More conflicts of interest in ObamaCare?

posted at 12:15 pm on April 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Can mainstream news organizations provide fair and objective coverage of public policy when the laws in question put federal subsidies directly into their pockets?  The Washington Post and CBS will have to answer that question after the Daily Caller reported today that both companies are receiving six-figure sums from ObamaCare.  One Republican in the House called on both news outlets to identify their conflicts of interest:

Two mainstream news organizations are receiving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from Obamacare’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) — a $5 billion grant program that’s doling out cash to companies, states and labor unions in what the Obama administration considers an effort to pay for health insurance for early retirees. The Washington Post Company raked in $573,217 in taxpayer subsidies and CBS Corporation secured $722,388 worth of Americans’ money.

“It is fine with me if they continue covering the ObamaCare debate,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. “When NBC used to cover energy issues, they identified themselves as a subsidiary of General Electric. CBS and Washington Post just have to disclose that they are subsidiaries of the Obama Administration.”

The ERRP, which Republicans call a slush fund, provides taxpayer money to Obama administration-selected states, companies and labor unions with already-in-place early retiree health insurance programs, and aims to make certain that their employees who retire early still have health insurance coverage before they reach Medicare eligibility age. Almost $2 billion of the $5 billion fund, which was supposed to last until 2014, has already been distributed to corporations. New projections expect the funding to run out before the end of 2012, if not sooner.

We’ve covered the problems in the ERRP here at Hot Air.  In the first place, it doesn’t work, as other companies have dumped retiree coverage because the incentives turn negative under ObamaCare.  Its funding had no rational basis for calculation, and Congress appeared to decide on $5 billion because that number happened to fit their political agenda.

But have these two news organizations covered the problems with retiree coverage in ObamaCare?  On the Washington Post website, a search for ERRP returns … nothing.  Under its full name, the Post only has one entry, a blog post from Ezra Klein last week acknowledging that the ERRP has already gone broke — a link to a Politico story.  At CBS, there are likewise no entries for a search on “ERRP”, and a single entry under the full name from August of last year — and that is only a link to the Obama administration’s website touting ObamaCare.

It looks like the Post and CBS aren’t interested in covering the fact that ERRP was grossly underfunded and wound up failing to protect existing coverage.  Gee, I wonder why that might be?


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Commerce Clause! Count It!

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Wow, finding out there is corruption in the media has shaken my world! I didn’t see this coming. How will I go on?

withmanitisimpossible on April 6, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Freedom of the Press….to be bought and paid for by a rouge government.

jawkneemusic on April 6, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Kinda gives credibility to the term “media whores”.

katy on April 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM

It looks like the Post and CBS aren’t interested in covering the fact that ERRP was grossly underfunded and wound up failing to protect existing coverage. Gee, I wonder why that might be?

A search of FOXNews’ website yields one result, under the full name, dated June 2010, and a search of the Weekly Standard yields no results. Why are you implying that ERRP is being covered much more than it has been by CBS or the Washington Post?

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Commerce Clause! Count It!

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM

LOL!!!

Can mainstream news organizations provide fair and objective coverage of public policy

Well, they’ve been scant with being fair and or objective so far, on most ALL issues. So why would they start now? Especially when they’re personally involved!?!

capejasmine on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Commerce Clause! Count It!

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM

LOL

ladyingray on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

“It is fine with me if they continue covering the ObamaCare debate,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. “When NBC used to cover energy issues, they identified themselves as a subsidiary of General Electric. CBS and Washington Post just have to disclose that they are subsidiaries of the Obama Administration.”

LO F’en L

Quote of the Year!

strictnein on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Also from the Daily Caller (something Rush has been talking about this week):

In his response, Stearns referred to the fact that corporations like General Electric, Verizon and AT&T in addition to several labor unions* were getting taxpayer funding.

*The UAW (G.M.). I also heard that Obama plans to buy electric cars for Verizon and AT&T. No joke.

Buy Danish on April 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

The Washington Post and CBS will have to answer that question after the Daily Caller reported today that both companies are receiving six-figure sums from ObamaCare.

So much for being “free and independent”….

Congress shall make NO LAW abridging the freedom of the press.

ted c on April 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Read the story again.

Can mainstream news organizations provide fair and objective coverage of public policy when the laws in question put federal subsidies directly into their pockets? The Washington Post and CBS will have to answer that question after the Daily Caller reported today that both companies are receiving six-figure sums from ObamaCare.

capejasmine on April 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Under socialism, government outright owns the business, under fascism, government extensively works hand in hand with private business.

rbj on April 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Good thing we have an objective media to act as watchdogs on government, isn’t it? Just think what the government would be getting away with if we didn’t have these independent, unbiased news organizations looking out for the public’s interests.\

AZCoyote on April 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM

And you wonder if those were run like a true ‘business’, how come they never have fear to answer their failures to their shareholders.

Now we know, they take money from you and me, yet never miss a chance to let us know how rube we are.

Sir Napsalot on April 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM

When does this bad nightmare end?

Knucklehead on April 6, 2011 at 12:27 PM

By the way….Ed? Nice use of the CBS logo and Saurumon. Verrrrrrrrrrrrry creepy! LOL Gave me the chills when I first looked at it.

capejasmine on April 6, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Can mainstream news organizations provide fair and objective coverage of public policy when the laws in question put federal subsidies directly into their pockets?

In their defense they were on board the progressive bandwagon decades before this ever came along.

sharrukin on April 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

The Washington Post and CBS appear to have made their status as state propaganda outlets official. They’re Obamista’s rather than Chavista’s.

FloatingRock on April 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Since when did news organizations need money to be bias…this is just icing on the cake.
I would bet it didn’t change their thinking one bit, the were bias before Obamacare, and will be after…

right2bright on April 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM

“Chavista”, (or however you spell it), referring to Hugo Chavez’s propagandists.

FloatingRock on April 6, 2011 at 12:35 PM

A search of FOXNews’ website yields one result, under the full name, dated June 2010, and a search of the Weekly Standard yields no results. Why are you implying that ERRP is being covered much more than it has been by CBS or the Washington Post?

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Not really a good analogy, as at least 90% of all of the news stories on the Fox News website are not generated by Fox News itself-they come from al-AP and Reuters.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM

katy on April 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM

red lights outside of their office buildings…

cmsinaz on April 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I sure am glad that the FCC will be looking into this…

… Maybe 60 Minutes will run an expose.

Oh, wait…!

Seven Percent Solution on April 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Read the story again.

capejasmine

But if he read the story he wouldn’t be a troll! Discrimination!

chimney sweep on April 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I don’t like this push to help early retirement.

It’s not good for the economy at all.

Is working 1/3 of your life too hard for people?

Our all-knowing government has already taken steps to keep young folks as dependents of Mom and Dad until age 25 (even though more and more yutes are anyway), now they want you to become a dependent of your Uncle Sam at 55. Unless you are a state employee, then you can live off Uncle Sam and the state taxpayers at 55.

Thirty years of working a couple hundred days a year is just too much?

Cowboy up, America.

reaganaut on April 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

When does this bad nightmare end?

Knucklehead on April 6, 2011 at 12:27 PM

It won’t. The nation is now so polarized it will never return to what it once was. These are the preliminaries to states splitting off or/and armed conflict. We have been headed that way since the sixties. A change of presidents won’t fix it. Too much money and power sloshing around, a large segment of the population who won’t stop feeding off the rest, a judiciary branch guided by political ideology, and a legislative branch whose first concern is re-election. I see no way out of the jungle. Look at Wisconsin as a petrie dish.

a capella on April 6, 2011 at 12:49 PM

a large segment of the population who won’t stop feeding off the rest.

a capella on April 6, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Those godforsaken old people!

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Thirty years of working a couple hundred days a year is just too much?

Cowboy up, America.

reaganaut on April 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t cowboy up if you want to be France and have their working lives. Please. Cow-garcon just doesn’t have the same ring to it, n’est pas?

txmomof6 on April 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Those godforsaken old people!

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I’m on SS and Medicare, ernie. It has to be changed, along with a lot of other things. It doesn’t really matter for me, because I’ll be dead in a few years, but I have kids and grandchildren.

a capella on April 6, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Those godforsaken old people!

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

So you’re fine with getting rid of welfare and Planned Parenthood, right?

sharrukin on April 6, 2011 at 1:07 PM

I wonder what ernesto’s outraged cousin in law enforcement that always voted Republican before the union fight in Madison has to say about this issue…

change is for suckers on April 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM

At least Hugo Chavez had the cajones to just simply seize all of his media outlets ‘in the name of the people‘.

Basically the same thing, just a helluva lot cheaper.

FlatFoot on April 6, 2011 at 1:17 PM

What’s the income tax treatment of these payments to businesses?

I surely hope they’re including them as income. Otherwise, as the Dems insist, they’re not paying their fair share.

BuckeyeSam on April 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Gee, I wonder if I start a News Website if I can get $500k to subsidize me until Medicare kicks in?

Robert17 on April 6, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Those godforsaken old people!

ernesto on April 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

People retiring at the age of 55. You consider that old?
It used to be that people never retired. They just slowed down. And they had prepared for things. Or their families helped them.
Or their neighbors.
Or their communities/charities/churches.
But now the govt forcibly robs from the producers to give to those who probably still can produce, but do not anymore bcs they are ‘retired’.
Those of us in agriculture do not know what ‘retirement’ is.
Bcs we work until we can’t, or die.

Badger40 on April 6, 2011 at 2:23 PM

They finally found a way to bail out the MSM.

PattyJ on April 6, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Pravda and Isvestia are funded by the Supreme Soviet?

Really?

Akzed on April 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM

If they had any integrity to begin with, they would have refused the money.

You know, like when a prostitute refuses to take a check . . .

BigAlSouth on April 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Freedom of the Press isn’t free. Apparently.

chickasaw42 on April 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM