Free Markets, Free People
In the old “what did they know and when did they know it” game concerning Solyndra, the failed solar company backed by half a billion dollars of federally guaranteed loans, it appears the administration was warned repeatedly that it would fail.
Even after Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, analysts in the Energy Department and in the Office of Management and Budget were repeatedly questioning the wisdom of the loan. In one exchange, an Energy official wrote of "a major outstanding issue" — namely, that Solyndra’s numbers showed it would run out of cash in September 2011.
There was also concern about the high-risk nature of the project. Internally, the Office of Management and Budget wrote that "the risk rating for the project sponsor [Solyndra] … seems high." Outside analysts had warned for months that the company might not be a sound investment.
And the reason?
Fairly simple, really:
"It’s very difficult to perceive a company with a model that says, well, I can build something for six dollars and sell it for three dollars," Lynch said. "Those numbers don’t generally work. You don’t want to lose three dollars for every unit you make."
But apparently not enough to warn off what was something that the administration badly wanted to back – “green” jobs. The problem of course is they weren’t viable green jobs. The company failed Econ 101 analysis, yet that didn’t stop our central planners from pushing ahead with the loan guarantees.
And all the info to determine this wasn’t a good risk was there:
In 2008, Solyndra, then just three years old, pushed ahead with its application for government backing to build a new plant to produce its unique solar panels. An outside rating agency, Fitch, gave Solyndra a B+ credit rating that August. Two months earlier, in June 2008, Dun & Bradstreet issued a credit appraisal of the company. Its assessment: "Fair."
Those are not top-of-the-line scores, Fitch Ratings spokeswoman Cindy Stoller told the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News, which has been investigating the deal in partnership with ABC News since March. She could not discuss the Solyndra review specifically, but said of a B+ rating: "It’s a non-investment grade rating." She provided a company ratings definition, showing that B+ falls between a "highly speculative" B and "speculative" BB.
Anyone with a 5th grade education would know enough to go “not where we should sink our money”. But sink it they did.
What do we get back from the administration when questioned about all of this?
Asked about those ratings, and how significantly the department viewed the risk, Energy officials said Monday the department conducted "extensive due diligence" on the application, which included consideration of the Fitch rating.
"We believed the rating, which is used to inform our analysis of potential risks associated with the loan, was appropriate for the size, scale and innovative nature of the project and was consistent with the ratings of other innovative start-up companies," said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman.
"The Department conducted exhaustive reviews of Solyndra’s technology and business model prior to approving their loan guarantee application," LaVera said. "Sophisticated, professional private investors, who put more than $1 billion of their own money behind Solyndra, came to the same conclusion as the Department: that Solyndra was an extremely promising company with innovative technology and a very good investment."
Well, if that’s the case, then the analysts at the DoE are utterly incompetent. My guess is they came up with the analysis their bosses wanted, not that which actually told the truth about the situation.
Again, instead of letting the market do its job, the administration continued to ignore the warning signs and intrude, backing a company that was bound to fail and in the end, throwing a half billion taxpayer dollars down the drain.
And there’s this:
The White House has argued that any effort to finance start-up businesses in a relatively new field like solar energy is bound to include risky ventures that could fail. They reject the notion being pushed by Republicans that Solyndra was chosen for political reasons. One of the largest private investors in the deal, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was also a prominent fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
And, Solyndra’s CEO was a large contributor as well.
However, the big concern?
"This deal is NOT ready for prime time," one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
"If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY," wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009. The "West Wing" is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers.
Yup, protect the White House. And they didn’t even have the wits to back out when they could have, instead doubling down in the face of horrific numbers. Sound familiar?
You’re in good hands, folks — can’t you just feel it?
pparently the fact that President Obama scheduled a speech to a joint session of Congress that coincided with a GOP debate and was informed by the Speaker of the House that the date was not acceptable has now worked its way into a full blown brouhaha. Perhaps the best summary and most breathless and silly conclusion comes from Tommy Christopher in Mediate:
The mainstream media, and even some in the liberal opinion media, have completely missed the point of President Obama’s dust-up with Speaker John Boehner over the date for Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. MSM yakkers have advanced the “pox on both their houses” meme, while liberals like Ed Schultz accuse the President of “caving,” all ignoring the fact that Boehner has insulted and disrespected the office of the President of the United States, and should resign.
Of course, because we all know it is a deadly thing to insult the President of the United States, especially when you’re one of the leaders of a co-equal branch of government.
The sort of nonsense Christopher is pushing is interesting because it was so absent when the former president was in office. Insults from Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid were as common as their poor performance in office. In fact, Obama is a president and head of one of three co-equal branches of government. He’s not a dictator or a king, although given his style in the 3 years he’s been in office, those are roles he’d prefer.
Obama essentially tried to play a little politics with the date of his speech and steal the limelight from the GOP debate. However, in order to address a joint session of Congress, he had to have the permission of both the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader in the Senate (and that should tell you all you need to about "co-equal"). The Senate was in the bag, Reid being perfectly amenable to the politics of the request. The Speaker, John Boehner, wasn’t. He quickly figured out the ploy and said, ‘no’.
Cue the whiners, complainers and drama queens. In fact Obama played politics and lost. End of story. He assumed he could push Boehner into doing something that was advantageous to him and detrimental to the GOP. He was wrong.
The resulting fallout is his problem and what looked like something that had a net potential positive for him politically has now turned into a net negative. Obama miscalculated and had his miscalculation handed back to him. Welcome to full contact politics.
But lets be clear about something. John Boehner acted within his rights as a co-equal leader of the government and member of his party in saying “no” to a request that was clearly unacceptable because of the politics involved. He insulted no one. If any “disrespect” was shown, it can just as easily be laid at the President’s feet with the claim that he deliberately scheduled his speech to coincide with the GOP debate in order to show them up.
Which day his speech is made is of little consequence in the big scheme of things, it’s what it will lay out that counts. But as usual, in the highly partisan atmosphere found in Washington DC, even the most routine politics is now framed as some sort of major confrontation requiring the heads of those who disagree with the president.
Obama tried some slick politics and ended up getting stung for it. For those like Christopher, get over it. He’s a president, not a king.
You may remember this line from President Obama’s inaugural speech: " We will restore science to its rightful place … "?
The implication, of course, is that science had been held hostage to politics and that was no longer going to be tolerated.
Well, until it was necessary to skew it to support Obama’s political agenda, that is:
The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report. In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.
Of course the usual suspects claim no intention of mislead exists. That it was just part of the "normal editing process".
“At 2:13 a.m. on May 27, 2010, Browner’s staff member sent an e-mail back to Black that contained two versions of the executive summary,” the IG report states. “Both versions sent by the staff member contained significant edits to DOI’s draft executive summary but were very similar to each other.
“Both versions, however, revised and re-ordered the executive summary, placing the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation causing the distinction between the secretary’s moratorium recommendation – which had not been peer-reviewed – and the recommendations contained in the 30-Day Report – which had been peer-reviewed – to become effectively lost.” [emphasis mine]
Unless you’re a totally inept editor and not able to read for comprehension, this should have been obvious to everyone involved. The IG figured it out. Why didn’t Browner and Salazar?
Because, most likely, it said what they wanted said (implications included) exactly as they wanted it said so they could support the position they had already decided was necessary.
But the denial, as absurd as it is, continues:
Black said he didn’t have any issues with the White House edit; he and his staffer both told the IG it never occurred to them that an objective reader would conclude that peer reviewers had supported the six-month moratorium.
Really? Seriously? Well what about the "objective" readers on the panel:
Nevertheless, Interior apologized to the peer reviewers in early June after some of them complained they were used to support the controversial ban. Salazar also held a conference call with the peer reviewers and met personally with some of them.
Obviously their "objective" reading of the executive summary caused them to conclude otherwise, didn’t it?
Glad to see science is back in the position the president promised it would be under his administration.
Change – a wonderful thing to behold, huh?
I’m sorry but the more I watch this White House operate, the more I realize that most of the conciliatory rhetoric about bringing “new politics” to Washington was just so much hot air. They’ve certainly brought a different brand of politics to the place, but “new” isn’t how I’d characterize them.
This bunch acts like thugs engaged in intimidation and shakedowns. The latest example has to do with health insurance companies – which, if anyone is paying attention, are being set up to fail. So now, in anticipation of the the health care bill’s impact and a desire to keep what should happen from happening, the thugs go to work:
President Obama, whose vilification of insurers helped push a landmark health care overhaul through Congress, plans to sternly warn industry executives at a White House meeting on Tuesday against imposing hefty rate increases in anticipation of tightening regulation under the new law, administration officials said Monday.
The White House is concerned that health insurers will blame the new law for increases in premiums that are intended to maximize profits rather than covering claims. The administration is also closely watching investigations by a number of states into the actuarial soundness of double-digit rate increases.
Of course, the insurance companies no longer can deny pre-existing condition and must take anyone who applies. That means a much different risk pool than previously – one which will be much more costly than their present pool of insured.
With the usual attitude of anticipating the worst, the White House plans to warn them off of raising prices. That, of course, shouldn’t be any of the administration’s business, but with the new law, they made it their business. And remember – the charter, the base premise of the law is “cost containment”. The hidden agenda, however, is single-payer.
So where, you ask, does the thugishness come in? Well that would be David Axelrod’s department. Here’s his offer they can’t refuse:
“Our message to them is to work with this law, not against it; don’t try and take advantage of it or we will work with state authorities and gather the authority we have to stop rate gouging,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview. “Our concern is that they not try and, under the cover of the act, get in under the wire here on rate increases.”
Note the imperial “we”. Also note that they will decide what constitutes “rate gouging”. If this isn’t a “with us or against us” statement, I’m not sure what you’d call it.
The law does not grant the federal government new authority to regulate health care premiums, which remains the province of state insurance departments. But with important provisions taking effect this summer and fall, the Obama administration has repeatedly reminded insurers — and the public — that it will expose industry pricing to what the health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has called a “bright spotlight.”
The general war against business continues.
So what lesson should we take from the Blanche Lincoln primary victory last night against Democratic Lt. Governor Bill Halter?
Well a lot of people are divining a lot of things from her win, but the one I’m seeing the most is her victory spelled a defeat for Big Labor. The last count I saw said BL had pumped 10 million buckaroos into the primary fight – and not on Lincoln’s side.
Here’s how it breaks down. Lincoln was President Obama’s candidate. He’s made that clear, he has campaigned for her, he wanted her to win.
Bill Halter was labor’s chosen candidate and had the backing of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and other major unions. Ginormous amounts of union funds were used in an effort to defeat Obama’s candidate — by the left. That’s the point to be made here – this wasn’t opposition by the Tea Party, this was opposition funded by the natural allies of the Democratic party and, supposedly, the White House.
According to Ben Smith at Politico, once it was clear that Lincoln had prevailed, the White House couldn’t wait to make it clear that the unions were on the wrong sheet of political music. Smith said a WH official contacted him, saying:
“Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,” the official said. “If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.”
In other words, “get with the program boys, and do it how we tell you to do it”.
Message sent, and received:
AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responds that “labor isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party.”
Yeah, right – at least not for today.
Way to firm up your support with your base Mr. President – apparently they’re good to go as long as they spend their members money the way he wants them too.
Politico takes a look at the White House team in light of the recent revelations of a job offer to Joe Sestak to pull out of the PA Senate primary and now the emerging story about jobs that may have been offered to a Democratic candidate in Colorado to keep him out of a primary. Politico wonders how the crew which so deftly managed such a successful presidential campaign has lost their "golden touch".
Perhaps there never was a golden touch. Perhaps the inevitability of the win had little to do with their deft management. Perhaps it had more to do with historical timing and a historic first. That and an attractive candidate whose huge faults and thin resume were something people were obviously willing to overlook for the feel-good euphoria they got from him and his rhetoric.
Perhaps, as the Politico calls them, they always were always “one part Dick Daley, one part Barney Fife.”
It would explain their developing reputation as nothing more than machine Chicago pols. And their inability to spin and manage the multiple crisis enveloping the White House and the Obama presidency. It seems each and every day, events and actions by this group conspire to put the administrion in a bad light.
They undercut the Obama’s reputation on two fronts. Trying to put the fix in to deny Democratic voters the chance to choose for themselves who their Senate nominees should be is hardly consistent with the idea of “Yes we can” grassroots empowerment that is central to Obama’s brand. And bungling that fix is at odds with the Obama team’s image — built around the likes of Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Obama himself — as shrewd political operatives who know the game and always win it.
Democrats are now apparently complaining. They are of the opinion that the White House is unable to handle more than one major challenge at a time. And any student of the presidency knows that multiple challenges on a daily basis are the norm. Additionally, Obama’s recent forays into state races in support of Democratic candidates has been almost universally unsuccessful. Asks one Democrat:
“How one group of people can be so good at campaigning and so bad at politics?”
Answer? Experience. Campaigning, while it has multiple tasks, has only one goal. Obama has been campaigning his whole life. He knows how to do that. Governing has not only multiple tasks, but multiple challenges and goals. Obama has never run anything or governed anything. This is his first real job. That is the reason most rational people demand that those seeking high executive office have some experience somewhere in their life with the duties and responsibilities of an executive.
We’re now suffering the results of irrational thinking when it comes to electing a president. Timing and “historical moments”, coupled with good campaign theater should never replace the careful consideration of the bona fides of any candidate for office – even at the lowest level. But all too often it does, and, such as in this case, we suffer the consequences. The question, of course, is will we do what is necessary, as soon as possible, to correct the mistake? Or will we again be swept away by the hype and spin and glitz of the one thing this group seems to be able to manage?
One of the favorite rebuttals of the alarmists – especially when a skeptical scientists scores a point on them – is to point to the scientist’s funding (“he’s paid by oil companies) and attempt to dismiss the science by claiming a bias. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens does a little digging into the money trail on the warmist side and, unsurprisingly, finds plenty of reasons for the alarmist cause to find what is has found:
Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world’s leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts that were laid bare by last week’s disclosure of thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, or CRU.
But the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists’ follow-the-money methods right back at them.
Consider the case of Phil Jones, the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient (or co-recipient) of some $19 million worth of research grants, a sixfold increase over what he’d been awarded in the 1990s.
19 million. A sixfold increase in funding. And all for being on the side that found what the alarmists wanted found – a human hand in the warming trend. But what’s incredible is how small, in terms of “research grants” the money paid to Jones and CRU was in the big scheme of payouts. There’s gold in that thar “settled science:
Thus, the European Commission’s most recent appropriation for climate research comes to nearly $3 billion, and that’s not counting funds from the EU’s member governments. In the U.S., the House intends to spend $1.3 billion on NASA’s climate efforts, $400 million on NOAA’s, and another $300 million for the National Science Foundation. The states also have a piece of the action, with California—apparently not feeling bankrupt enough—devoting $600 million to their own climate initiative. In Australia, alarmists have their own Department of Climate Change at their funding disposal.
All totaled, about 5 billion in research money out there for the scientist who is able to “prove” what the politicians want proven. And that’s just the beginning of the gravy train:
And all this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that HSBC Bank estimates has been spent globally this year on what it calls “green stimulus”—largely ethanol and other alternative energy schemes—of the kind from which Al Gore and his partners at Kleiner Perkins hope to profit handsomely.
And you wondered why Al Gore had essentially gone silent at this point? Why talk any more when what you’ve schemed to have happen is beginning to happen. One thing a good con artist knows is when to shut up.
Stephens makes the most important point:
Supply, as we know, creates its own demand. So for every additional billion in government-funded grants (or the tens of millions supplied by foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts), universities, research institutes, advocacy groups and their various spin-offs and dependents have emerged from the woodwork to receive them.
All of them have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.
None of these outfits are per se corrupt, in the sense that the monies they get are spent on something other than their intended purposes. But they depend on an inherently corrupting premise, namely that the hypothesis on which their livelihood depends has in fact been proved. Absent that proof, everything they represent—including the thousands of jobs they provide—vanishes. This is what’s known as a vested interest, and vested interests are an enemy of sound science.
Science is not an ends for these eco-religionists, but a means. The “settled science” is faith based, not reality or science based. It’s what they believe. Al Gore, otoh, is simply a grifter who recognized that propensity toward blind faith, fed it and now stands to profit from it.
Which brings us full circle to the CRU and their horrible and scandalous misbehavior. As Stephens concludes:
This is not the sound of settled science, but of a cracking empirical foundation. And however many billion-dollar edifices may be built on it, sooner or later it is bound to crumble.
Or said another way, the alarmists are denying the scandal because of the vested interests so many have in those “billion-dollar edifices” they’ve built over the years of scamming the world about the supposed imminent catastrophe of man-made global warming. There is no settled science regardless of what the White House claims (speaking of vested interests). In fact, it is beginning to appear there’s no science at all to under-gird the hypothesis of man-made global warming. Just some cooked-data that can’t be checked produced by a group of “scientists” who appear to have benefited handsomely from the funding alarmists were paid to help push this scam on the world.
To see this denial in full action, stay tuned to Copenhagen. It is when those who love to describe themselves as members of the “reality-based community” will be on full display – and just as fully engaged in denying reality.
The Obama administration is not doing well in two wars right now – a shooting war and a shouting war. Afghanistan continues on a downhill course while the president dithers, apparently incapable of making a decision. And on another front, he and the White House are looking both petty and foolish as they attack Fox News (one of the few things they’ve actually done during their time in office).
Tom Bevan makes some interesting points covering the latter war. Quoting Rahm Emanuel who said “The way the president looks at it – we look at it – it’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective”, Bevan says:
And MSNBC doesn’t push a certain “perspective?” What about the New York Times? The idea that FOX News’s perspective disqualifies it as a “legitimate” news operation lays bare the manipulation and hypocrisy at work here. The White House is all for news organizations taking certain “perspectives” – so long as they’re favorable to the administration’s agenda.
The current presidency, as much perhaps as any in history, is built upon the foundation of the President’s personal popularity. President Obama has, out of necessity, become the Salesman-in-Chief for his progressive agenda. But as the White House continues to struggle adjusting to the reality of governing versus campaigning, it is either unwilling or unable to brook criticism of the President or his policies. Thus FOX News is targeted as the enemy.
As Bevan points out, it is a qualification without exception. All news organizations that I’m familiar with push a perspective – that can be found daily on their editorial pages or nightly on their opinion shows. The only difference between MSNBC and Fox is the “perspective” is favorable on the former and not as favorable on the latter.
And for most of America, who aren’t buying into the White House argument, there is no difference between MSNBC and Fox but their “perspective”. They’re quite aware both have them even if the White House enjoys pretending they don’t.
The second part of their ill conceived strategy is to try to delegitimize Fox News among other news organizations:
Axelrod went out of his way to suggest to Stephanopoulos that ABC News adopt the White House strategy and not treat FOX News as legitimate. “The bigger thing is,” Axelrod said, “other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way. We’re not going to treat them that way. ”
Emanuel suggested the same to John King later in their interview: “And more importantly is not have the CNN’s and others in the world basically be led and following FOX, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization, in the sense of both sides and a sense of valued opinion.”
That approach brought a reproach from the grand old dame of the White House news corps, Helen Thomas, who makes no bones about her liberal “perspective”. And Jake Tapper from ABC was unimpressed as well. Both find the strategy to be offensive, petty and inappropriate. So do most Americans.
The entire effort here is to cut Fox from the herd and isolate them (please review Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals“, specifically rules 5, 8 and 12) and destroy their legitimacy. It isn’t working. In fact Fox is enjoying a surge in viewership and the White House is losing face by appearing petty and vindictive.
Such tactics may not be frowned upon by brass-knuckle operatives working for the political machine in a one party town. But it’s different when you’re the President of the United States. Most Americans of all political stripes don’t want to see the President using the majesty and power of his office for heavy handed attacks on any organization simply because it has been critical of the President.
Time for the White House to wave the white flag, call off the dogs and try to resurrect their flagging credibility. Meanwhile, Fox News should send Emanuel and Axelrod a nice little thank you note.
UPDATE: Allahpundit at Hot Air notes that this may all be about “containment”:
This seems so obviously correct that I feel embarrassed for not having figured it out sooner.
The rationale of the White House offensive against Fox News has been a topic of much puzzlement lately. Is this just the White House lashing out? Are they trying to rally the base?
But I think Mike Allen and Josh Gerstein nail the real explanation in their story today: The White House is working to prevent stories born on Fox from crossing over into more widely-viewed media. Most Americans still haven’t heard of Van Jones, for instance; and the strategy is now all about containment…
This makes sense in the wake of the Van Jones story and the fact that some talking heads at Fox are emboldened by the success of forcing Van Jones out of his position (consider the suddenly surfaced video of Anita Dunn praising Mao after she attacked Fox).
That sort of a strategy at least makes more sense than the trying to question the organization’s credibility because of their “perspective”. However it will most likely fail as well, since even to those organizations whose perspective they like, news is news and they are the ones who lose credibility if they don’t cover it (regardless of who uncovers it).
UPDATE II: Heh … “It’s a quagmire!”:
Despite the President’s promise of a swift and decisive victory, Obama’s War on Fox News has developed all signs of an unwinnable quagmire, making the White House even more isolated in its unilateral attempts to crush the growing media insurgency. As the war continues to grind on for a second month, public opinion is shifting towards a quick and complete withdrawal. While many observers still agree that the “War on Limbaugh” is a “just and necessary war,” even the former supporters of the war effort are now labeling the War on Fox an “unnecessary war of choice” and claim that the cable channel had nothing to do with Obama’s falling approval numbers.
Well, not exactly “reacts”. Instead it issues a statement when asked for a reaction:
We are deeply concerned over reports of many deaths and injuries from violence in Urumqi in western China. Reports, so far, are unclear about the circumstances surrounding the deaths and injuries, so it would be premature to comment or speculate further. We call on all in Xinjiang to exercise restraint.
Wasn’t this the same basic message candidate Obama issued concerning Georgia – You boys quite fighting now, you hear?
Here, let me finish the statement for them:
Because, you know, freedom isn’t worth fighting for, and besides Hillary made it clear we weren’t going to be bothering the Chicoms about human rights anymore – so you’re on your own.
Meanwhile an Amber alert has been issued for Hillary who has apparently gone missing in the State Department (although it is being reported that she’s going to meet with former Honduran president Mel Zelaya later this week).
Previous post on the situation that the White House seems not to know much about here.
While it comes at no real surprise given how they behaved during the presidential campaign, the MSM has finally decided to go all in with its support for the President. Next Wednesday night, June 24, ABC News will host a program about health care reform from inside the White House, but only one side will be presented — i.e. Obama’s. The Chief of Staff for the RNC is not happy about this decision and sent the following letter to David Westin, the President of ABC News:
Dear Mr. Westin:
As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC’s astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.
Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party’s opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.
In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff
This comes on the heels of a Politico report about how Obama has been “wooing” the New York Times (as if it needed wooing), and further evidences a disturbing level of acquiescence to the White House. It’s one thing to have a broadcast from inside the White House, although it does strike an appearance of impropriety, but its another thing altogether to so blatantly snub an opposing views when the production is supposed to be one of news reporting. Presenting the view of those in power without question or examination, and refusing to allow any other voice, is pretty much the textbook definition of propaganda.
Since there is sure to be an uproar over this in the blogosphere, however, I’m wondering whether ABC News will back down and either allow some token opposition voice, bring on a known opponent of the President’s plan to raise some issues, or allow some questions of the President from actual reporters (Jake Tapper does still work for ABC News, doesn’t he?). Either way, its awfully pathetic that the MSM can’t seem to figure out how to get it right the first place. They are so blinded by their fascination with all things Obama, apparently, that any semblance of actual news reporting has gone out the window, and is being replaced with unabashed cheerleading for The One.
UPDATE: Oops! I didn’t realize that Bruce was writing on the same topic until after I posted. See his take below as well.