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January 09, 2010



The thing that bothers me about this is ALL the left-leaning healthcare journalists used this guy. Brownstein, Ezra Klein, the Washington Post (he wrote an op ed there, too), Karen Tumulty.
Obviously someone gave his name out as someone to use as a source, and they all hopped to it.

Here's what Tumulty said:

I first became aware of how much the Obama Administration had come to rely on him early last year, when a top White House official marveled to me that they could get answers from Gruber and his staff of three overnight.

So she knew they WH leaned on him at least. Yet she used him as a source.

It's all such a conspiracy.


MayBee, I see on Twitter you asked Tumulty about Gruber. Good for you! I didn't see a reply from her and am not surprised.


It's irritating because all the journalists who used him are saying, basically, he was so good I still would have used him even if I'd known he had a contract.

Well, yeah, because they obviously just want to write whatever the administration wants them to write. Whether Gruber had a contract isn't what was important to them- it was that he was saying what the White House and they wanted to tell the people.

This is how we get our information. Imagine what it will be like when they want to sell us on the idea that Chemo for people over 65 isn't recommended.


You are right MayBee, it is all a conspiracy - every bloody last bit of it. I've so had it. Impeach the bastard.

Charlie (Colorado)

A second syndicated columnist, Maggie Gallagher, was revealed to have also accepted public funds from the Bush administration. An article by Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post first reported on January 26 that Gallagher had received $41,500 in two federal contracts from the Department of Health and Human Services for authoring brochures, a magazine article and a report and briefing government employees in support of Bush's marriage initiative, which redirected welfare funds, previously used to reward states for lowering out-of-wedlock child birth rates, to pay for premarital counseling and abstinence education.

This under Bush administration payment of columnists on Wikipedia.

Someone ping Howie Kurtz.


MayBee "conspiracy" no--just modern lazy journalism--if it's not in a handout or given you on a platter, fergettaboutit.

Compare this to the CRU emails about feeding info to their mouthpiece journos. Same thing.


Someone ping Howie Kurtz.

Good idea - why not you, Charlie?


Compare this to the CRU emails about feeding info to their mouthpiece journos. Same thing.

Same thing, but with the added component of the administration telling them "Hey, here is a source we love!" and they use him without disclosing even that.
They are writing advocacy journalism at the behest of the administration.


Nice try Charlie....

$41,500 compared to X now? No comparison.


Maggie Gallagher got in a lot of trouble for that.
So did Armstrong Williams.

Gruber writing his Op-Eds without disclosure is similar to what they did.
Journalists using Gruber because the admin told them too is the icing on the cake.

Charlie (Colorado)

$41,500 compared to X now? No comparison.

Where X=297,000.

And the answer to "why don't you, Charlie?" is (a) I'm up to my ass in pay writing today, and (b) because "Hey Howie, why don't you cover this?" is a rhetorical question.

Charlie (Colorado)

And glasater, get a clue, wouldja? I'm not saying "it's okay because Maggie Williams did it" — I'm saying if it was wrong when Maggie took consulting fees, then it's 7.15662651 times more wrong here (not adjusting for inflation).

That's why I thought Howie Kurtz ought to be interested.


Gregg Levine at FireDogLake reminds us of this:

When President Obama likes a magazine article, White House staffers had better read it.

Obama's must-read is Ron Brownstein's Saturday blog post "A Milestone in the Health Care Journey" at the Atlantic's political Web site.

Politico noted today that Obama found the article, which lauds Max Baucus' approach to health care, a good summary of the cost controls in the health care bill.

So- Brownstein uses Gruber, the WH guy to write an article. Rahm and Orzag use the Brownstein piece to tell the world this is what they should be reading.
Everyone gets all excited about this excellent piece of "journalism".


Then why point it out in the first place Charlie?

I mean if you're so busy and all.....


lol. My question was rhetorical, too!

Georgeous George

"You are right MayBee, it is all a conspiracy - every bloody last bit of it. I've so had it. Impeach the bastard."

I love it when your sphincters get all squidgy about corruption. Face it. Corruption is pandemic, but it is a question of degree.

For example, the Bush Administration was less corrupt than the Iraqi society it sought to reform, therefore seemingly honest by comparison.

The Obama Admin is less corrupt than the Bushies, so follows the logical moral relativity of comparative integrity.


The Obama Admin is less corrupt than the Bushies

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Captain Hate

Obama's must-read is Ron Brownstein's Saturday blog post "A Milestone in the Health Care Journey" at the Atlantic's political Web site.

Did Toonces encounter this after consulting Randi Andi's vag-phobic screeches?

Rob Crawford

The thing that bothers me about this is ALL the left-leaning healthcare journalists used this guy. Brownstein, Ezra Klein, the Washington Post (he wrote an op ed there, too), Karen Tumulty.
Obviously someone gave his name out as someone to use as a source, and they all hopped to it.

Journolist, Maybee, Journolist.

Once one of them uses him, they either mention him on the list or somebody asks and his name and contact information gets passed around.

We have an intellectual monoculture in the profession that should be skeptical, broadminded, and inquisitive.

Rob Crawford

The Obama Admin is less corrupt than the Bushies

Keep telling yourself that, 'cleo.


Yeah, The Atlantic seems to do yeoman's work for the administration, doesn't it.

-Marc Ambinder is first out with the spin of any situation

-Andrew Sullivan gives them anti-torture talking points, sells people on the narrative that "that face" is going to rock the world, and attacks Sarah Palin

-Ron Brownstein writes the definitive health care article of the year, using the WH consultant as a source.


MatBee: I have never read The Atlantic; nor Ambinder, Sullivan, Brownstein. However, on any given day I read what they have to say ad nauseum, from right leaning blogs, news sites, etc. (In nearly every instance it is to mock them or rebut them.)

Wouldn't it be wonderful, if we just "shunned" them? Doesn't much of their perceived clout come from the attention they get from their opposition?


oh, so sorry MayBee (not MatBee)!


I like MatBee.


for the record, there is NOTHING inappropriate or wrong or unethical about using gruber as an attributed source...

...speaking as an ex-washpost reporter and current mit academic appointee, there is EVERYTHING inappropriate, wrong and unethical - both by gruber and by the journalists - for not explicitly identifying this explicit politico-financial relationship...

prof. gruber should have insisted that the jounalists disclose his links...


I don't shun them ccal because I really do think many of them are the (not so)secret voice of the Administration. I like to know what they are up to.


I totally understand your point, MayBee. They are part of the media voice of the left and this radical administration, and have just as much credibility.

Still, they get a lot of attention from our side, where none is really deserved.


mds- how do you suppose all those journalists decided to start using the same source as almost an exclusive expert?


“Taking someone who’s uninsured and giving them insurance unambiguously improves their health,” says Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at M.I.T., “but taking someone who’s well-insured and making them really well-insured doesn’t make them any healthier.”

I thought the purpose of insurance was to help when you're not healthy. This statement is another indication of the perverted concept of insurance by the left.


Put it another way, he is the 'Curveball' of the health care debate

Charlie (Colorado)

Then why point it out in the first place Charlie?

because some people here would be interested, and many people here are sharp enough to understand a rhetorical device, while sending it to Howie would mean writing a detailed letter with citations etc.

Sadly, not everyone quite gets that "rhetorical device" thing.


A commenter on another blog asks if President Obama would have to pay the excise tax on his super duper health care plan.


it's called Journo-List; whether it is to defend Napolitano or trash Palin or use the NEA for propaganda or to suppress the ACORN story, the talking points go up and the pseudopress follows the party line.

Remember when Obama was having all of those nice kaffee klatches with even Brooks and other nominally conservative writers? He was coopting the opposition.

Now he is tanking so badly that even people like AP and Jon Stewart are letting him have it. You can propagandize and mau mau for only so long even in a nominally free society, but if you don't show progress, you're still screwed.

I think we can expect it to get significantly worse.Even AP is now noting Obama's "blame Bush" mantra and not falling for it.


oh for the days when rhetorical devices were not regulated.

Old Lurker

Somehow I cannot swallow the moral equivalency argument of Bush having a paid consultant support his easy to understand marriage protection stuff with Obama finding this guy to sell his "trust me I know the math and you don't" line as he socializes a fifth of our society. Sort of well, HE stole the paperclips so I took the checkbook.


moral equivalency

OL, Charlie was not drawing a moral equivalency, it was an a fortiori argument. He just has the bad habit of blaming (and ridiculing) others when his writing is unclear, i.e. "If you misunderstood it, it's your fault not mine."


"the moral equivalency argument"

One case where Charlie was not being the usual pedantic scold and was seriously suggesting the lib MSM hold Obama/Gruber to the same standard they imposed on Bush/Gallagher.

Probably a wasted effort. Seems likely it's another transgression that's only wrong when a Republican does it. Doubt Bush was aware that hiring some pro-policy PR would trigger howls of mock outrage. Now that Obama is prez, no biggie.

Alec Rawls

Ghadafi explained how elections work for Obama and Gruber. Holds for votes on policies as well as votes for office-holders:

As you know, this is the farce of elections – a person lies and lies to people, just so that they will vote for him, and afterwards, when they say to him: :”You promised this and that,” he says: “No, this was just elections propaganda.” This is the farce of democracy for you. He says: “This was propaganda, and you thought I was being serious. I was fooling you to get your votes.”


What interests me is the fact that the federal government, despite having health experts on their payroll, have to hire an outside consultant to actually do a study.

The guys who actually work for the health department--what do they do? Oh that's right, someone has to hire the consultants.


One irony here is that Gruber is supporting the excise tax on health plans, which the unions and the lefties hate and is the one part of the Reid bill that somewhat tips the hat to McCain's approach during the election. So Gruber is supporting the Republican (and general economist) position that the special tax deduction for health benefits is an inefficient distortion of the market.

Question: If the House bill (which has the millionaire tax instead of the excise tax on health plans) were the one about to be passed, would Gruber have found a way to support it, too? And if not, would he have been quoted so heavily by all the Journo-listers?


OMG. George Bush is sitting with Jerry Jones at the Cowboy/Eagle playoff game. They just showed him on tv. Bush grinning like a possum after a Dallas touchdown. That just made this night perfect!!!!


"rhetorical device" thing

A good writer does not have to rely on a rhetorical device--especially in a forum where the non sequitur abounds.
Plus, I've never forgotten to close my italics tag...yet:)


Hilarious...I thought I'd check google news for this item....nada in the MSM except the Boston Globe. In the time it took to finish writing this comment, their headline changed from "MIT economist didn’t fully disclose ties to Obama administration" to "Economist faulted for his ties to obama". Way to emphasize those nasty critics, rather than Gruber's blatantly dishonest omission.

In the article he says he "never attempted to hide his government contracts and in fact disclosed them whenever he was asked by reporters"

Maybe someone here can twitter this nugget to all these journalists who are giving him cover by saying they "forgot" to ask the conflict-of-interest question (which btw is fundamental to journalistic integrity). The NYT DID ask him, and he LIED.

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