I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I thought I’d look at what’s been happening over the past month. It’s been interesting, seeing the media change (without acknowledging that) their narratives from the initial reactions, as well as watching various Republicans spinning around trying to find something to push the media outrage button one more time.
In October, I was talking about the misunderstandings about technology, as it related to the Healthcare.gov site. So it’s been two months, what’s happened? The site is working. Far and away better, although there are still some problems. The Republicans are still trying to spin this as “the Affordable Care Act is a failure,” but as more and more people start signing up (there’s always a “lag”), it becomes difficult – if not impossible – for them to roll it back. Of course, they’re still trying to spin this as “a failure.” The problem? As more people are getting insurance, and often cheaper than they had before, the positive news stories are overwhelming the negative ones. What the Republicans are also likely to find out is that there’s a political price to pay for their actions:
Obamacare advocates are actively recruiting those left out of the Medicaid expansion in Republican-controlled states to lobby state officials to change their minds and participate in that key provision of the health care reform law.
So far, the effort is most organized in Texas, which is also the state with the most people in that Medicaid expansion gap: 1 million. But it’s likely to pick up elsewhere as the Obama administration and outside advocates apply pressure to the 25 states that have resisted expansion for the first year.
In another post, I talked about CBS 60 Minute’s blundering with their Benghazi report. Lara Logan has been suspended by CBS after an internal review, which was pretty damning. Of course, various pundits are springing to her defense. Yes, there should be ramifications and, yes, this story will forever be linked with Logan; but does that mean she has no remaining credit for everything else she has done for the network? Hmm… nope. The example they try to compare it with is:
To be clear: Her suspension is indefinite. If they wanted to send a message, they could have announced that she had been given a stern warning (as was ABC’s Brian Ross after he wrongly and preemptively suggested a connection between the Aurora shooter and the tea party). They could have even suspended her for a week just to make the point, but indefinitely? That sure sounds like if she is ever coming back to CBS, it’s not for a long while.
To be equally clear: There is a big difference between broadcasting a supposition about motives during a situation where facts are not yet available and rapidly coming out, and spending “a year” (supposedly) developing a story. In the Ross case, he made a guess without any facts to back him up, while in the second, they decided what they wanted to hear, then went and found a way to supposedly support it. One is a blunder, the other is willful negligence.
Finally, I talked about the importance of voting. As I look ahead to 2014, there is a chance that Democrats can not only keep the Senate, but take the House as well. I’ve been seeing some pundits saying “don’t count on it,” since they’re looking at “historical models” which say that the Party in control of the White House usually loses seats in mid-terms. But their assumptions are based on “lower turn out” and “dissatisfaction with the President.” The difference next year? The Republicans have had a really bad run this year. Besides the government shut-down, the states they run aren’t doing as well as others, and there’s a lot of anger about their lack of action on any number of issues. Mid-terms are base elections, the party that can best turn out its base is more likely to win. In 2010, that was the Republicans, helped along by the frustrati telling everyone to stay home to “send a message.” Next year? We need to turn out the Democratic base, and not listen to any nitwit supposedly on “the Left” who says not voting is sending a message.