Patterico's Pontifications


Shocker: Hillary’s Apology Motivated by Focus Groups

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 pm

It takes a while for this New York Times piece to get to the good stuff — nine paragraphs, in fact — but it finally gets to it:

Last week, Mrs. Clinton’s aides showed a video of that news conference to a New Hampshire focus group of independents and Democrats, according to a Democrat briefed on the focus group whose account was confirmed by a person in her campaign. Participants said they wanted to hear more from Mrs. Clinton about the issue.

The focus group also showed that the email issue was drowning out nearly everything else that Mrs. Clinton was hoping to communicate to voters — something Mrs. Clinton and her husband have complained about to friends.

Privately, some of Mrs. Clinton’s allies have drawn comparisons between her resistance to using the word “mistake” over the email server and her similar reluctance to say she had erred in voting as a senator to support the invasion of Iraq. That vote dogged her in the 2008 presidential primary, but Mrs. Clinton resisted calling it a mistake, despite entreaties from many liberals and some of her own aides.

Wondering why she wasn’t apologizing last week, but is apologizing this week? Wonder no more.

P.S. After Hillary apologized for not separating her work and personal email — and putting the classified email on a private server vulnerable to hacking — Whoopi Goldberg defends Hillary, saying she doesn’t blame Hillary for splitting her work email and personal email. What with all those hackers out there.

The Premature Gloating of ObamaCare’s Fans

Filed under: General,Health Care,Obama — JVW @ 4:15 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This past spring and summer saw progressives giddy with triumph concerning the alleged success of ObamaCare in enrolling new customers. From academics to the usual interest groups to the President himself, we were deluged with stories about all the wonderful things that the Health Care Act had done for the country. With Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in the King vs. Burwell case seeming to settle the issue of the bill’s legality, those who remained skeptical of the ability of the government to efficiently manage health policy in a nation of 330 million people were told to “get over it,” even by some on our own side.

But, as the saying goes, that was then. Yesterday’s Washington Post contained an interesting piece informing us that roughly a quarter of the people who chose a health plan this year through ObamaCare have since stopped paying for it. Of 12.7 million people who took out a plan in 2015, only 9.9 million were continuing to make payments by the end of June. This drop-off is significant numerically, and does not bode well for the big push coming next year as explained by the author:

For next year, congressional budget analysts are estimating that 21 million Americans will have health insurance through the exchanges — more than double the enrollment now.

Many health policy experts think that, in the two years since the marketplaces opened, they already have attracted the people who are easiest to enroll. Elizabeth Carpenter, a vice president of the consulting firm Avalere Health, said that the Congressional Budget Office has been assuming that sign-ups for 2016 will surge, because financial penalties will increase under a part of the law that requires most Americans to carry health insurance.

“The question is,” Carpenter said, “given where we are today, should we expect a slower ramp-up?”

Couple that with the expected rise in premiums forecast for next year which is once again likely to outpace the rise in family income, and 2016 could be a very important year for the future of government-managed health care, even apart from the matter of which party does well in the fall elections.

Addendum: Hat tip to Powerline for the link to the WaPo story.


LAT Publisher “Abruptly” Fired

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

See ya!

Los Angeles Times Publisher Austin Beutner was abruptly fired Tuesday after leading a yearlong drive to reshape the media company by emphasizing digital experimentation, a deeper connection with the community and efforts to cultivate ardent readers in the belief that advertising would follow.

Jack Griffin, chief executive of Tribune Publishing Co., parent company of The Times, met with Beutner in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning to give him the news.

Beutner’s successor, Timothy E. Ryan, is the 15th publisher in the 134-year history of The Times.

Neither Beutner nor Tribune Publishing officials would elaborate on what triggered the leadership change, but people familiar with the situation said it stemmed from a fundamental clash over whether The Times and its recently acquired sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, should remain within the newspaper chain.

It was done the old-fashioned way: get out, and get out now:

In the end, Beutner’s departure was quick and unceremonious. He presided over his normal 8 a.m. start-of-week meeting with senior staff, at the end of which he said, “This is the last one of these I’ll be doing for a while.”

Shortly afterward, Griffin told him he was being terminated.

By midmorning, a human resources officer was asking Beutner to surrender his company badge and quickly vacate his second-floor office.

It’s part of a long, slow death for the newspaper industry as a whole, and this paper in particular.

Few will be shedding tears when the funeral finally happens.

Thanks to Kevin M.

LAT: Pushing The Narrative On The Back Of A Dead Little Boy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:08 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, a great number of news media outlets ran the heartbreaking photo of Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, whose little body washed ashore in Turkey after the boat his family was in capsized. Almost immediately after the publication of the hauntingly sad picture, little Aylan became the human face of the refugee crisis we are now facing.

For the media, a story was born :

[A] fuller portrait emerged of a family rendered desperate by fighting in their hometown, Kobani, and their slender hope of finding refuge in Canada.

The family was called Kurdi, and relatives said 3-year-old Aylan, sometimes called by the Kurdish variant Alan, drowned along with his 5-year-old brother, Galip, and their mother, Reyhana. The child’s father, Abdullah, survived to break the terrible news by phone to family members at home and abroad, plunging even their loss-racked hometown in northern Syria into mourning.

The haunting episode put an unforgettably human face to the tragedies at sea that have killed more than 2,500 migrants and refugees this year, many of them Syrians fleeing a civil war that has raged since 2011. Tens of thousands more are on an arduous trek across Europe, making their way through fields and cities and across barbed-wire border fences to try to reach one of the wealthier northern nations such as Germany or Sweden.

Propelled by the grim and graphic images, the story of Aylan and his family was front-page news across Europe, provoking particular soul-searching in Britain, which has taken in only a fraction of the 800,000 migrants Germany expects to receive this year. The London-based Independent published the pictures, along with a strongly worded editorial headlined: “Somebody’s Child.”

“If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?” it asked.

Following the publication of little Aylan’s photo, the Los Angeles Times explained to readers why they believed publishing the picture was a “moral imperative”.

They began with a discussion about the standard decision making process wherein editors weigh out using a graphic photo and decide whether it will further the story. This was followed by the justification of using such an image:

These kinds of debates in newsrooms are not unusual. Foreign correspondents, a job I held for a number of years, often argue with editors that we have an obligation as journalists to make readers — and voters — more keenly aware of the costs of the wars the U.S. fights in foreign lands. Editors most often err on the side of protecting readers’ sensibilities, and whatever fragile privacy those wars’ victims manage to maintain.

We then find out that the image also provided the perfect vehicle for the Los Angeles Times to further their particular political point of view:

We have written stories about migrants suffocated in trucks, run over by trains, drowned in capsized boats, but these tragedies have unfolded largely unwitnessed; here was a boy — 3-year-old Aylan, we learned later — whose fate forced anyone who saw him to confront the magnitude of the migrant crisis unfolding in Europe and the Middle East. A crisis that our nation, through the wars it has fought in the region, had a hand in igniting. A human drama that has seen European nations struggle to confront the streams of refugees, some of them fleeing horrific violence, who have turned up pleading at their doors — while the U.S. admitted just 36 Syrian refugees in fiscal 2013.

Unsurprisingly, the blame for all of this human suffering belongs to the United States. Syria, little Aylan, untold numbers of migrant refugees, it is we who caused the problem and it is we who are still the problem. The United States: “We’re just too big, we’re too powerful, we’re everywhere, we take what we want, we leave poverty in our wake.” Yet at the same time, there is no mention in the article of seven years of President Obama’s disinterested and disengaged foreign policy, nor is there any mention of his own cynical observation that: “It’s not the job of the president of the United States to solve every problem in the Middle East. We must be “modest in our belief that we can remedy every evil.” Nor is there any mention of the vacuum of power left behind when U.S. troops were pulled out of the region and the subsequent destabilization, the rise of the “J.V. team”, nor any number of other troubling aspects which speak to this administration’s lack of strategy and resolve.

As we can see, instead of letting the image universally speak for itself, the Los Angeles Times used the image of a lifeless, little body to push their slanted blame-and-shame America narrative. If you are surprised at the Los Angeles Times’ exploitation of a dead child to advance a political point of view, you really shouldn’t be.

It bears noting that there are now questions being raised about the veracity of the Kurdi story, along with other related issues. And now, little Aylan has even become the face of a “climate refugee”.


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