Thursday, July 10, 2014

Two New Studies Are Bad News for People Who Dislike Obamacare

by Evan McMurry

Hey, remember the Affordable Care Act? We were yelling about it a lot a few months ago. Anyhoo, two studies released Thursday claim that those who obtained insurance through the law’s state and federal exchanges, including an overwhelming amount of Republicans, are satisfied with it, and that anti-Obamacare advertising may have inadvertently increased enrollment.
A survey from the Commonwealth Fund found, as other studies have, that the nation’s uninsured rate had dropped 25% since the implementation of the ACA, representing about 9.5 million newly insured and a sizable drop in the number of uninsured 18-29 year olds. Of the newly insured, 58% reported that they were better off than before (only 9% said worse), and 75% said they were optimistic the plan would improve their health care (the number was higher for those enrolled through Medicaid). Even 74% of Republicans reported that they were “satisfied” with their coverage.
Per health care guru Larry Leavitt, it’s possible that this represents the enthusiasm of those who’ve longed for health care finally getting it, rather than a general verdict on the law; on the other hand, he expected to see more people rebel against the mandate, which doesn’t seem to be the case.
The news is not unmitigatedly good. 60% of those who had obtained a plan had used it for a doctor’s visit or prescription (of those, 62% said they would not have been able to afford the specific treatment before), and a number reported that they had a previously existing condition, all of which could indicate that the market pools leaned toward the sicker and thus more expensive customers, with the potential of accelerating rates next year.
Meanwhile, according to a study by the left-leaning Brookings Institute, the slew of anti-Obamacare ads may have “backfired,” both by increasing awareness about the law and scaring eligible applicants into signing up before Congress repealed it. Via Niam Yaraghi, the study’s author:
This implies that anti-ACA ads may unintentionally increase the public awareness about the existence of a governmentally subsidized service and its benefits for the uninsured. On the other hand, an individual’s prediction about the chances of repealing the ACA may be associated with the volume of advertisements against it. In the states where more anti-ACA ads are aired, residents were on average more likely to believe that Congress will repeal the ACA in the near future. People who believe that subsidized health insurance may soon disappear could have a greater willingness to take advantage of this one time opportunity.
If so, that would represent a poor ROI for anti-Obamacare advocates, who outspent the law’s proponents 15-to-1.
[h/t New York Times, Talking Point Memo]

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Analysis: Over Half of All Statements Made on Fox News Are False

Jameson Parker 

A new analysis by PunditFact found that of every statement made by a Fox News host or guest, over half of them were flat-out false. What’s more, only a measly 8% could be considered completely “true.”
In other words, a fancy review of hundreds of hours of video confirmed what many who watch Fox News with any regularity already know: Fox News lies. A lot. Like all the time.

Which isn’t to say that exposing Fox News’ irresponsible journalism isn’t an admirable goal. Despite its blatant spin doctoring, Fox still captivates a large portion of the news watching audience. On a near nightly basis, Fox News programs like “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Kelly File” crush the competition. Given what we know about how poorly Fox informs its viewers, that paints a pretty grim picture for the millions who consume it without question.

foxpundit
As you can see, Fox manages to capture an impressive range between “Mostly False” all the way to “Pants on Fire” while at the same time just 40 percent could be said to be even somewhat true.
Some might argue that all news networks are pretty terrible and with the seemingly endless drivel that comes out of a 24-hour channel it’s a valid point. Luckily, PunditFact looked at a few other major stations as well and while they aren’t bastions of veracity, they at least look like they’re trying.
MSNBC, for example, which some might call Fox’s liberal counterpart is certainly guilty of misleading their viewers, but they also tell the truth more than they lie, and their “Pants on Fire” percentage is half of what Fox has.
msnbcpundit
The real surprise comes in the form of CNN which, setting aside its breathless coverage of the missing airplane, does a pretty good job of being honest.
cnnpundit
Way to go, CNN! I truly didn’t think you had it in you. Glad to see you are at least 40% committed to being “mostly” true.
However, before you go off assuming the best in CNN and the worst in Fox, the writers at PunditFact urge a bit of caution:
The comparisons are interesting, but be cautious about using them to draw broad conclusions. We use our news judgment to pick the facts we’re going to check, so we certainly don’t fact-check everything. And we don’t fact-check the five network groups evenly. CBS, for instance, doesn’t have a cable network equivalent, so we haven’t fact-checked pundits and CBS personalities as much.
But still, these findings (even if tentative) do go a long way towards explaining some of the other interesting studies conducted on Fox News viewers.
For example, a PublicMind survey out of Fairleigh Dickinson University found that “people who said they consumed no news” fared better on a current events questionnaire than people who had been using Fox News to find out what was going on in the world. Let that sink in for a moment. People who categorically don’t watch the news know more than people who watch a network whose primary function is ostensibly to relay the news.
Adding insult to injury, it was the only network that ranked below “blind ignorance” the survey. (By the way, the most informed audience was that of NPR.)
How do Fox News viewers know less than people who literally don’t know anything about current events? If you would allow me to hazard a guess, it could be because unlike people who didn’t bother to watch any news programs, Fox viewers thought they were watching informational content – instead they were being lied to under a carefully constructed veneer of responsible journalism. Later, when someone asks them about what’s going on, they feel like they know the answer when they haven’t a clue.
So, next time you overhear a Fox News host boldly stating their position as fact, flip a coin. Heads it’s half true, tails it’s Pants on Fire. Either way, switch the station.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Was Cuba Behind Daily Caller's Debunked Menendez-Prostitute Story?

TPM

Citing former U.S. officials and people with close ties to Menendez, The Washington Post reported Monday that the CIA had obtained credible evidence, including IP addresses, linking Cuban agents to efforts to disseminate the prostitution allegations. Menendez's attorney sent a letter to the Justice Department in April requesting that it pursue that evidence, further alleging that the Cuban government sought to derail the senator's political career as he was poised to head up the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Daily Caller's editor-in-chief, Tucker Carlson, told the Post it would be difficult to verify whether a story written by one of his reporters actually originated with the Castro regime.
"I really can't assess it without more information," Carlson told the newspaper. "It's bizarre on its face, but also fascinating."
A spokesperson for Menendez said she found it "extremely disturbing" that U.S. intelligence indicated the Cuban government was the source of the prostitution allegations.
"The Washington Post’s report that the CIA has concluded a foreign intelligence service sought to manipulate U.S. policy by spreading false rumors to the FBI and to media outlets is extremely disturbing," Menendez communications director Tricia Enright told TPM in an email. "We hope the Department of Justice and other appropriate federal agencies will investigate this matter aggressively and hold anyone involved fully accountable."
Several months after The Daily Caller published its original report, the conservative site sparred with the Washington Post over the newspaper's debunking of the prostitution allegations. The Post reported that a woman who said she had sex with Menendez for money later claimed she was actually paid to fabricate that claim. The Daily Caller argued that neither of the women it interviewed for its own story were referenced in the Post's report.
ABC News revealed in the midst of that kerfluffle that that it had also interviewed the two women who sat for videotaped interviews with The Daily Caller. The network's Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross reported that they "did not broadcast or initially report on the claims because of doubts about the women's veracity and identity."
As The Daily Caller's story unraveled, it was also reported that a man named "Carlos" approached the attorney who arranged interviews with the alleged prostitutes and claimed he worked for the conservative website. The attorney claimed "Carlos" offered him $5,000 to find young women to say they were paid to have sex with the New Jersey Democrat.
The Daily Caller denied that anyone named "Carlos" went to the Dominican Republic at the website's behest, and Carlson himself said no one was paid in connection with the escort story in a statement on his own website. The website later acknowledged that a man identifying himself as "Carlos" did in fact serve as the translator for the interviews on which its original report was based. The translator was not compensated, The Daily Caller said.
Read the Washington Post's whole report here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Dirty 100: Meet the Companies and Institutions You Should Avoid After Hobby Lobby



It’s not just Hobby Lobby. There are one hundred cases that have been filed for the right to discriminate against women’s healthcare. NOW calls them the “Dirty 100″.
Here they are in all of their infamy: The following is a list of plaintiffs in the 100 cases that have been filed in opposition to the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act, as provided by the National Organization for Women.
American Family Association
American MFG Co
American Pulverizer Co
Annex Medical
Autocam Corp
Ave Maria School of Law
Ave Maria University
Barron Industries
Beckwith Electric Co
Belmont Abbey College
Bick Holdings, Inc.
Cherry Creek Mortgage Co
CNS Ministries
Colorado Christian University
Conestoga Wood Specialities Corp
Continuum Health Partnership/Management
Criswell College
Doboszenski & Sons
Dordt College
Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk
East Texas Baptist University
Eden Foods
Encompass, Develop, Design & Construct LLC
Eternal Word Television Network Inc.
Fellowship of Catholic University
Feltl & Co., Inc.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Freshway Foods
Gilardi
Grace College and Seminary
Grote Industries
Hart electric LLC
Hastings Automotive
Hercules Industries Inc.
Hobby Lobby
Holland Chevrolet
Infrastructure Alternatives
Johnson Welded Products
Korte & Luitjohan Contractors
Liberty University
Lindsay Rappaport and Postel LLC
Little Sisters of the Poor
Louisiana College
M&N Plastics
Mersino Management Company
Michigan Catholic Conference
MK Chambers Company
O’Brien Industrial Holdings
Ozinga
Paul Wieland
Priests for Life
QC Group Inc.
Randy Reed Automotives
Reaching Souls International
Right to Life Michigan
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont
Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne
Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas
Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort-Wayne – South Bend
Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville
Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
School of the Ozarks
Seneca Hardwood
Sharpe Holdings, Inc.
Sioux Chief MFG Co
SMA LLC
Southern Nazarene University
The Most Reverend Thomas Wenski
Tonn and Blank Construction
Trijicon, Inc. (AKA Bindon)
Triune Health Group
Tyndale House
University of Notre Dame
Weingartz Supply Co
Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)
Willis & Willis PLC
WLH Enterprises
Zumbiel