Posted by Curt on 28 October, 2013 at 1:57 pm. 5 comments already!


Ed Morrissey:

Over the weekend, I linked to an intriguing look from the New York Times inside the White House spin on the ObamaCare rollout, which spread nothing but sunshine and optimism to Democrats on Capitol Hill and especially to the media.  The article posits that Barack Obama and his health-care team were blindsided by the massive failures this month. However, in the second half of the article, the Times’ Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg noted that the project’s defects were such an “open secret” in the industry that even the man who built Obama’s 2008 campaign online systems wanted nothing to do with it:

But among technology experts, the federal government’s poor performance in developing Web sites was an open secret.

Clay Johnson, a founder of Blue State Digital, the company that ultimately developed Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign Web site, turned down a chance to work on last year, when he spent six months as a Presidential Innovation Fellow.

“It was a project I wanted to steer clear of,” he said.

So why didn’t the media pick up on this? Matt Lewis had a great article on Friday at The Week defending progressive critics of the ObamaCare rollout for exhibiting intellectual honesty, responding to a controversy raised by Salon’s Joan Walsh scolding Ezra Klein and Ryan Lizza for acknowledging reality:

This raises the question about the proper role of journalists who have a political philosophy. You might say, “Well if you’re just going to write what everyone else writes, why should a media outlet that wants to advance progressive or conservative ideas pay you?”

Philosophical journalists play an important role in terms of diversity. But the benefit is mostly baked in to the cake. In other words, their value is in their existence, not in their output. I am a temperamentally conservative person who has a conservative disposition. And I’m willing to concede that that worldview will naturally influence the things I choose to write about (selection bias), as well as the way I cover stories. That, in a nutshell, is the benefit for conservatives.

My guess is that Klein and Lizza would generally agree. If you’re looking for a hack or a cheerleader, you might want to look somewhere else. Like maybe Salon.

Where does one go to get some objective reporting on public policy? One unmentioned aspect of the “sticker shock” and “exchange collapse” stories, which the media now reports well, is that these problems were readily apparent before October 1, too — as the NYT admits in the second half of its Friday article.  In my column today for The Week, I argue that this remarkable incuriosity about a massive public-works project that was a key issue in the 2012 election and the 2013 budget fight suggests that cheerleading takes place at many other venues other than Salon:

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