Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Katie Couric’s Creepy Pics from Gracie Mansion


Ummm. . .

And. . .

Why is she drinking wine on the tour?

Media Matters Still at War with Fox News


Here’s a partial-screenshot from their homepage this morning:

Quite a lot of “Fox News” stories for a war that’s supposedly already won.



It’s Finally OK to Joke about Michelle Obama


If, of course, you’re a member of #BlackTwitter. And from reading this column by Jonathan Capehart, it looks like the jokes about the Michelle Obama, if made by #WhiteTwitter, would have been deemed racist. But if you’re a credentialed member of #BlackTwitter, joke away! Capehart’s opener:

Praise the comedy gods.

We’ve finally reached the moment in Barack Obama’s presidency where we can make fun of him and his family without looking over our shoulders, worried that we’ve inadvertently insulted the president in front of polite company.

Really, this moment arrived the night sketch comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele introduced Catendra, a loud, demanding, neck-rolling, bad-weave sporting counterpart to the president’s anger translator, Luther.

But it really became clear Tuesday, when #BlackTwitter had a field day with a series of photos from former South African president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, the first being President Obama’s now-infamous selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Click here for the rest, including a Twitchy-esque collection of the funniest from #BlackTwitter.

I do not share Capehart’s view, however. I believe in one, united Twitter. To paraphrase then Senator Obama from the 2004 Democratic Convention, “There’s not a #BlackTwitter and #WhiteTwitter and #LatinoTwitter and #AsianTwitter; there’s just #TwitterTwitter.”

Jay Carney’s Semantics at Today’s Press Briefing


Yesterday, the AP dropped a bomb on the Bush and Obama administrations alleging that Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran back in 2007, was actually on an authorized mission for the CIA at the time of his disappearance. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have long said publicly that Levinson was in Iran as a private citizen.

When asked about Levinson and the AP story in the briefing today, Carney made it clear that when Levinson went missing in Iran, he was not an “employee” of the United States government. When asked later if Levinson was a “contractor,” Carney refused to elaborate.

What I find interesting is that Team Obama thinks that there’s a substantive difference in this case between an ”employee” and a “contractor.” The DOJ doesn’t seem to see much of a difference, at least when it comes to prosecuting U.S. companies for using a third party or contractor to pay bribes to foreign officials in an effort to win business, etc. 

And I don’t get why Carney thinks not acknowledging Levinson’s true mission at this point helps keep him safe. Now that this story is out there, why not pressure Iran to prove to us he’s alive?

Bloomberg News Won’t Report on Michael Bloomberg



When Michael Bloomberg retires as New York’s mayor in January after 12 years in office, it’s unclear what exactly he’ll do (beyond claiming a desk back at Bloomberg LP, the financial data giant he founded). Whatever he does, he’s sure to keep making news.

You can count on him to keep fighting for new gun-control laws. He could well continue to push his public-health initiatives against sugary drinks and smoking. And he’s certain to make headline-grabbing charitable gifts: He’s worth an estimated $31 billion, and gave $350 million just in 2013 to Johns Hopkins (bringing his lifetime total giving to his alma mater over $1 billion).

But there’s one place you won’t read about any of it: Bloomberg News. Since the creation of its journalism arm in 1990, Bloomberg LP — 85% owned by Mike (as he is referred to at the company and will be referred to here to avoid confusion) — has banned coverage of the company and its owner on the grounds that it would be a conflict of interest. Bloomberg News made a limited exception for covering Mike’s official actions as New York’s mayor. But his return to private life will bring an end to all that.

That’s the result, Fortune has learned, of a decision by Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler to reject an internal recommendation urging the company to change its policy. “I see no reason to change a policy that was conceived at the inception of Bloomberg News, and has served us well,” Winkler told Fortune in late October, during an interview for an in-depth report on Bloomberg LP.

The rest here.


Media Matters Declares Victory in its War Against Fox News


Their argument is that although Fox News’s ratings are still tops in the industry, the influence of Fox News has dropped over the years — thanks to them. Via the HuffPo:

“The war on Fox is over,” said Media Matters Executive Vice President Angelo Carusone. “And it’s not just that it’s over, but it was very successful. To a large extent, we won.”

According to its strategic plan for the next three years, a copy of which was provided to The Huffington Post, Media Matters envisions shifting its focus to new, increasingly influential targets, including Spanish-language media, social media streams, alternative online outlets and morning and entertainment sources. It will enhance its state media and issue-based monitoring, as well as continue its focus on right-wing radio and legacy outlets.

“We’ve always said, ‘Media Matters watches Fox, so you don’t have to,’” said Bradley Beychok, the group’s president. “That remains true. Fox News isn’t going to stop lying, so we’ll stay on that beat. But, our success regarding Fox News means that our talented team will carry out our mission in different ways consistent with a new strategic vision responsive to the transforming media environment.”

[. . .]

Media Matters argues in its strategic plan that Fox News is no longer the gatekeeper it once was, now that social media has proliferated and many of the network’s personalities have moved elsewhere. Former host Glenn Beck, for example, now has his own digital news operation.

And they’re even taking credit for Sean Hannity moving from 9 p.m.:

Host Megyn Kelly has since taken over the 9:00 p.m. time slot that had been occupied for years by Sean Hannity, who is known for being more vitriolic and partisan than Kelly. Carusone argued that financial pressure, created in part by Media Matters, forced that shift.

“That was in large part because it’s hard to ignore when your financial stakeholders are beginning to express concerns,” said Carusone. “They’re a business, after all. They act like a political operation, but they’re still a business.”

Still, he added, the group has its eye on Kelly.

Yes, they have their “eye on Kelly” with a front-page story today on her recent segment on Santa and Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from the Media Matters piece, that sounds to me like a contradiction of everything they just said regarding their victory over Fox:

Kelly’s warfare on behalf of her own culture taps into broader power dynamics that are at play throughout the media. As Media Matters has documented, broadcast and cable news is disproportionately the home of white men. And particularly in the arena of nightly television news, it is the dominion of highly paid elites who have the ability to set the agenda.

So it’s important to look at the stories that don’t get covered.

Megyn Kelly’s rejection of a non-white Santa was one of 13 references to Santa Claus on major cable or broadcast news programs that night, according to Nexis. And the reasoning behind her discussion, Kelly explained on air, was that “somebody wrote about it.”

The same justification could have been given for a discussion about homeless children. Yet by contrast, there were three references to homelessness that night. One of those came from a Fox host complaining that a Duck Dynasty star had been mistaken for a homeless person at a Caribbean hotel.

None of those segments told the story of Dasani, an adolescent homeless girl who formed the center of “Invisible Child,” a New York Times expose by Andrea Elliot on homelessness in New York City running this week. According to Nexis, Dasani’s story was the focus of only a single segment during evening and primetime news this week.

Both Byron York and John Podhoretz have suggested their move to end its war with Fox is more about pleasing Media Matters’ donors than anything else.


Some Follow-Up on the ‘Fake’ Interpreter at the Mandela Memorial Service


We’ve all seen the story flying around the Internet, but here’s a little more background. 

Via, the BBC, Wilma Newhoudt, South Africa’s “first deaf female MP” tweeted this during the live telecast, which was then reported in the MSM at large:

Newhoudt, who is also the “National Vice Chairperson” of DeafSA, pointed to this Facebook post that details the interpreter’s errors:

Press statement on the Fake Interpreter

The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage.
This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field. 
To the best of our knowledge he has not undergone any formal training in South African Sign Language or Interpreting offered by any recognised institution which offers these training courses.
The following is an explanation of the grammatical errors made by the ‘fake interpreter’:

The Interpreter did not make use of facial expressions, In South African Sign Language, facial expressions are an important part of communication. The facial expressions you use while doing a sign will affect the meaning of that sign. Facial expressions are an example of a set of behaviors called “non-manual markers.” Non-manual markers include facial expressions, head tilt, head nod, head shake, shoulder raising, mouth morphemes, and other non-signed signals that influence the meaning of your signs.
Facial expression plays a very important part in the meaning of a sign. The same exact hand-shape and movement can totally change meaning because of the facial expression that is used to accompany it.
Not only the hands, but also the face, the eyes, and the whole body work together to communicate in sign language. 
From the aforementioned explanation it is clear that the interpreter is not in contact with the Deaf Community to see how non manual markers are used. 
The signs (self invented signs) the interpreter used are not used in South African Sign Language and it is a total mockery of the language. The interpreter did not use the established, recognised signs for President Mandela, President Zuma, President Thabo Mbeki and South Africa amongst many others. This proves that he is not involved in the Deaf community and doesn’t know South African Sign Language. In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any oral language, despite the common misconception that they are not “real languages”. Professional linguist have studied many sign languages and found that they exhibit the fundamental properties that exist in all languages.

Sign languages are not mime – in other words, signs are conventional, often arbitrary and do not necessarily have a visual relationship to their referent, much as most oral language is not onomatopoeic. While iconicity is more systematic and widespread in sign languages than in spoken ones, the difference is not categorical. The visual modality allows the human preference for close connections between form and meaning, present but suppressed in oral languages, to be more fully expressed. This does not mean that sign languages are a visual rendition of an oral language. They have complex grammars of their own, and can be used to discuss any topic, from the simple and concrete to the lofty and abstract.

The interpreter was not able to use South African Sign Language from English into , meaningful semantic units. 

Handshapes used were meaningless and basic distinctions between signs are made in terms of Handshape (or Handform), Orientation, Location (or Place of Articulation), Movement, and Non-manual expression.

No classifiers were used and classifiers are common linguistic features of many sign languages are the occurrence of classifiers, a high degree of inflection and a topic comment syntax More than oral languages, sign languages can convey meaning by simultaneous means, e.g. by the use of space, two manual articulators, and the signer’s face and body. 

This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.


Bruno Druchen
National Director

For more information, Ms. Newhoudt is answering questions on the matter via her Twitter account.


MSM Media Critics at the Mandela Funeral


First up, Dylan Byers from Politico complaining about “new media’s” focus on the Obama-Castro handshake and the Obama/Cameron/Helle Thorning-Schmidt funeral selfie:

I guess Byers’s bosses at Politico don’t share his disdain of selfie coverage:

PoliticoPresident Obama takes selfie with world leaders

And next up, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd is in disbelief that Fox News would do an entire segment on the Obama-Castro handshake:

Ah, yes. Because MSNBC would never pander to its audience. Ever.  

Well, maybe they might pander to the end-the-Cuban-embargo crowd. headline: Handshake makes history at Mandela memorial, with video of the handshake. 

I expect next from Byers and Todd we’ll have some commentary on why speculation of 2016 races is ridiculous and should never, ever be taken seriously at this early date. 


Spanish Journalists Kidnapped in Syria


No, Obamacare Isn’t Racist


Here’s MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry from this weekend on how the term Obamacare is racist. Via Talking Points Memo:

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry kicked off her weekend program with a monologue on what she called the “derogatory” implications of the term “Obamacare,” the colloquialism for the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it’s indelibly printed in the pages of American history,” she said. “A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.”

But Harris-Perry said that despite the efforts of President Barack Obama’s opponents to reduce him to that one “disparaging word,” he President embraced the moniker.

No, Obamacare isn’t racist. It isn’t even derogatory. It’s just the nature of politics that legislative proposals become attached to particular individuals. Doubtless, the kids over at MSDNC consider “Hillarycare” sexist (or szomething). But recall that during the 2008 primaries, Slate used ”McCaincare” and Ezra Klein used “Giulianicare.”  

This is nothing new, and it’s a construction liberals embrace for their own purposes, i.e., President Obama’s use of “Romneycare,” “the Bush tax cuts,” “Reaganomics,” “Bush’s war in Iraq,” ”Libbygate,” etc., etc., etc. 

The NYT Has Holiday Gift Ideas for You


When you’re done reading about homeless children in New York City in today’s NYT, check out some of their suggested gifts for your loved-one this holiday season. How about some custom-made shoes for $7,650?

Or, $2,250 to learn how to drive a go-cart and get in-touch with the “fifth-grader inside you“?

Their “Holiday Guide” here.

About Today’s Big NYT Piece on Homeless Children in NYC


The Times has an article today titled “Invisible Child — Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life” that catalog’s one family’s struggle with poverty and homelessness in Brooklyn. An excerpt:

Dasani’s own neighborhood, Fort Greene, is now one of gentrification’s gems. Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America. 

But it’s really just a longer, more in-depth version of this Daily News piece on homeless children in New York City from last year:

Sometimes life in a homeless shelter is more than a 14-year-old can handle.

Francheska Luciano, who is among a growing number of homeless children in the city, said living in a shelter was “like living in hell.”

“I’m tired of this,” she said Friday while sitting on a curb outside a shelter intake center in the Bronx with her mother and little sisters. “It’s a nightmare every day.”

The number of children in the city’s shelters hit 19,000 last week, the most recent city data available show.

“Not since the grim days of the Great Depression has New York City had 20,000 children sleeping homeless each night,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless.

And the Times piece today reports the same news as this Wall Street Journal piece from March:

The numbers in New York, however, are starker, according to a report to be published Tuesday by the Coalition for the Homeless, a New York advocacy group, citing New York City government figures.

More than 21,000 children—an unprecedented 1% of the city’s youth—slept each night in a city shelter in January, an increase of 22% in the past year, the report said, while homeless families now spend more than a year in a shelter, on average, for the first time since 1987. In January, an average of 11,984 homeless families slept in shelters each night, a rise of 18% from a year earlier.

“New York is facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression,” said Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless.

I’m glad the New York Times finally noticed. As for the “Coalition for the Homeless,” the source above, they’re expecting Mayor-elect de Blasio to fix the problem:

New York City’s next mayor will inherit an historic homelessness crisis. The good news is that Bill de Blasio’s knowledge and experience, his campaign platform, and his vision for a less unequal city make him extraordinarily well-suited to stem the tide of rising homelessness.

Everyone at Coalition for the Homeless offers warm congratulations to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio for his resounding victory this week. And we look forward to working with him, his transition team, and his new administration in the coming months and years to address New York City’s historic homelessness crisis.

Throughout the mayoral campaign we have been heartened and encouraged by de Blasio’s focus on worsening inequality – and by New York voters’ overwhelming response to that message. Homelessness is clearly one of the major symptoms of NYC’s worsening inequality, in particular the widening gap between housing costs and the incomes of poor and low-income New Yorkers.

Indeed, there is no stronger evidence of de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” than the more than 52,000 homeless New Yorkers – among them 22,000 homeless children – who are sleeping each night in municipal shelters.

The good news is that, not only does de Blasio understand the scale of the problem, he has the knowledge and experience to tackle NYC’s homelessness crisis. As a former Federal housing official and chair of the City Council’s General Welfare Committee, he has firsthand and thorough knowledge of homeless services and affordable housing in New York.

Stay tuned.

MSNBC’s Touré Calls CNN’s Don Lemon a ‘White Leader’


Touré tweeted this last night as he was in the middle of discussion on why there’s not more discussion of white-on-white crime:

He tweeted a clarification a few minutes later, which really doesn’t clear anything up:

So Don Lemon is the kind of African-American white people will listen to? (Guess that makes Oprah Winfrey a white leader.) Touré still need to explain what he means.

As of this post, Don Lemon has yet to respond.

NBC’s Reboot of The Sound of Music Was Ratings Gold


Details here.

And before anyone gets any bright ideas, I’m already pitching NBC — albeit, through Twitter — on their next reboot for Carrie Underwood: Casablanca.

My thoughts on the cast. . .

Carrie Underwood as Ilsa

Justin Timberlake as Rick​ as Sam

​Edward Burns as Victor

Steve Buscemi as Louie 

Paul Giamatti as Ugarte

John Malkovich as Major Strasser, and

Alec Baldwin as Signor Ferrari

​Hollywood here I come!



Is Liberal Talk Radio in California Dying?


Rush Limbaugh is changing radio stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco starting January 1. And from this write-up in the Hollywood Reporter, it sounds like liberal talk-radio hosts will be hardest hit:

The move could be a blow to liberal talk radio as Clear Channel rebrands as “conservative” two stations currently featuring left-wing personalities like Stephanie Miller and Bill Press.

Rush Limbaugh will leave major AM radio stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco in order to help anchor some lesser-known channels in those markets that will be rebranded as conservative talk, people familiar with the plans from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment said Thursday.

The strategy could leave some left-wing talkers, such as Stephanie Miller, Bill Press and Thom Hartmann, without a home in a couple of very large, liberal-skewing markets.

In Los Angeles, Limbaugh’s top-rated show will no longer be heard on KFI AM 640 beginning on Jan. 1 and instead be on KTLK AM 1150, which is to be rebranded “The Patriot” with an all-conservative lineup that will include Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, which means the latter will be leaving TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, according to insiders.

Beginning the same day, KFI will become a channel that focuses more on local issues. Limbaugh’s 9 a.m.-noon slot will be filled partially by Bill Handel and partially by Bill Carroll, according to insiders.

Clear Channel, which owns both KFI and the soon-to-be Patriot, is making a similar move in San Francisco, where Limbaugh will jump from Talk 910 KKSF-AM to 960 AM KNEW, which will rebranded as “Right Radio.”

The rest here.

ESPN Forced To Cancel ‘Ron Burgundy’ for Real News


ESPN tweeted last night:

Stupid real news had to go and interrupt their promotional fun and games.

CMS Kinda, Sorta Admits It’s Having Back-End Problems


Sarah Kliff over at the Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” has been doing a good job reporting on the back-end problems of One main — and outstanding — issue is regarding the “834″ reports. These are automatic reports generated by and sent to insurance companies that tells insurers who signed up and for what. The reports have been riddled with errors, meaning people who think they have insurance do not. That’s a problem.

Although CMS acknowledges this problem with the reporters, they won’t give a straight answer on how many people who signed up are affected. And reporters have asked over and over again for the details, to no avail. Here’s what Kliff posted on Tuesday:

Still no 834 error rate. This was a question that came up a few times Monday, and again today when CNBC’s Dan Magnan brought it up.

“We know there are different types of errors,” Bataille said. “We have information on the specific bugs. The statistic I don’t have [is] in terms of overall error rate. We’re making a lot of progress to punch out the issues we have diagnosed working with issuers.”

When asked about the Washington Post’s report this morning that approximately one-third of the 834s sent so far had errors, Bataille replied, “I can tell you that does not reflect an accurate picture of what is happening right now…we’ve made tremendous progress and will certainly work to fix any standing issues.”

Bataille said that her agency is looking at both the issues with 834s that have occurred in the past, and also those that are happening now, to get a sense of whether the fixes they are implementing are working. CMS has a “team of experts working with issuers and working with officials from CMS so we are having regular daily conversations in order to identify any additional issues in the system, make sure those issues we’ve made improvements to are working,” she said.

Last night, CMS sent out this release to the media, hoping to show everyone that they’re, at the very least, working on the problem. The release, however, gives no details, nor any sense of confidence that CMS knows what’s going on:

Joint Statement from CMS, AHIP & BCBSA

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) issued the following joint statement today: 

“Ensuring that all Americans who need coverage are properly enrolled is a top priority for all of us. We are working together closely to resolve back-end issues between health plans and This is a very focused effort that is being driven by a team of experts from CMS, key outside contractors working closely with health plan representatives and overseen by CMS’s general contractor, Optum/QSSI. We will report on our progress.”

But it get worse. Kliff posted yesterday on similar back-end problems with those who have signed up for Medicaid. An excerpt:

Every week, usually on Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sends state Medicaid departments something called a “flat file.”

These files are sort of similar to the much-discussed 834 transmissions, which the exchange sends to an insurance plan when someone signs up. Except the flat files are for the Medicaid program, and lists people that the exchange thinks — but hasn’t officially determined — will be eligible for the Medicaid program.

And, much like those 834 transmissions, Medicaid officials say, these flat files are riddled with errors and incomplete information.

“They are really incomplete with lots of data cells missing,” said Matt Salo, who runs the National Association of Medicaid Directors. “Sometimes the immigration status is missing, or their town is in a different state. A quick glance sometimes shows they’re not Medicaid eligible because they earn too much, or they’re already in the system.”

The flat file was not initially meant to be an enrollment document. It was meant, instead, to give states a sense of enrollment volume, so they could beef up their staffing, if necessary. A separate account transfer function was supposed to be the actual enrollment vehicle.

Medicaid expansion is the part of Obamacare that the left likes to say is working the best. Maybe not. 



Martin Bashir Resigns from MSNBC


Radley Balko Joins the Washington Post


Here’s the announcement from the Post, via Poynter:

We are delighted to announce that Radley Balko, one of the country’s top criminal justice reporters, will be joining The Washington Post’s Opinions section, where he will have his own blog about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties.

Radley has made headlines for his groundbreaking stories and investigations into the criminal justice system across America. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Radley’s dogged reporting in the Cory Maye case helped get Maye freed from death row and later released from prison, and his investigations into the controversial methods of Mississippi pathologist Steven Hayne led to Hayne’s dismissal as the state’s top medical examiner. His first book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” has been praised across the political spectrum, and hailed as a “must read” and a “searing exposé…of police brutality.”

He was named Journalist of the Year in 2011 by the Los Angeles Press Club, which said “Radley Balko is one of those throw-back journalists that understands the power of groundbreaking reporting and how to make a significant impact through his work. Time and time again, his stories cause readers to stop, think, and most significantly, take action.”

Radley comes to The Post from The Huffington Post, where he was a senior writer and investigative reporter. He also writes about the music and culture of Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives. A graduate of Indiana University, Radley was previously a senior editor at Reason magazine, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute and an opinion columnist for

Radley will be joining us in January. Please join us in welcoming him to The Post.

Fred Hiatt and James Downie
December 4, 2013

Chris Matthews Lands Obama Interview


1) I hope Chris “leg tingles” Matthews doesn’t embarrass himself on national TV and have some sort of seizure while interviewing the president and 2) there could be no more of a softball interview than “Hardball” Chris Matthews.

For example, here’s what Matthews tweeted out last night on fixes:

Um, not exactly.

The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff posted her summary of the daily CMS briefing, hours before Hardball aired. She described the call as “tense” and noted how CMS keeps dodging the most important question related to the error-rate of’s backend systems:

This is where Monday’s media call started to get more tense than the dozens that have happened in the past, with reporter after reporter asking about the numbers of 834 errors and not getting a response from the administration. As The Wall Street Journal reporter reasoned, if the administration knows that 80 percent of the errors are coming from a certain bug — then simple math should figure out the total number.

Bataille did not provide an answer, beyond the metric of the Social Security bug causing the majority of the errors. “That’s the information I’ve got today,” she told The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky, when she was the third reporter to ask about the issue.

The administration has identified the 834 transmissions as key to the health law’s success. When Jeff Zients came onboard to help fix, he identified fixing these flawed transmissions as the issue at the very top of of his punch list. The reason I’ve kept asking about it is because experts tell me repeatedly that if the health law wants to have a shot at working, then the 834 transmissions need to work, too. That makes how poorly, or how well, the 834 transmissions are going a really important metric for understanding whether the health-care law is working — and one that reporters are likely to keep pressing the administration on.

The interview is due to air on Thursday. If Matthews doesn’t ask the president about these 834 errors, then he can stop calling himself a journalist and be content to be known as the president’s cheerleader. 



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