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New Media Catches Obama Bribing the Fourth Estate

A Commentary By Howard Rich

Friday, April 15, 2011

For years, America’s left-leaning mainstream media outlets have belittled and rebuked members of the new media — questioning their credibility, impugning their integrity and assigning all manner of self-serving motivations to their contributions to the marketplace of ideas.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragic Tucson shooting earlier this year, the legacy press took it a step further — essentially implying that the new media was complicit in the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by virtue of the “climate of hate” it helped create in America.

Obviously, the facts of the Tucson case quickly (and completely) debunked this theory — but not before a parade of liberal talking heads had spewed a torrent of reckless vitriol on new media outlets and the First Amendment freedom they exercise.

Fast-forward three months to April 6, when reporter Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller published a report outlining the details of Barack Obama’s socialized medicine slush fund.

Boyle’s report — like hundreds of investigative pieces published every day by new media outlets — was in and of itself a rebuke of many of the criticisms leveled against Internet journalists by the legacy press. Not only did Boyle accurately relate new primary source material — including excerpts from public documents and Congressional testimony — but he also sought, received and published the response of those with conflicting views regarding this information. On top of that, he presented the facts sans  any editorial commentary.

In other words, Boyle’s investigative report was every bit as “pure” journalistically as something you would read in The Washington Post or watch on the CBS Evening News.

Which brings us to the substance of Boyle’s article — the hundreds of thousands of dollars that The Post and CBS have received from the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP), an Obamacare slush fund that has arbitrarily doled out nearly $2 billion to select corporations, government pension funds and labor unions within the last year.

The very existence of this fund — which has been touted as a means of protecting health care coverage prior to the onset of Obama’s unconstitutional socialized medicine law — highlights the dangers inherent in giving government additional control over the health care marketplace. Not only is this fund rife with corruption and mismanagement — as evidenced by these payments to media outlets that are supposed to objectively cover Obamacare — but its borrowed billions have failed to accomplish their objective.

For example, last October Minnesota-based 3M announced that it would no longer offer health insurance to its 23,000 employees thanks to the passage of Obamacare. Meanwhile Chicago-based Boeing is one of several large corporations now requiring its employees to pay higher deductibles and copayments as a result of the new law. So much for Obama’s repeated promises that no one would lose their coverage and that health care costs would go down, right?

Yet despite these failures, taxpayers are still subsidizing a pre-Obamacare bailout — providing grants to artificially prop up coverage that will eventually be covered by new entitlement spending (assuming the law isn’t struck down or repealed first).

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has written very little about ERRP. In fact, a follow-up report on the blog Hot Air revealed that both The Washington Post  and CBS have completely ignored problems with the slush fund secretly bankrolling health care for its early retirees.

According to Hot Air, a search for ERRP on The Post  website last week revealed nothing. A search for the full name of the slush fund revealed only one article (a column that referenced a new media report, ironically). Meanwhile on the CBS website, a search for ERRP also produced no entries — while a search for the full name of the slush fund returned only one entry, a link to the Obama administration’s health care reform website.

“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,” Hot Air noted.

American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox once wrote that “to sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.”

It apparently makes cowards of the media, too — although a compelling case could be made that these mainstream outlets were paid for their silence. Fortunately for taxpayers, the new media was there to uncover and expose the truth regarding this corruption.

The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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See Other Commentary by Howard Rich.

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