted on Newsmax do -- that the the study was paid for not by PriceWaterhouseCoopers but by America's Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for the insurance industry with its own specific agenda. Those articles, both by the Associated Press, also include criticism of the study that Kettle can't be bothered to include because it apparently fits his personal agenda of opposing health care reform.
On the subject of criticism, Kettle wrote only that "The White House’s panicked response has been to make a dubious challenge to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ competence." But, again, not only is Kettle hiding the forces behind the study, he does not refute the White House's claim other than to call it "dubious," a claim he does not support with evidence.
A July 11 WND article by Drew Zahn asserted that John Holdren, the administration's science czar, "advocated ... compulsory abortions in the U.S." in a textbook he co-wrote in the 1970s. In fact, Holdren was merely repeating a claim that compulsory population-control measures, including abortion, "could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society"
Even the right-wing Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid found that to be an egregious distortion of the facts, pointing out that "while Holdren can be criticized for including this reference to compulsory abortion, it cannot be said, strictly speaking, that it is necessarily his view."
Nevertheless, WND continued to push the false claim. A July 25 column by Matt Barber assertedd that "Holdren has advocated ... forced abortion," a statement uncritically quoted by Bob Unruh in a July 31 article. A Sept. 8 column by Janet Porter asserted that Holdren "wants forced abortions."
A Sept. 21 article by Jerome Corsi tried to spin the lie. After noting that PolitiFact pointed out that "the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Clearly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate forced abortions,"Corsi adds: "A close reading of 'Ecoscience,' however, shows the authors clearly stated their acceptance of abortion as an effective population-control technique." But "acceptance" is not the same thing as advocacy.
Still, in an Oct. 10 article, Corsi wrote that Holdren "advocated abortion as a means of population control."
One of WorldNetDaily Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein's favoritesources is David Ha'ivri, currently a spokesperson for the Samaria Liaison Office (aka Shomron Liaison Office), which appears to be a group that speaks for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. What Klein repeatedly fails to do in his WND articles is that Ha'ivri is a Kahanist sympathizer -- a right-wing movement whose political parties, Kach and Kahane Chai, have been outlawed in Israel for inciting racism. When given the opportunity, Ha'ivri refused to condemn a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school. None of that association with terrorist organizations -- which the U.S. considers the Kahanist movement to be -- kept WND from giving Ha'ivri a prominent space as a "letter of the week."
WND uncritically quotes Ha'ivri again, in an Oct. 11 WND article by Samuel Sokol (presumably working under Klein's direction), as speaking for a group of "Jewish pilgrims" visiting the tomb of Joseph in the West Bank town of Nablus. Sokol doesn't acknowledge the term "West Bank," sticking with the right-wing Jewish terminology of "Samaria," and also insists on calling the town Shechem, merely "known to the Arabs as Nablus."
Sokol's article carries the dateline "Shechem, Israel," even though the town has officially been known as Nablus since, oh, the seventh century, and the status of "Samaria" as an official part of Israel remains in dispute.
Apparently, nobody is ever supposed to say anything bad about Glenn Beck -- even if it's the truth.
NewsReal's David Swindle takes us to task for daring to defend reporting pointing out that Beck's claim that his mother committed suicide is at variance with the facts, which show that the cause of her death is at best inconclusive. His professed problem with it is that it delves into Beck's personal life, which should be off limits in political debate:
If the question of whether she died by suicide or by accident is in doubt (which is all you might be able to establish) then it’s awfully sick of you and MM to choose the answer which makes Beck out to be a liar. I mean you do see how this is really distasteful and unnecessary and how a reasonable person could call this a smear? The circumstances of someone’s mother’s death is in doubt and you accuse them of lying about it in order to illicit sympathy from people and further their career? You really hate Beck that much? Because it seems to me that if you just disagreed with his arguments then that’s all you’d do. You’d refute his arguments (which is fair game.) But instead you choose to dig into his past to try and destroy him personally.
1) No "choice" was made to "make Beck out to be a liar." All that was done by Media Matters is highlight reports showing what the official investigation into Beck's mother's death and what Beck himself has said about it. There are discrepancies, and Swindle doesn't refute that.
2) Obviously, Beck himself is the only one who can answer questions about the discrepancy. But does Swindle really think that such a shameless entertainer as Beck is incapable of enhancing a tragedy for sympathetic effect?
3) Swindle accuses us of "dig[ging] into [Beck's] past to try and destroy him personally." As if that has never been done by conservatives looking to attack liberals. (See Clinton, Bill.) But really, how exactly does this little incident "destroy him personally"? Further, Beck has made the claim publicly on numerous occasions, which opens it up to public scrutiny.
It seems to us that Swindle is opposed to any criticism of Beck. After all, his boss, David Horowitz, has embraced Beck as "the most eloquent, fearless and effective warrior standing between Barack Obama and a collectivist state." But Horowitz himself is embracing personal attacks as well: Just four months after declaring that smears such as "Manchurian candidate" were beneath substantial criticism of Obama, Horowitz called Obama that very thing.
Ultimately, this is small potatoes and hardly the worst thing Beck has done (the top of that list is likely ridiculing the wife of a rival radio host for having a miscarriage). But the fact that Swindle is in full defense mode over such a relatively minor indiscretion tells us that Beck is now a priority of the Right as someone who must be protected at all costs -- just like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
Note to Farah: Obama Increased Troops in Afghanistan Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Oct. 11 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah writes about how President Obama "told us during last year's presidential campaign that troops needed to be redeployed from Iraq to the 'real' front in the war on terrorism – Afghanistan," but is now "mulling ... over" Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendation for a even larger U.S. presence in Afghanistan. "Isn't this exactly what Obama said he wanted to do more than a year ago?" Farah adds. "Maybe it's that Nobel Appease Prize?"
But Farah hides the fact that Obama did, in fact, increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by approximately 20,000. Farah writes that Obama "has only modestly increased U.S. forces in Afghanistan," but that's misleading; the additional troops Obama ordered earlier this year increases the number in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent.
Only in Farah-speak would that be considered "modest."
We already know how WorldNetDaily's self-proclaimed mission to "serve as a watchdog on government - to expose corruption, fraud, waste and abuse wherever and whenever it is found" is a sad joke. It cares about "corruption, fraud, waste and abuse" only when the person doing it is a Democrat -- Republicans get a free pass. WND is proving it again with the case of John Ensign.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Republican Sen. Ensign had an affair with a staffer whose husband was also on his staff; Ensign admitted to the affair after a possible blackmail attempt by the husband. Ensign doubled his mistress' salary while the affair was going on, and her son received payment from an Ensign-controlled poltical entity. It was later revealed that Ensign tried to find a lucrative job for the husband after the affair was revealed at companies on whose behalf Ensign's staff repeatedly intervened with federal officials.
Also revealed in this was a shadowy, secretive group of Christian politicians -- many of whom have been involved in similar moral and ethical transgressions -- that Ensign is linked to.
But you won't read anything about this in an original WND news article. The only news article found on the Ensign scandal in WND's database is from WND at all but, rather, linked to Fox News.
That level of interest would seem to indicate that there would be a similar desire among readers for news of this scandal. But WND has decided otherwise.
Why? Perhaps because Ensign is a Republican; perhaps because of the C Street angle, which would have put a bad light on Joseph Farah's fellow Christian evangelicals.
Whatever the reason, WND is afraid to tell its readers -- but not afraid of violating its own mission.
UPDATE: Another Republican scandal you won't read about at WND: growing evidence that Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry is obstructing an investigation into whether the state executed an innocent man, whose execution Perry signed off on.