February 11, 2014

As Expected, AP Scrubs Admin’s ‘Political Angling’ in Latest Coverage of Unilateral Obamacare Moves

As I noted Monday night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, displayed rare candor when he opened his 8:28 p.m. report on the latest unilateral changes to Obamacare by describing their motivation as “Angling to avoid political peril.” I wrote last night that “I’ll be surprised if it (the “political” characterization) survives revisions later this evening.” Well, it didn’t.

At the AP’s national site, the 8:28 p.m. link now goes to Alonso-Zaldivar’s 3:27 a.m. rendition (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes). Just in time for review by morning news show producers and editors, the new story scrubs away any hint of political thinking on the part of the administration itself, instead depositing it with Democrats trying to hold the Senate in this November’s elections. A national site search on “angling” confirms the old story’s non-presence. There is a politics-related quote in the revised piece — but of course, only from a Republican.


As was the case Monday evening, the AP’s headline still conveys the impression that only one change was made, when, as noted Monday night, at least five are involved (bolds are mine):

EMPLOYERS SCRUTINIZE LATEST HEALTH CARE CONCESSION

ObamaAtGalesburgIL0713

It may take weeks to render a verdict on the Obama administration’s latest health care concession to employers.

But that could make a difference for Democrats battling to keep control of the Senate in the fall congressional elections.

All-important details are buried in more than 200 pages of dense Treasury regulations released Monday. The biggest change is that medium-sized firms got another delay in a heavily criticized requirement that they cover their workers or face fines.

The administration said companies with 50 to 99 employees will have an additional year to comply, until January 1, 2016.

For businesses with 100 or more employees, the so-called employer mandate will still take effect in 2015. But other newly announced provisions, dealing with technical issues such as the calculation of working hours, may help some of those firms.

… Republicans trying to take control of the Senate in the November elections have once again made President Barack Obama’s health care law their top issue, casting it as job killer.

… The administration still hasn’t issued rules for reporting requirements on business and insurers, the nitty-gritty of how the coverage requirement will be enforced.

Administration officials and the law’s supporters said the concessions were the sorts of reasonable accommodations that regulators make all the time when implementing major new legislation. The Treasury Department said Secretary Jack Lew was well within his legal authority in making the changes.

So we went from a “concession” to “concessions” in the fourteenth paragraph of the same report. Covering up much, Ricardo?

Continuing on to the obligatory “Republicans playing politics” paragraphs:

But Republicans said they smelled fear.

“It is clear Democrats don’t think they can survive politically if Obamacare is allowed to fully go into effect,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., who as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee oversees the tax penalties enforcing the mandate.

What’s truly annoying is the assumption that only Republicans and conservatives are outraged at the administration’s unilateral, extra-legal, extra-constitutional maneuvers such as these.

Horse manure. Here’s leading liberal legal scholar Jonathan Turley, on December 3:

The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.

We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.

To no one’s surprise, the word “constitution” is absent from both of Alonso-Zaldivar’s reports.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. I have started calling it “Obamacaid.” Seems more appropriate.

    Comment by Joe C. — February 12, 2014 @ 8:22 am

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